Automated a "non wild" by iNat system

I have a question regarding this feature by the system.

As I was identifying some olive trees in the country, I had to separate those which are wild from those which are planted by humans.

As I was combing through the observations, the system picked up on it and after a hundred or so it started automatically marking all the olive tree observation as non wild.

My question is, with the future observations, will they became invalid by the system? talking about the wild ones

Thanks, Ben


The way this works is described in iNat’s help documentation:

“The system will vote that the observation is not wild/naturalized if there are at least 10 other observations of a genus or lower in the smallest county-, state-, or country-equivalent place that contains this observation and 80% or more of those observations have been marked as not wild/naturalized.”

so yes, if you ID such that a genus or lower taxon is now >80% cultivated in one of those areas, the system will start generating automatic votes. However, this is the system working as intended! So I wouldn’t consider it a problem, but more of a feature…:)


You can override the system vote by marking the truly wild observations as “wild” again. In an area with a lot of cultivated ones, it may be a good idea to occasionally go through the newest “cultivated” uploads to correct the ones that were marked by the system in error. A lot of people probably won’t even notice when this happens.


I wish it were possible for curators to manually turn the system off for certain high-volume observers/identifiers on a taxon by taxon basis.

I suspect that’s a tech nightmare relative to the relatively easy fix of manual checks and clicking the odd thumbs up, though.

Also I think the feature is annoying in that it automatically marks CV IDs as captive, and because those usually don’t get reviewed it can lead to an observer’s CV mis-ID of a wild species as a captive species being enshrined semi-permanently. This could be mitigated if it only added the captive vote on observations that had a community taxon.

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I am not 100% sure, but I think that part of the impetus for the system working the way that it currently does is to cut down on the flood of unmarked as such but actually cultivated observations that occurs during some bioblitzes, class projects, and the CNC. Not applying the vote until there was a CID would take away one of the main advantages of the autovotes.

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I’ve had this issue as well. I misidentified some of my wild Agave spp observations from a western USA trip as A. americana, which apparently is widely planted as an ornamental, and the system marked them as captive/casual due to my ID. They sat there not being corrected because they weren’t showing up as “needs ID”, even though they were clearly wild in the photos, and any actual Agave expert would have seen my error immediately.

It would be nice if there were some sort of notification when an observation has its data quality edited by the system (or another user) so it can be quickly corrected if needed. I periodically check my “captive” observations to fix ones that the system or a user erroneously marked, but notifications to speed up the process would be awesome.


Main known issue that could be fixed this way: Homo sapiens becoming auto-captive in several locations. When I get around to it I’ll make a feature request.

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If you remember to, please tag me so I can keep track of it :)

If they choose to be high-volume, they choose the extra work that goes with it.


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