Below-species IDs and the DQA

I want to know if this is the correct use of the DQA.

The Community ID is at the species-level, but I know that the observation can be identified below the species. Is it correct to add the subspecies ID and then press ‘yes’ for ‘can the community ID be improved’?

I wouldn’t.


No, I don’t think that would be appropriate.

In nearly every case I’ve seen, subspecies IDs are rarely added even when clear, and are often ignored (whether by uploader/indentifier knowledge, not wanting to interact with subspecies taxonomy, etc).

Using the DQA in such a case will remove RG from an observation that does meet the relevant criteria and most likely leave it sitting in the needs ID pile likely forever unless another anomalous identifier with a penchant for subspecies interaction decides to join you, which isn’t common on taxa even in very popular groups, let alone things like insects. Plus even if enough additional subspecies IDs are added, you or others will need to be actively staying on top of all the relevant notifications to remove the DQA votes on every observation you’ve done it for.

If you can confidently identify it to the subpecies level, just add your ID and move on.


In my experience, people who want to ID things to subspecies level will search through Research Grade observations of the relevant species. I would not worry about hitting “yes,” as it likely won’t make it any easier for the right IDer to find.


Thanks for the replies. That’s the answer I expected. I’ve seen others do this and wanted to know whether it was acceptable or not. I am curious though, is there an official policy against this behaviour?

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To the best of my knowledge there is no existing policy guidance against doing this. I don’t think the staff will tell you directly that you can’t. Arguably, there wouldn’t be any logical reason to even have an option to vote ‘yes’ for ‘can the community ID be improved’ for an observation with a CID already at species, unless using it for this specific purpose was considered acceptable by the staff at the time they implemented the feature.

That said, the fact that you can do this doesn’t mean that it might not annoy people if you do it a lot and just leave it that way.

I can imagine a few specific situations where it would potentially be appropriate to use it for this purpose; for example, during a coordinated time-limited ID blitz where you intended to go back and remove the vote after (for example, trying to refine as many of the species as possible, or trying to clean up systematic mis-IDs of some of the subspecies) I think it would be fine, or in the course of preparations to make a split elevating one or more of the subspecies to a full species less disruptive (where again you would presumably be planning on removing the vote after).

So, basically, if you are going to use it for this purpose, I would suggest doing so only judiciously and temporarily.


I would only do this on my own observations, but not someone else’s. I could see someone doing this if they really wanted identifier’s opinions on subspecies level IDs, but I think that’s the only scenario I’d think it would be productive in (and even then, the observer might forget that they had ticked that and the observation might stick in Needs ID for longer than it should).

I see this type of behavior really rarely though, so I don’t think it’s a huge problem.

Also, even if it generally isn’t desirable, I don’t think this use breaks any guidelines, so I wouldn’t worry too much. If someone thinks the vote is inappropriate/incorrect in some context, it’s just as fair for them to counteract it by voting “Good as can be”.


It would be better to ask the author and/or the other users to accept your below-species ID.

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There is one user is doing this consistently over a large area with a particular species and leaving tons of observations getting stuck at Needs ID on species level. So this can and does happen.