Alter Community Taxon algorithm for imported iSpot observations

I’ve regularly run into misidentified observations that originated on iSpot and found their way here. The trouble with these is that there are often several incorrect IDs, and most of these users don’t frequent iNaturalist. For a misidentified fish like this (, the 3 erroneous IDs suddenly require 7 (seven!) correct IDs to fix it. That’s not easily done for taxonomic groups that have relatively few identifiers on here. This usually means I’ve got to tag (and often re-tag) multiple users, wasting time (both mine and theirs) to fix these rogue observations.

So how about a caveat to the ID formula specific to imported observations from iSpot (and perhaps any other similar website). Any dissenting ID should instantly negate the imported IDs.

I absolutely disagree with you about dissenting IDs taking preference. This is not how iNat works!

The problem we had with the migration was with hemi-homonyms. There were two ID ‘misfires’ types:

  1. If there was only one of the hemis present in the southern African region, then we didn’t designate which Group it belonged to, and it often ended up in the wrong taxon on migration, e.g. Tritonia plant ended up as Tritonia nudibranch. I think most of these have been re-ID’d.

  2. If both hemis were present in the southern African region, then they were designated with an additional letter, e.g. Leptotes (A) and Leptotes (P ), (A=Animal, P=Plant), which all misfired to Crawfish Frog. The ispotters spent hours fixing this up themselves along with lots of help from other iNatters, and we’ve got most of them into the right taxon.

Your example observation above is neither of these problems, it is a simple misidentification (assuming your ID is correct (I wouldn’t personally have a clue about fish)). Misidentifications happen all the time, it is not an ispot migration issue.


And thank you very much, joe_fish, for doing so much work to help iNatters with IDs - it is greatly appreciated!!


The problem is that these iSpot observations violate the way in which iNat is supposed to work. Most of these users don’t participate, so there is no way of interacting with them to change their ID. It’s simply a brute force numbers game to correct an ID. I’m sure there are many interesting observations stuck at a higher taxonomic level due to this. I’ve personally worked to fix many of these, and it is TEDIOUS.

A possible workaround is to use @ to call in a set of fixer-upper type people who could pop in and add weight. Some of the people who replied in the recent thread about helping with Unknowns, or whom you might have noticed helping on other misfires, might not mind being called on in these cases.

The topic creator is already doing that:

It looks like the actual problem here is your frustration instead of the existence of observations at a higher taxonomic level than you’d prefer. Maybe this applies here:

You could look at observations that are unfinished in your sense as opportunities for future engagement, instead of data that needs to be dead and done with. Breathe. Leave something for other inaturalists to obsess about.


@joe_fish, feel free to tag me when you need extra IDers for marine organisms (except algae) you think are misidentified. As you know, I love to ID things and never rubber stamp anything, so you can be assured I’ll take a look at it and give it some thought.

It is frustrating dealing with observations by users who no longer participate.

And thanks for all your help IDing my underwater observations.


(edited title to make it an action)

I don’t see how this is any different from the many other iNat observations where observers/identifiers no longer participate, which will only become more of an issue going forward.


I’d be surprised if ‘most of these users don’t participate’ as Joe_fish states. The non active users on iSpot wouldn’t have migrated at all. Do you have any stats to indicate that we have less active users than normal?

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Are you directing this question at me? I personally don’t think it’s an issue. But also I think only staff can see the last active dates en masse. Anyone could query similar info, like last IDed/uploaded/commented via the API, but it’s probably not a worthwhile task.

(By it becoming more of an issue going forward, I just meant that like…people die or otherwise move on from iNat.)


After discussion, we’ve decide to not treat the Community Taxon algorithm differently for iSpot imports, as @bouteloua said they’re similar to regular iNat observations that have the same circumstances.