As you can see there is a big disagreement on whether this should be considered a wild observation and similarly whether the location is accurate. The snake obviously is out of range and very likely could be a released pet, but there’s nothing about the observation that indicates it’s not wild. The people downvoting it seem to be guessing. Is there a iNaturalist consensus on how to deal with such observations? My position is something should be considered wild and with accurate location until there is evidence that these are not the case.
my opinion is anything found in a “wild environment” albeit natural or otherwise should be left as organism is wild… yes it may not reproduce in the wild but that organism does still exist until its death. for example we still label wild/feral pigs as domestic pigs however they are living in a wild environment and are therefore feral.
Ticking multiple options in the DQA is a practiced employed by some iNat users to make observations go to casual that they don’t like seeing on range maps/think shouldn’t be Research Grade. It is often employed when that user’s initial downvote in a DQA field where there is some “gray area” like Wild/Not Wild (where there can be pretty legitimate disagreements) is counterweighted by another user. So since the initial downvoter can’t vote again for “Not Wild”, they sometimes choose to downvote in a different DQA category to force the observation to casual.
One advantage of this (for the downvoter) is that DQAs don’t generate notifications, so other users may never notice that these additional downvotes have been added, and the observation may remain as casual.
I’ve posted comments on several observations like this explaining that this “off brand” use of the DQA goes against iNat guidelines, but I still see this practice continuing on some observations. The instances I know of are all for herp observations (as is the example @dan_johnson posted which I hadn’t seen before), so I’m not sure how taxonomically widespread of an issue this is.
As @kristendiesburg points out, I expect there to be some legitimate disagreements about Wild/Not Wild (in which case, the most votes will determine the observation’s status). However, I think that downvoting for other criteria like location or evidence of organism when there’s no indication of those specific errors (or indeed, there’s obviously evidence in the photo!) should be clearly out of bounds.
A quote from iNaturalist staff member @tiwane concerning escaped pets — “I would definitely mark the organism as wild. The wild/captive attribute relates to the individual organism, not the species. Here are iNat’s definitions of the two terms: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/help#captive”
Non-captive organisms should be properly documented — science over advocacy. Escapees/exotics — if they’re there, people need to know about them …some may want to study them. It would be absolutely unacceptable to me if iNat, at some point, revised its policy on exotics.
I knew EXACTLY which observation this was going to be before I clicked.
And I stand by the points @sandboa & I made: per iNat’s definition, wild/captive, when applied to animals, is an evaluation of an individual organism’s current status, not it’s origin (it’s the other way for plants, again, per iNat’s definition).
Another “advantage” is that you can filter for observations flagged as captive, but there is no way to filter for observations voted ‘location is inaccurate’ so its slightly harder for people checking for inappropriately voted DQAs to find.
annoyingly, if you look at observations of arthropods marked captive many of them appear to have been voted as such because the bug is in a collection container, inside a building or for no apparent reason
Yeah it would only work if they also didn’t check captive, because there is currently no way to search for ‘verifiable if not captive’ observations. And that would be getting to bad faith territory (except in the limited cases where there is legitimate debate whether ‘location is inaccurate’ or ‘captive’ is more appropriate, like when an observer has posted a photo of a wild foraged fungus taken in their kitchen).
But the amount of non-verifiable non-captive specifically identified things (with media) is small enough compared to just ‘captive’ that its not too much work to check for them anyway. And you can also catch cases like where the observer didn’t understand the DQA and just voted ‘date is inaccurate’ on their own observation for no apparent reason or whatever.
There’re many collected observations rightfully marked collected, it is common for school projects to ask students to photograph those (not collected by them), it’s a lot of job to find and mark those, so please if you want to vota against it, check account of observer and their other observations.