Community versus Observation Taxon?

I hope I’m not the only one confused by this, but is there a simple rationale for why records potentially have two different IDs (Community versus Observation)? I think I understand how they can end up different, but why are there two in the first place?

These seems to cause a lot of confusion about the way the the community ID process works. Why not just have a single “Taxon ID”?

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I assume it comes down to supporting the opt out process. If that is going to be supported functionality then you need two different ID locations.

Fair enough - I’ve always thought that it would be better if the opt-out just automatically bumped the observation to “casual”.

It also seems that the Observation Taxon trumps the Community, as the former is what appears in most searches or maps. That seems backwards.

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I think you could only do this with a qualifier (if you wanted to drop the 2 different fields) if the observer’s ID was different than the community. Presumably this is always the case in situations where the opt out is at the observation level, but not the case when users have globally opted out.

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here’s what was noted elsewhere:

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Thanks, I think I understand the mechanics of how they work but it still seems like a lot of unnecessary complexity. My main question here is “what’s the point of having two?”

If I recall correctly, the distinction was introduced a year or two back. Originally the ID displayed at the top of the observation was sluggish, i.e. if I ID something as ‘plant’ and then you come along and ID it as taraxacum, it would still display plantae at the top. Only after a second person ID’s it as taraxacum would the title of the observation change. This led to questions on the google group of why the ‘title taxon’ (for lack of a better term) would not change with leading ID’s. So in response there are now two taxa, the observation taxon and the community taxon.

There doesn’t seem to be much interest in this change, but I have asked for this a number of times as well. If the observer explicitly requests no community ID, then don’t feed their observation to the community by calling it ‘needs ID’.

… and in the images on taxon detail pages, which is great if you’re looking to mop up wrong ID’s that stand out like a sore thumb, but pretty bad if you’re looking for correctly ID’d pictures to compare yours to.

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See these affiliated feature requests:
https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/search-by-observation-taxon-or-community-taxon/3620
https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/leading-subspecies-ids-should-change-the-obs-taxon-like-leading-ids-of-other-ranks/139