Block adding Yes to "can the Community Taxon be improved" as first vote (or ask for confirmation)

I keep seeing cases like this where an observation doesn’t make RG even with 5 or 6 IDs because the original user (usually a beginner) clicked that the taxon can be improved. I suspect some of them think that if they don’t click that, it won’t be shown to the other site users or something because they already know for sure?

In any case, there’s (AFAICT) absolutely zero cases where it makes sense to vote Yes as the first vote for “can the Community Taxon be improved” - it’s mostly useful to counteract an incorrect No vote. Can we block voting Yes as a first vote or, if there’s a use case I haven’t thought of, at least tell the user something like “Are you sure? This will temporarily block your observation from reaching Research Grade and should mostly be used only if $whatever_the_use_case_is”?

I can see a use for observers that ID to subspecies, as often they have someone then ID to species and it removes it from the “Needs ID” pool. A blurb about the effects would be nice though.

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To be honest, it seems like the system worked as intended - you were able to restore “research grade”-ability status with a single counteracting vote. I agree that a blurb would be nice.


Indeed - I just had made a similar observation over on this related feature:

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Multiple reasons people might put on a yes vote before any no votes discussed here


Actually there’s plenty of such cases. I’ve had to do so myself. There was one case in which I disagreed with a duck ID but it wasn’t enough to push it to RG. Then some other people came along and RGed it to the species I was disagreeing with. It was obviously an incorrect community ID, so I put in yes in the “can the taxon be improved” area and commented. Eventually, it was flipped back to my ID. However, if nobody had changed their IDs due to my comment it still wouldn’t be an RG incorrect duck species as I had put yes in the checkbox.

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I think a disagreement is going to head it “away” from RG, not push it towards it?

Others can ID, they can’t RG…

by definition no community ID can be incorrect. If you don’t agree with the community ID, then it is because there are more identifiers having put the ID you disagree with, so you need to have a conversation with them about their IDs.

you are right here, but for the wrong reasons. The vote of “can the community taxon be improved” is to put the observation back into the Needs ID pool, so that additional identifiers might see it and weight in. It is not to “correct” an “incorrect community ID”.

However, there are times when the active participants in a conversation might reach a concensus view, and a non-active identifier ID that might be blocking that concensus could be treated in that way.

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I always vote that first if I need subspecies id or if someone new agreed to my id and I’m sure they know nothing about that taxon, so I need more help from an expert.

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In that case, I’d at least like it to have a “newbie, be careful” thing, because I’m pretty sure it still gets used wrongly more often than correctly :)


I’m confused about this. The organism in the photo is objectively either one species or another (ignoring the arbitrary definition of species). If the community ID is not that species, then it’s wrong. Our ability to identify the species from the photo is less objective, but for example with most birds where the phenotype associated with each species is well known it can be pretty clear when a bird has been misidentified. Hence tagging experienced users directly or taking it back to Needs ID so more experienced users will see it passively.


The community id is not saying what the organism in the photo is. It is saying what the community thinks it is. If three people say it is A and one says B, then the formula for community id assesses A to be representative of the communities understanding of what the organism is. iNat community id model is excellent at highlighting where there is dissention in the community over an id, whether that be through lack of knowledge, or contestable interpretations of the definition in literature or presentation of characters in the evidence. The dynamic nature of iNat IDs and the mission of “Create Community” should see a dialogue occur that heads toward a concensus view. If reality is that the individual in the observation is B, then the community id is still correct, in that 3 out of 4 identifiers think this is A. The identifier that thinks B should make the effort to communicate why to the others, and encourage them to re-evaluate their position. Otherwise 3 other identifiers are going to continue to ID “incorrectly” on future observations…

Because it is a proportional formula, bringing in additional “votes” is one way to tip the balance, but I think it is in the iNat spirit and supported by the primary mission to at least try and reach concensus with those who have already taken the time to make IDs. Otherwise why do we bother with CID at all, when we could just let Dr Expert make all the IDs from the outset.