Captive/Cultivated is Not Just a Waste Bin

As someone who occasionally does ID of captive/cultivated observations, I’ve noticed that a lot of “junk” observations such as photos of photos, photos that do not include evidence of organisms, or photos of Humans are often marked as captive/cultivated when this is not correct. This is a PSA to say please, do not mark these as captive. That’s what the DQA votes for “Evidence of Organism” or “Date is Accurate” are for. If the photo is of a Human, just ID it as Human and move on, please don’t mark it as captive unless the subject happens to be a prisoner or hostage. Marking all of these waste observations as captive can make trying to ID legitimate captive/cultivated observations a nightmare.


Perhaps there should be a status like (but separate from) “research grade” for captive/cultivated observations that have multiple concurring IDs.


I infer part of what’s causing this is it’s difficult and there seems widespread reluctance to delete or flag (aside from using DQA) certain milder kinds of junk or joke observations, especially if they were uploaded by new users who may not have realized anything was wrong. There are also cases where reviewing-users mark DQA arbitrarily to move verifiable observations to casual when there’s no other current way to flag them for the applicable reason, e.g. for duplicates. Marking DQA as such is also done by curators (given this involves DQA), not only unaware users. So, it would help to clarify what the guidelines if any are for this, and if they can be justifiably deviated from or not (usually curators say not to deviate from any other site rules besides this one). Overall, another reason may be that iNat does mostly emphasize wild photos currently (although I wouldn’t mind this focus being broadened). I agree with the point you seem to make that casual is still important in it’s own right, and that things that actually wouldn’t fit verifiable or casual may be best not to put in casual. How to alternatively categorize or respond to them is difficult to determine though, and would benefit from discussion/clarification.

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This is likely because it takes just a single keystroke to mark something captive, and to do any of the other options takes manipulating a mouse and clicking things to basically get the same result. It takes a lot more time.

I think if the DQA options were a lot easier to perform, they would be used more.


Yes I agree, it is because the X hot key in identify modal is so easy to use, people use it for observations where it doesn’t apply.

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Oftentimes there is a standing flag but it gets voted not wild anyway. Even so there’s no reason people should be marking observations of Humans as captive. Just add your ID of Human and move on.

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What exactly are you referring to here? There is some helpful info here, but I’m not sure it’s relevant:

I think duplicates are usually flagged.

I also see curators flag much more frequently.

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Many use DQA, but the part about “evidence of organism”, not captive, as things are not captive.


I’m rechecking/asking if there are clear guidelines to not use DQA arbitrarily e.g. to never select location or date missing, captive, etc. when it’s done for just for the sake of making an obs. casual for an unrelated reason that lacks any other existing option (e.g. if it’s a duplicate).

The linked request (which I also voted for) hasn’t been implemented yet though right? This is also something related I wanted to recheck: is it (1) valid and (2) in guidelines that duplicates can be flagged (currently)? I’d wondered if there simply was no clear policy for duplicates, resulting in some people flagging them, others using DQA arbitrarily (including at least some curators), and others just commenting “duplicate” on the obs. without doing anything else (which is what I do).

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I don’t think there’s anything explicitly forbidding that, but doing so seems to be pretty blatantly misusing the site.

No, just cross-referencing.

Not sure what “valid” means but it’s technically discouraged in the flag prompt. The community guidelines say:

Duplicate observations. They’re not ideal, but they’re usually due to oversight or bugs. Politely ask people to remove them but if they don’t, it’s not a big deal unless it becomes a habit.

The curator guidelines state that flags for duplicates are generally left unresolved, so maybe that is permitting them (which seems inconsistent with the flag prompt). But the guidelines are easily changed by any curator so it’s not always the best to trust the exact wording too much.


I’ve always been a bit confused by duplicates.
It would be good to have the policy clarified.

I usually comment, but if I do mark them in some way then I do so with DQA (but not captive/cultivated option I think).

I prefer DQA as I think treating flags as a waste bin is more problematic than adding to casual obs.
Also it seems less aggressive for new users.

Ideally though, duplicates need a dedicated solution.


Welcome to the Forum!

I think you and I (and this topic’s author) had the same understanding actually, taking a more literal interpretation of what the guidelines say to do and not do. Yet, the topic is relevant because not all view or interpret things that way.

This is essentially what I’m referring to re: clarification being needed. I’m not blaming curators who did arbitrarily use DQA either, just wondering if there is or should be any one procedure everyone should follow. I only comment “duplicate,” so neither apply to me. I’ve felt that the flag-option (if it even is a current option) is awkward because it feels like overly faulting someone and they often didn’t intend to do wrong. Plus, sometimes duplicates can be misperceived (like when there are two identical photos but by two different observers, which apparently is allowed for some reason).

@tiwane said at least once that marking DQA that doesn’t fit observation shouldn’t happen, so answer to your question is no, it’s not ok to mark date incorrect or captive if observation is a duplicate.


Flagging also makes observations casual, which is often why users take that route.

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I agree, I and also some others just write “duplicate” or “duplicate observation” in comments. It may be useful if at a later time people can find duplicates via searching for those comments by keyword, to deal with them however they are eventually decided to be dealt with (which sounds like it will by some flag system).

But it also creates excessive flags that imo diffuse curators’ attention and can leave flags that need resolving with no action.


Maybe. It’s fairly easy to filter for different types of flags, and certain curators tend to look at different types. It would only be an issue if a curator was only looking at their dashboard widget, in which case they’d miss most flags anyway.

But I do think a DQA vote would be more fitting. A side point for the above topic though.


But most humans are “cultivated” no? XD I think wild humans are a bit rare.

Agree that joke/ trash posts shouldn’t be automatically categorized as cultivated, but it makes sense that most of them would be, for example anything manmade. For example a toilet; we couldn’t possibly call that wild right?

But stuff like a mountain picture should be classified wild but still marked as bad evidence of organism

" a lot more time" – is this not equivalent to standing in front of the microwave, muttering “Hurry up!” ?
What a ridiculous society we have become…

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