Confusing Umbrella Project Behavior

Please fill out the following sections to the best of your ability, it will help us investigate bugs if we have this information at the outset. Screenshots are especially helpful, so please provide those if you can.

Platform (Android, iOS, Website): website

App version number, if a mobile app issue (shown under Settings or About): n/a

Browser, if a website issue (Firefox, Chrome, etc) : Firefox 115.13.0esr

URLs (aka web addresses) of any relevant observations or pages: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/228480625
See below for others.

Screenshots of what you are seeing (instructions for taking a screenshot on computers and mobile devices: https://www.take-a-screenshot.org/):

Description of problem (please provide a set of steps we can use to replicate the issue, and make as many as you need.):

Step 1: I’m puzzled by the behavior of an umbrella project.

I joined an umbrella project for field stations ( OBFS: Organization of Biological Field Stations, https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/organization-of-biological-field-stations ) because they’d included a field station project I’d made ( St. Anne Woods and Wetlands: Flora & Fauna, https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/st-anne-woods-and-wetlands-flora-fauna ).

Now I notice that several of my observations from Costa Rica (not in my Kentucky field station project) are in the umbrella project, even though they weren’t made at field stations ( https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=6924&project_id=207567&user_id=m_whitson ).

I also noticed the OBFS umbrella project tag on an observation from my yard ( https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/228480625 – not close to our field station or included in that project), and weirdly, if I go to the OBFS umbrella project and search for that observation, it doesn’t appear (which you’d expect, since it isn’t from a field station, but then why does the project icon show up on the observation?).

What am I missing here?

Step 2:

Step 3:

My guess is that at least some of them if not all are in other projects that feed into the umbrella project. Your observations won’t show those project badges unless you have joined the associated collection projects.

For instance, your Costa Rica observations appear to be in this project:
https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/quetzal-education-and-research-center-san-gerardo-costa-rica
which is in the umbrella project.

Not sure about the one from your yard. Maybe it previously had a different location and needs to be reindexed? You could try adding and removing a DQA vote (not doing that myself in case someone else wants to see the evidence…)

Thanks. That may explain the Costa Rica observations.
Looking more carefully at my other observations, I think many (maybe all) have the OBFS project icon now, even though not all of my observations show up when I search that project, so I don’t think it’s an indexing issue. Maybe it’s a project definition issue, but I didn’t think one could be very fancy about inclusion rules when setting up umbrella projects.

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I can’t check right now, but I had a similar issue where some projects included in the umbrella had no inclusion criteria of their own defined. As a result each and every one of my observations would show up in the umbrella. I figured out which projects had no criteria (though their names sounded like they did), and the umbrella admins removed those, and that fixed it. So take a look at the other projects included in the umbrella, the problem may be with them.

3 Likes

OK, that makes some sense, but is also confusing.

I’ve joined projects that didn’t have proper inclusion criteria and all of my observations were included until I left that project.

But why would that happen if you join an umbrella project? Does joining the umbrella project automatically join all of the individual projects??

I guess the way to look at it is that if an observation is contained in a project, and that project is included in an umbrella, and if you have joined the umbrella, then the umbrella badge will display on that observation. It doesn’t matter which sub-project is causing the observation to be included in the umbrella. If you had joined the (presumably malformed) project then its badge would also display.

Maybe there are legitimate uses for this. The individual projects also don’t necessarily need to be malformed, just include in their criteria conditions that are wider than what you may have expected.

2 Likes

Yes, this is correct. Umbrella projects just collate existing projects, joining an umbrella project doesn’t mean you join all of its subprojects.

I don’t think this is a bug, I’m going to set the topic to close.

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