A way to make duplicate observations Casual without adding a flag

Hi all,

Usually, duplicate observations (two or more observations of a same individual with exact same data posted by a person) are flagged as duplicate except for the first one, however I think there is a better way.

We can simply mark any duplicate observations as Evidence of an organism- No in the Data Quality Assessment because the evidence is already shown in the first observation and it is no longer really valid as a record in the second or later observations if the observations were posted at the same time by a same person.
This is much easier and quicker than adding flags.

I would like to hear others’ opinions on this.

I think the reason flags for duplicates are no longer allowed is because there is no site policy prohibiting duplicates. So while I agree that duplicates are annoying, I’m not sure this would be a completely appropriate use of the DQA.


The evidence of the organism is in both. I’ve been wondering lately what really is wrong with just identifying both and not worrying about making either one casual. It would save identifiers a lot of time, get observations out of needs ID faster, and the observer would still be able to delete one of the observations afterwards if it bothers them. I started doing this because it’s futile most of the time to ask the observer about it. Does it really have a negative effect on data to identify both and let them go to Research Grade, since iNaturalist isn’t really about population numbers?


I agree, I never understood why some people take duplicates so seriously. The amount of time it takes to add an ID is usually less than it would take to try to make it go away.


It is true that iNat isn’t really for population number, but still duplicates don’t look nice. Marking DQA is as easy as adding ID.


If there were a DQA box for duplicates, I would mark it. But I don’t like to check DQA boxes when the language of the DQA box is not accurate.


Just for information, there is a similar, closed, topic where using the “no evidence” DQA box for other purposes was discussed.



I also find duplicates annoying. I generally add comments asking the user to delete them and don’t ID. I do this because I find that most duplicates are the result of two scenarios:

  1. An experienced user made a mistake/misclick - they are usually happy to correct.

  2. More commonly, they are from a beginning user who didn’t understand how the app/website works, or didn’t know that duplicates are discouraged. While I don’t have much luck getting duplicates deleted, I have noticed that users I post comments about duplicates for often stop making duplicate observations in the future, which is great. So this is really why I do it - I think educating users not to make duplicates cuts down on future ones.

That said, I definitely understand some identifiers don’t want to bother and would rather just ID. Fair play!

I don’t think that “off brand” usage of the DQA should be used to make observations casual if the observation doesn’t actually violate that specific part of the DQA. This is frustrating for users who may not understand how the DQA works and see their observations go to casual, and it is a violation of iNat guidelines, even if done with good intentions.


No, it’s not, observation is for one specimen, it can’t be presented in 2 or more observations in one day. I’m sorry, but that’s naive to expect that people who come one day, upload 30 photos of one monkey separately and then never come back, will delete something, if you don’t have time to put a vote in DQA I wonder if you have time to add an id. Of course it effects data, iNat doesn’t record numbers of what users miss, but it shouldn’t have numbers of what users never met!
And yes, we shouldn’t have 10 topics about it, hundreds of users use that DQA that way for years and it won’t change unless iNat will make any effort to solve the problem, which staff ignore.


Say the obs is a flowering plant.
Obs 1 shows the flower … but I need leaves
Obs 2 shows the leaves, but without a flower it is harder to ID only leaves.

If 1 and 2 are combined the plant is easy to ID.

I ID as Life with a copypasta. If the same pictures come up again in my notifications because a competent identifier has ‘wasted’ time on identifying and commenting again - then I click Good as it can be at Life.

So many obs waiting for IDs and I would rather move on to the next in the queue.

YMMD if not planty, then birdy. I need red bill, yellow feet, and black and white wings, with a blue crest. If that info is in four separate obs … the possible IDs explode for each image.

I disagree. For those of us who offer a lot of IDs, duplicates literally add to the task. But I agree that this falls in the realm of “annoying” and not a major time suck.


The Pareto Principle (technically 80 / 20 but) on social media. 1 posts the obs. 9 more show visible engagement (comment. ID, Fave) But there are another 90 who read along, dip in to check a photo for that detail, whatever. The One needs to remember the silent but active majority of 90, as do the (noisy) 9.

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The problem with using any tools that weren’t meant for marking duplicates just to make them casual: If someone checking the “casual” category to point out missing dates/locations and correct wrong DQA items sees an observation marked “no evidence” but there clearly is (e.g. a picture) they’ll undo that by checking yes again. There needs to be a DQA tool dedicated to marking duplicates, not this mess of people doing all sorts of confusing and time-wasting things based on their perception of what would make the ID flow easier. Sometimes these things end up making it even more tedious instead. (Also see this thread.)


These threads are rather like the “Feature Requests” forum: mostly trying to enforce one’s own preferred way of using iNat for everyone.


So many topics about this issue! This one https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/an-abundance-of-duplicate-observation-flags/32582/15 contains a staff comment by @tiwane advising not to use the DQA section for duplicates.

“There is currently no DQA vote to address duplicates. Please don’t use a DQA vote for them. My comment was saying perhaps there should be, but right now none of them address the ‘problem’ of duplicate observaitons.”


Please don’t misuse the DQA to make something casual.


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