Disagreements to observations with multiple species in the same photo

I do the same and it works fine, ex: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/45331753

I do wish I could make multiple observations from a single photo during upload and have them automatically linked. Right now there’s a lot of duplicating and copy/paste involved.

How often does it happen?

I find that people usually respond to tags - if you try tagging them with a comment that includes the link to the observation with the one they identified then they could identify the organism on the appropriate observation. Like saying “I know x exists here, but I was documenting y. If you’d like to identify x you can do so here:” and then give the link.

Of course, if this happens a lot that might wind up being an untenable amount of work. I’ve never had this happen to me but I have seen it on others’ observations.

I think rarely for most, more commonly for those who tend to submit photos that include multiple species where the subject organism is not necessarily obvious. I doubt that it’s a major issue for most iNatters who submit photos with an obvious subject.

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I guess I mean how common is it for this particular person - is addressing it on a case-by-case basis feasible or is it too overwhelming?

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Did you know that there’s a “duplicate” feature? In the upper right corner of the observation page, click the downward arrow next to “Edit” and choose “Duplicate.” That gives you a second observation with all the same photos. You can choose to add or remove photos from either observation, add notes to explain which organism you’re focusing on, and provide separate IDs.

I understand that this doesn’t solve the issue during upload, but it’s pretty easy to apply immediately after that.


Correct me if I am wrong here.

When using the Identify Modal with Suggestions tab open, any notes or discussion about the observation do not show - one has to open the Info tab. Unfortunately, it would quite easy for someone with a beginner’s skill set to just flip through a bunch of Needs without ever seeing any notes.

I don’t know if the above contributes to the current issue of disagreements but I believe it could. I love the Identify Modal with all its flexibility but see a novice could err with it with multiple species. Maybe notes could show up under the observation photo.


Sorry, having trouble with the thread. I deleted my reply because it looked like it was in the wrong place. But actually it’s where I intended, but now I can’t restore it. Trying again…

That’s exactly what I was going to suggest. I crop the photo to feature the intended individual, and I also state in the description which organism I’m observing. I’ve never had a person give an ID for the wrong organism. (iNat’s computer vision, however, quite often tries to identify a plant instead of an insect even when the photo is cropped, but I just ignore the suggestion and select “bees” or whatever.)

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If someone is purposely not respecting your choice of subject for your observation, that is definitely not cool.

Identifiers should take a moment to read any notes or existing IDs made by the observer and respect those, but sometimes they do make mistakes (I know I have). In situations like that, politely reply to them about the subject of the observation, they’ll usually fix it if they see the notification. If they refuse to do so, you can flag the ID or comment or email help@inaturalist.org.

Cropping to the subject can definitely be helpful, but it’s not necessary, and sometimes showing an entire scene is interesting.

Marking a photo is OK, but do keep in mind that the photo might be used to train the computer vision model. A few marked photos here and there are probably not going to make a big difference, but in general I’d recommend against it. We’d love to eventually include a way to annotate a photo without altering the actual image, but that will be further down the road.


I have seen that happen, though. One person ID’s a different one than the observer intended, and then another one just agrees with the ID that is already there.

Having multiple species in the same submission just causes confusion and is a bad idea unless you mark the species you are identifying, especially if they are in the same Order. In Bamona I reject any photo with more than one Lep species.

You may also use the community “democracy”. Just call 2 or 3 friends and set the correct identification.

As already said, you may crop the picture to have only one species in it, but keset also the original photo as second, as sometimes a picture of two species is great. If you set a butterfly or a bee on the flower, it seems evident that the picture is for the insect, but sometimes people id. the flower. So if the first picture is a recut of the insect, no way to get wrong. Than the second picture is the insect and the full flower because it’s nicer.


This is quite easy to do, and I’ve been on both sides of it. I usually just tag the person in a comment and let them know that they ID’d the wrong subject and can they withdraw or correct it. I’ve never known anyone to have a problem with this, and especially if you do have an observation of the subject they were identifying that you can link them to, and you can say “your ID was good, but can you add it here instead?”


I’ve just created this project in order to help offset this problem. Feel free to add your observations!:


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