Add a Toggle in the Identify Filter Menu to Search by Active ID

Following up on discussion here, I think the “ident_taxon_id” URL feature, which is cumbersome and which most users are not aware of, should be added as a convenient toggle in the Identify mode Filter menu. My preference is that it should also be made the default mode of Identify, so users are presented with all potentially relevant observations unless they actively decide to narrow their search.

At the moment, a significant chunk of easily identifiable observations are not presented when users make relevant searches. For instance, if a user guessed that a plant gall was caused by wasps, and I correct the ID to mites, that observation is now moved up to Arthropods.

A user searching mite or wasp observations to identify would never see this observation, because the consensus ID is above both. Worse, these observations are scattered all over the taxonomic tree–many at State of Matter Life, some at Arthropods, Pterygota, etc. In order to find this observation again, I had to type ident_taxon_id into the URL and search the code for Aceria–something that is cumbersome and which most identifiers with relevant knowledge would never think to do. I’m sure there are thousands of observations that active identifiers would have long since taken care of if Identify mode just defaulted to ident_taxon_id for the taxon they searched.

At the moment, this problem adds to the already huge burden on the few users who do attempt to sort the high-level IDs at SOML, Arthropods, etc. Fixing it would shift some of that burden across the whole community, which seems both fair and preferable to losing so many observations, but for those users who might dislike the change, a toggle option could easily be added to let them go back to the way things are now.

Personally, I usually put cases like this into a project (there’s two projects I joined for galls) and hope that “identifiers with relevant knowledge” happen to be a member.

This is an interesting suggestion, though, even if limited in scope. I say limited only because I’m thinking about cases where the active ID would still be SOML because there is no common taxon:

To use galls as an example again (since so many things cause galls), if one IDer thinks it’s caused by a fungus, and another thinks it is caused by a bacteria, the active community ID will still be SOML. Or outside of galls, one IDs as Fungi and the other as Slime Molds. Or one IDs as Algae and the other as Cynobacteria.

Nevermind, I misunderstood Active ID vs Community ID

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Just want to chime in that this is a very good idea! As things currently stand, the average iNaturalist browser is going to miss many of the observations they need to see most badly just because they’re misidentified by one or two users.

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