Change to the way opting out of Community ID works(was: (Almost) always display community ID)

Modified suggestion:
Based on some good suggestions, I’m modifying this feature request (see original below). Two aspects:

  1. When a user opts out of community ID they see their ID for all purposes, but everyone else sees the community ID.
  2. A record can reach research grade regardless of whether the user has opted out of community (i.e. their species guess counts as a single vote, just like if they hadn’t opted out).

Original suggestion:
Currently, if a user opts out of Community ID, their ID takes priority in iNaturalist. So if I do a search for a given area, I can find records of all sorts of taxa that I know are incorrectly identified. Some of these have 10-20 correct IDs and the Community ID is certainly correct.

For example, check out this record: - it shows up in lists for Ontario when it really has no business doing so. What is the value in it showing up in the database as the claimed species when the community obviously disagrees? Searching for research-grade only observations solves this problem, but it seems silly to include the record even when that criteria is turned off.

Wouldn’t it make sense if the ID assigned to a record was the Community ID, always? The one exception could be for the user that has opted out of Community ID - they would still see their ID and the record would “count” to their list totals how they choose.

Sensible suggestion. A lot of people opting out of community ID don’t seem to understand what they are doing.

For cases where the user hasn’t opted out, the observation ID—the one displayed at the top of the page and in search results—also has the added benefit of moving the ball forward when a finer ID is applied.*

So, for:
ID1: Bouteloua
ID2: Bouteloua curtipendula

The community ID is still only Bouteloua, but the observation ID is Bouteloua curtipendula.

Prioritizing the community ID throughout the site would make it harder to find observations like this of B. curtipendula since they would be lost in the other Bouteloua spp. obs. That said, see also this affiliated request: Search by Observation ID or Community ID.

* ignoring the exception of taxa finer than species rank, which has been discussed elsewhere


Yeah, the way that ID/CID are treated in searches is fine. The problem you’re describing could be better addressed if opted-out observations were automatically set to casual or unverifiable (which also makes them casual). This would have the added benefit that they wouldn’t appear in ID queries unless the ID-er actively looks for them.


Good point. I shifted my vote to the other request

Yes, good point! I thought I had searched for other suggestions like this but missed yours - will add my vote there!

It still doesn’t make sense to me though that a perfectly good observation can’t attain research grade just because the user opts out of community ID.

1 Like

Yeah, I agree they should qualify for RG based on the Community ID.

I think you could modify your feature request to highlight this aspect:

Thanks - I’ve modified the original suggestion. Happy to get feedback on it.


Has this been implemented yet?

I was searching for Psoralea in North America
And 13 observations showed: 10 which should be marked as planted/captive, but three display as “Psoralea” that are community ID = Fabaceae, but the user has opted out.
This filter is supposed to be for Verifiable (ticked), which has a tool-tip: “Eligable for Research Grade”, but if the user has opted out, and their ID is wrong, then they can never be “research grade” and their current ID is wrong and messing up the iNaturalist distribution maps (even if iNat wont export them to GBIF).

Even if we dont change how Opting-Out works, should we not fix how it displays on the maps and filters?

((Or should this be a new topic?))

1 Like