Confused about effect of higher level ID

I’ve started going through a bunch of observations stuck in Life, many of which were originally incorrectly IDd as fungi, then later as a given genus/species of Mycetozoa. I don’t have the knowledge it takes to confirm the genus/species, but I do know they are Mycetozoa, not fungi. I would like to add the higher level ID of Mycetozoa to help move the observations out of Life so they have some chance of being seen by experts in the field, but I’m unsure whether this will have a negative effect on subsequently confirming the genus/species. I know this has been explained a thousand times on the forum, but I’ve still got doubts :thinking: .


I think it is better to add the correct higher level ID, to help the ID move towards the correct one. Once there are some more accurate IDs there, you can withdraw your high level one if your “disagreement” is causing problems. (To be honest I can’t figure out the whole “disagree disagrees with everything” thing. I probably haven’t put enough effort into trying to understand it).


Unless you specify that yours is a disagreeing ID, it won’t have a negative effect, and will be useful (if the current Community ID is Life, then your ID won’t be considered disagreement).

You can include a comment with the ID if you like, explaining that you are not disagreeing with finer IDs, to remove any possible doubt on the part of the observer or other identifiers, who could interpret it as disagreement.


It is iNat’s choice to deliberately make Ancestor Disagreement defy logic for iNatters. Rant over. My copypasta follows …

iNat does ‘ancestor disagreement’
You disagreed with the wrong taxon, therefore, you disagree with all subsequent IDs.
Please reconsider?

iNat wrote a blog post for us in June 2019. Comments there continue to roll in.

3 months ago @loarie wrote

We don’t have any plans to make changes to how disagreements work. Currently, if you add an ID of Family X which disagrees with an ID of Species Y, you are disagreeing with everything in between Family X and Species Y (e.g. Genus Z).

My best advice to identifiers is to check each time at What’s This for the CID algorithm. See if your ID has done what you expect and mean it to do! Then follow your notifications - and check each time if your ID is working as YOU intend it to.


Firstly, thank you for taking the time to revisit observations with higher-level IDs! :clap:

Here’s a link to the FAQs but it’s mostly I think written from an observer’s perspective (not IDer), but just in case it’s useful/interesting…

I would say that picking the level you are confident with is most important (in your example “Mycetozoa”.
On the observation’s page, there is a Community Taxon section

Click on “What’s this?”, or “About”, and a popup window will load. Then scroll down and you can see the accumulative stats for the IDs for that particular observation. :)

(I have a few examples of previous IDs I’ve helped with, but I can’t seem to find any to share right now, sigh… I’ll come back & share if I find one!)

EDIT to add:
This is an example of one where the initial ID was incorrect, and the following 3 were the correct species. If someone had been unsure but know it was “Monocot” and added that ID, the cumulative count would be +1, and the remaining finer-levels would stay as 3.


If the CID of an observation is currently at Life, I don’t know if it is even possible to disagree. So any (correct) id that an IDer can make will be helpful. On the (very) off chance that your ID somehow causes a problem later, being sure to follow notifications is the best action (which is true for any identification). Keep up the good fight!


Here’s a better example of the cumulative effect! :)

I see comments - it is not Species whatever but I don’t know what it is. Which should be a valid ID - it is not …
iNat insists that we must offer a fresh ID.

The ‘not’ and the possible new ID - should be 2 separate things. It should be possible to say - I don’t know what it is - but it is not your taxon (that is valuable input from a taxon specialist)

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For that scenario, I’d rather add a new ID of a slightly higher (and correct) taxon level, and add a comment with the ID at the same time. ;)
For example:

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That is a good example of future Ancestor Disagreement (1 more against in the Ancestor Disagreement column).
Whatever plant ID is added in future will be held back at Plantae - until 3 can agree to overturn the planty ‘disagreement’. Which was never the intention of that identifier. Good intentions defeated by the CID algorithm.

Just to be clear, the discussion on this thread is talking about two different things. The original post asks about adding identifications to an observation at Life - these will not count as disagreements and will have only a positive effect.

A different situation is when the Community ID is wrong and someone adds a disagreeing higher level ID to correct it. This is the problem of ancestor disagreement, which has the unintended consequences mentioned.


If the original observer is still active, getting them to withdraw, or reconsider their Fungi - is more efficient than hunting down 3 identifiers against that Fungi. Unless you are tag-teaming with a slime-mould troika.


That’s true, it is worthwhile asking the observer to fix their ID. Updating to slime moulds might be easier than asking to withdraw, as I don’t think it’s even possible to withdraw an ID on the iPhone app. Sadly, observers often don’t respond, but it’s worth a try

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Whoa. I don’t know how I am just seeing this now. I think I am going to have to reread that blog post quite a few times because the actual implementation seems quite different from the wording presented to the user. Ugh.


For a while, I was a Proud Maverick on an observation that kept getting more and more family-level IDs that disagreed with me. Finally I commented, “I’ll withdraw when someone goes at least to genus.” Lo and behold, it happened the very next day. Sometimes people just need a bit of motivation.

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When I posted this question, I was afraid I was asking something too obvious. Seems like that’s not the case :roll_eyes: :sweat_smile:. I THINK I’ve understood, but the only thing I’m actually certain about is the need to follow this type of ID to see how the situation unfolds in the future. Which given the notifications system is quite a challenge in itself. Oh yes indeed… keep up the good fight!


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