Audio-only RG observations that no longer have audio

After reading recent threads about Research Grade (RG) observations with only 1 confirming ID that could revert to Needs ID if the confirming ID account holder deletes their account/data, we have been identifying old RG observations.

Since we enjoy audio observations, we have been going through Blue Jays with parameters Research Grade, Has Sounds, and choosing Date Added ranges that end 2019 and working our way back.

We have encountered SoundCloud audio. This is new to us. We had not seen any observations like this before. (FYI: The new Identify mode keyboard shortcut to play the first audio in an observation by pressing the space bar does not work for us on SoundCloud audio. We recently posted about it on a relevant thread). And then we came across multiple RG observations that were audio only but no longer have any audio. There is a SoundCloud box that says, “Oops, we couldn’t find that track.” Here is one such observation from 2017:

We have come across 3 audio-only RG observations without audio (and, thus, no evidence). We have been leaving comments on these with a tag for the observer informing them of the missing audio and asking if they have any means to restore it.

  1. If the observer doesn’t have the means or does not reply after a period of time, is the appropriate step per iNat guidelines to change the DQA to “Evidence of Organism” “No”?

  2. Is the effect of this DQA change that the observation moves from RG to Casual?

  3. Does a month seem like enough time to wait for a response from an account that is active?

  4. Any suggestions about how to keep track of these observations so that we can go back a month hence and change the DQA if this is deemed an effective action? When one is identifying, is there an easy way to extract the observation’s ID number or URL?

  5. Does anyone have any insight, input, strong feelings about other considerations for observations that are at RG but have no evidence of organism? Imagine this is your RG observation and the evidence is gone. How would you want to be treated?

In preparing this forum post, we searched for evidence of organism topics, DQA topics, and soundcloud topics, but didn’t find advice on how to handle DQA for RG observations in which the evidence no longer exists.


In this case, the sound likely was playable when it was originally identified by other community members. Unless it’s a really difficult bird to identify by call, I’d say just leave it as it is for now.

If the community votes for “No” for “Evidence of Organism” outnumber the “Yes” votes, then the obseration will be casual grade.

Right click in “View” on the Identify modal and you can copy the observation’s URL.

I think each case might be different, but it’s best to inform the observer and ask them about it.


There is a years-old bug in play that has not been fixed. It’s the one where Soundcloud audio plays just fine on an observation detail web page like

But when the same observation is viewed from the Identify web page, the track doesn’t load and the “Oops, we can’t find that track.” error message appears.

[Screenshots using Firefox 108.0.2 on Win 10 22H2]

This misleads a potential identifier into thinking the sound file is lost when it is actually still available.

So before anyone starts editing DQA fields to downgrade the observation to Casual grade, they should make sure the track really isn’t there, that they aren’t being duped by the active bug on the Identify view.

And could this bug finally be fixed?


Definitely bizarre, we’ll take a look.


Thank you for this information! If audio does not work from soundcloud in identify mode, we will check the observation page (not in identify mode).

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