Broad IDing desired or not?

I just was called out for IDing newly uploaded observations with no ID at all to a broad level (plantae) as doing “silly IDs”. What now? I thought it is always good to provide an ID, especially if the observer did not provide an ID at all. I did not mean to do “silly” IDs (and I am actually a bit offended by the words used, that was more than unnecessary), but my intend was to put the observations to a level where people interested in plants would find it.

So what is the desired proceedure now?


You’re doing it right, there’s actually no wrong way if you’re not doing harm intentionally.
See this responce:
By the way you can update your link to iNat profile, it was changed and requires only your id now.


The user who did that has an extremely long history of attacking observers who do this. I will not name them here, but forum and site admins know who it is.

The site is aware of the issue, but has chosen to take no action.

You are free to ignore them, what you did is both desirable and even recommended by the site and you 100 percent did nothing wrong, their wailing notwithstanding.


Are you sure it’s them? I mean, there’re a lot of rude responces, but ofc mention of plants narrows it.

1 Like

I searched for and found the observation in question.


Ok, thanks you guys. I was both annoyed and discouraged by this behaviour, so thanks for backing me up here and clarifying.


Ah, some spy work! :smile: I failed with it, @Ajott is a good ider.

Yeah, you can still do some work on their obs, there’re lots of cultivated plants, even though it’s not the best way, you can mark them so without iding, it’s still better than nothing.


an iNat obs with no ID, is fair game. That is how iNat works.
Ignore the snark. Which is unnecessary. PS @tiwane has left a comment on that obs.


There’s probably three reasons a submitter leaves their ID as “Unknown”: 1) they’re new and don’t yet understand how the site works; 2) they really have no idea what their subject organism is; or 3) they are capable of adding an ID but haven’t gotten around to it yet. It’s usually the ones in group 3 who get annoyed when you jump in and assign some high-level taxon like “Flowering Plants” to their record, even though that category does nothing to impact their finer-level IDing. Once you’ve found a submitter like that, who gets nasty about your attempt to help, best just to skip them in the future.


I started doing that broad ID myself to observations just labeled “Unknown” because I found out that there are people who search for general categories like plants, mushrooms, birds, etc.


It was not the one posting the ID who complained, but actually a very active (and no doubt cabable) IDer and Curator who IDed the observation half an hour later to a more precise level and asked me to stop my “silly” “meaningless” and “not desired” IDs as I am “messing up the procedures”… that is what actually left me discouraged as one would start to wonder if they know more about the whole “procedure” than me. I also don´t really know what the IDer means with that comment.


I do. I am more comfortable in IDing spiders for example and I do go for “spiders” to get into IDing… would not usually find them in the unknown-section

1 Like

We are talking about this project. Perhaps the context will help? If only to remind you what to avoid if needed. RIP Tom @cmcheatle @ajott @jnstuart

1 Like

This observation was not even submitted by the person doing the commenting, they’re telling people not to do it on someone else’s record.


Keep in mind that most iNat users are amateurs (in the best sense of that word). There is no obligation to provide ‘perfect’ ID’s. It can be demeaning when an ‘expert’ chimes in with derogatory comments. Also keep in mind that culturally some people are a bit more blunt. In my experience it is rare, but it may happen. It doesn’t make it much easier to deal with,


Well, that’s even worse behavior. Haven’t run into that yet.


As other people have said, there is considerable practical value to providing IDs at a broad level. I regularly filter my identification intake at pretty broad levels (ferns globally, plants or vascular plants locally), and making those broad IDs helps get observations in front of my eyes.

The user who criticized you, based on past discussions of this issue, apparently has a rather idiosyncratic workflow, and uploads large batches of unidentified observations to work through “live” on the platform, hence is irritated when they are identified broadly and generate notifications before he gets to identifying them more specifically. I think there was discussion of a feature request to let people “hold” uploads to be visible only to them for a limited period of time, but there was some question as to whether that’s appropriate for a website that is, after all, meant to be for public information-sharing about organisms. There was pretty strong consensus, though, that broad IDs are useful and that his workflow was his problem.

(I will note that in most cases, it’s possible to push a “plant” ID a little further and identify a plant photo as a moss, fern, conifer, monocot, or dicot even if you’re not at all familiar with the species being photographed; that probably speeds up the development of more precise IDs, but it isn’t a requirement.)


I made the same experience a year ago or so. Someone was really astonishingly furious about my putting ‘asteraceae’ under their observation they wanted to ID later, because seemingly even family level was so bad that it was kind of destroying everything for them. Since then, I filter for observations that are older than a month and never got into that kind of trouble again. ;)


They are archived photos from someone who died in 2014, so he may have been the one who actually submitted it since he’s creator and admin of the project. Still silly to get upset about it when it doesn’t interfere with the correct identification at all.


I think the question has been answered, I don’t think there’s any benefit to this thread’s continuing along this particular vein.
Not that I support this person’s behaviour. ID whatever you want so long as you do so in good faith and thoughtfully.