Disagreements with a Research Grade record

I wish that when someone “disagrees this is x species” when others have agreed, they would need to suggest what they actually think it is, because it throws a formerly Research grade record into Needs ID.

It just seems like a courtesy that if you’re going to disagree you have to at least say why.


If I may act as devil’s advocate. To look at this from a Bee perspective, I spend a lot of time running through Bombus impatiens RG observations and kicking a lot of wrong ID’s out, usually I tag the other identifiers, but some of the observations are several years old and the ID’ers are sometimes inactive, so if there’s fewer than 3 mis-ID’s, sometimes I’ll just disagree and wait to see if someone asks why, if they ask I will explain it, but I’m trying to go through 74000 observations so sometimes I want to save time. So I’d recommend, tag/message the person who disagreed and ask them why they disagreed.
Identifiers on here get two common complaints: It takes too long to get an ID, and Identifiers don’t spend enough time on each ID. These two things are just about mutually exclusive.


As your response and replies to it indicate, there can be multiple reasons why they disagree. In some cases they might not even have a suggestion for which species it should be. You can also try asking them by comment, but technically replying to comments or giving ID basis is only optional (although recommended by iNat, if the questions are reasonable). I’d overall just get more used to that disagreeing IDs are very common and often don’t include an explanation. The same is true of all IDs. It would also generally help if people gave ID basis more often overall (for any kinds of IDs, but especially if they undo RG).


Many people do not understand that it is already a huge courtesy of IDers to leave an uncommented ID! Guy takes his time to correct your misidentification? A “thank you” would be in order.
I get your point: for you it is “the ID that got set back without explanation”. But for highly active IDers it is just one of many … many many too many … so, if someone is interested in why I drop a different ID, I expect them to ask. But I will not a priori declare the same issues 100s of times over and over again without knowing wether there is someone listening on the other side.
It is irritating because iNaturalist looks like a forum, but it isn’t. So while an uncommented disagreement may be perceived as generally offensive in social media, it is not on iNat. Admittedly I had to get used to this as well.


I used to leave comments. Still do sometimes. But more than often I feel that they fall onto deaf ears (or rather empty internet space), so I am doing it less and less. These who want to know why I disagreed with their ID, tag me and ask. But do you know how few observers do it? During this year it was maybe ten of over 12000 IDs I made.


In general I agree with this, but it’s particularly annoying when someone chimes in with a wrong ID that bumps an observation out of RG. Working an in area where we get very few observations of anything than common, easy to identify species getting any ID on them, and even those rarely, it’s problematic when you have something that’s taken several years to get to RG and someone comes along, often who is completely unfamiliar with the area or who is a new user, and places an ID that’s wildly wrong.


The answer is one: tag the IDer. if there is no response, tag the IDers of that particular organism group. One or two might have knowledge of the organisms in your area, too.


Yeah, I do find that incredibly annoying, especially when you’ve got one or two of the top ten ID’ers for that taxon who say it’s one thing and someone comes along with a dozen ID’s and “is a naturalist!” and disagrees (teeth grinding). In that case, disagreeing and moving on just makes you look ridiculous, you need to give a reason.
When this happens to me, I tag them, and then tag a couple of others to to see if they can jump in.


True. But in my experience this is an exception. Newbies who drop a wrong ID are easily convinced that they are wrong. I do not think it ever happened to me that someone drops a ridiculous ID and then gets lost for good … but I am in my first year on iNat, so I just might have been lucky so far.

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True. It is a considerably rarer case than incorrect RGs.


Only slightly off-topic: in general too many people pay too much attention to that “research grade” label. A parrot repeating a crude ID doesn’t make the observation any better or the ID more reliable. I have come across userclusters (young people?) that obviously try to get points like in a computer game and will confirm any weird ID of their friends. So user A identifies the species of B, and B IDs the same species of A, and both are pleased (yay, another RG!!!) … but in reality it is just sad and diminishes the “RG” label even more.
Said userclusters may be in attack-mode if someone interferes with their ID-castle-in-the-air, and no explanation will help.


Yes wrong Research Grade is much more common, but I’ve had the Newbie who puts some wildly wrong ID and then never comes back happen quite a bit.


Would also be good if iNat promoted checking our maverick IDs. (Without having to bookmark the URL, that’s if you ever realise Checking Mavericks is a thing!)


Sums up my approach as well. I was diligent in making comments, but have seen that they seem to make little difference to most folks. I am familiar with a core group of observers, and we have had good discussions, but outside of them I do it less. If it removes an observation from RG, I’m more likely to comment (at least a link), but I’ve made the same id for one person this year about 20 times and they can’t seem to be bothered to even get to Genus. I just stopped explaining.
For inactive users I will leave a comment when I make a change, for a paper trail, so to speak.


I think that depends a lot on where you are in the world (or at least where your observations are).

Here in SE Asia it’s relatively common, at least in my experience.

When the wrong id is RG, I usually explain why it is wrong, otherwise I don’t.
I have a statement in my profile: If you want more information on an ID, feel free to ask. It seemed to me the best solution to spend time where it has more value.


I add a comment to RGs as I need people to withdraw their ids if there’re more than 2, but it’s optional if only two people agreed on wrong id.

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Never seen such a thing. How would one do that?

We hear your frustration. You would like the maverick to justify the change in ID but that rarely happens for you. It makes sense you would want to know if the new ID is accurate.

When this happens to us, we click on the identifier’s profile to see their expertise and how many IDs they have made. This way, we can gauge if the maverick is an expert in the field. Either way, if we want to learn more, we tag them and ask questions. Often, we receive replies. When we do receive replies, we often learn, teach, and have generally positive, connective interactions.


Could you elaborate on that statement? IE what have you never seen, and how would one do what? I want know so I can respond.