Dealing with bad identifier

Is there anything that can be done to deal with an identifier who provides very inaccurate identifications (some are completely and obviously wrong). The person just leaves the IDs after they’re pointed out as wrong, leaving us to have to pile up identifications to override them and doesn’t respond to a message gently asking them to stop as unhelpful. Hopefully I’m not out of line posting this here.


In general we must try to assume good faith. These mistakes, although they seem really obvious to you, they may not be deliberate. It may be someone who thinks that they know what they are doing.

I would try to ask the person more about what they are interested in, and what they like to look at, and whether they need help understanding iNat, rather than just asking them to stop, which could seem rude or confrontational, however gently you say it.

And if it is a child or a trouble-maker/troll doing this deliberately, trying to make friends with the person may help cause them to give up doing this.


A solution I used in a couple of frustrating cases (observations I particularly cared about; one ID I am quite sure was wrong “blocking” it from reaching RG; identifier unresponsive) was to duplicate the observation and then delete the original one. Hence resetting the ID process.

(I add that in my case it was not a bad identifier, but an excellent identifier who does thousands of good IDs I am very grateful for, but sometimes gets it wrong. I reckon they have a lot on their plates and keep their notifications off, as I never saw them reply to queries/comments)


This has been discussed a number times on the Forum. Here are two.
I think the consensus is that there is no consensus about how to deal with this behaviour!


If it’s a known person, then creating a chat or just tagging people who can help with ids is a way to go. Of course talking ia needed but I know at least one person who add ids for groups they don’t know and don’t care about messages or ban you.


I would also recommend considering if they are using the app/which platform is in use - the iPhone app does not show messages and has no interface to alert or access comments or tags, but it is completely possible to complete IDs using the “Explore” function on the app. They may not even know there’re attempts to contact them.


You can notify and we can investigate and send them a message - sometimes a message from a staff member will get a response. We can also see which device they’re using, and wehter they have email notifications for messages turned on, etc., to gain more insight into the situation.

If the problem is really widespread and they’re not responsive to multiple attempts at outreach, I think suspension can be in order as a last ditch effor to get their attention. How to set that threshold, though, it’s prettey debatable.


I am less inclined to accept that given that they do not change after the error is pointed out. Granted, every pseudoscientist thinks they know what they are doing; but the flipside is that the scientific community does not coddle them.

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If they are not getting your messages because they don’t ever use the website, then maybe they have no idea.

This is not to say that they are for sure acting in good faith; there are always a few disrupters around, but it is important not to just assume this person falls into that category.

tiwane’s suggestion are good ones.

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There’s always the chance it’s an enthusiastic teenager. They may be shy to respond or not know what they don’t know or any other reason. I find a lot of these mis-IDs are made by people who just don’t understand how the ID system works, or how scientific identification works in general.

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This is a highly likely scenario. It could be a troublemaker, but iNat has set up a system that completely puts iOS app users out of the loop. It is not obvious to iOS app users that there is a website with vital functions they have no clue about - like messaging.


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