Create a way to flag duplicate observations and remove RG status from the extras

If the user legitimately accepts that Flickr incorrectly imported the same image multiple times as different observations, they can easily delete the duplicates themselves.

If a flag could be attached to at least remove it from the Unknown pile; or highlight an observation so that it doesn’t continue to get ID’ed. That would be good.


I also don’t see a huge problem with duplication. You can’t really use these data for estimates of abundance or frequency, anyway, and as you mentioned there’s no way to know whether observations from other users are the same individual.

I do agree it’s a bit annoying as an identifier when you hit 13 images in the row of the same bird.

Whats the point of community science if the data that is created is useless?


I really really suggest the power to remove duplicates to curators. Every time i see duplicates it pisses me off. Because every single one makes Inat data look more and more useless. Who’s gonna use data with so many issues. We got people who just randomly agree, put joke IDs, ID without researching, Species that only live in x country being IDed in y country. There’s so many issues and none of them see to be getting fixed and its just gonna get worse and worse until maybe a site like the GBIF says to INat “we can’t include your data because there are to many issues”. Then who knows National Geographic will stop supporting INat, then INat looses funding and dies. Sorry about my rant but these situations are continuously getting worse.

maybe, but duplicate observations don’t actually cause any of those issues because iNat can’t be used to track abundance anyway. Anyhow, i’m curious where you get the idea that National Geographic cares more about scientific rigor than ‘connecting people with nature’ and associated marketing. In fact if anything I’d argue they lean too far the other way.


I think @charlie said it best, above:

With observations doubling every year, and coming in at an enormous rate during the northern hemisphere summer, you may be seeing more unfixed issues now than at any previous time in iNat’s history. But that’s in absolute numbers, rather than as a percentage of the data. There’s far more good data than bad on iNaturalist, and the longer it has been on the site the more likely it is to have been corrected. After about October, things will slow down and the dedicated users, desperate for something to do, will go through and clean up most of the obvious issues.


There is not even a consensus on the site as to what represents a duplicate. Under site rules 2 plants 10 centimeters apart and submitted as separate records is not a duplicate. In fact it is what the site guidelines say should be done.

Most curators I have spoken with (and I am one of the more active ones) do not want the unilateral authority to delete content. I would not object to a process that allowed curators to vote to remove something and after achieving a set number of votes it is reviewed by site staff.


I am new here and was curious how to handle observations of the same individuals at different stages.

I had an Eastern Phoebe nest under my porch eave this spring, and I uploaded (as separate observations) the eggs, the babies just after hatching, and so on. I think there are 4 observations of them in total. I was considering combining them anyway.

Similar question would be observations of the same plant when flowering versus a few months later when it has developed berries.


Under site guidelines, anything taken on separate days must be separate records.


Observations of the same individual can be linked together in comments, like this:

Another strategy is to use an Observation Field. I’ve never done that, but it looks like maybe “Linked Observation” would work. People are less likely to see and follow one of those links, but it’s also possible to search for all observations which use a particular observation field.



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I’m going to close this request:

  • we plan on adding a merge (and split) tool sooner rather than later, so it will hopefully make merging these easier for the observer.

  • as has been discussed, it’s not a major data issue, although yes, it can certainly be annoying for identifiers.

  • it might be better to tackle this on the upload side, with better onboarding or maybe some sort of automatic tool that checks for photos taken within a few seconds of each other. Our designer is pretty busy with notifications now, but we want to tackle onboarding after that.

  • Things could get messy when the community starts flagging duplicates, i.e. which one is the “original”?