Flag Erroneous Identifications

here’s a practical case:

I mostly identify Indo-Pacific corals on here. There are currently 369 observations of stony corals (Scleractinia) that I have given an identification for, but which are now stuck at order-level. Now, not all of these can be identified further, but a majority of these cases can. They’re stuck because the original user couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to the observation and actively engage in the “community” ID process. Here’s one. Here’s another. And Another. I could go on another ~300 times… just for this one group.

This is a legitimate problem. There is a lot of good data that’s stuck like this, and there’s a very small number of users willing to go looking for these. Are you more concerned with ridiculous examples like the one you’ve conjured up, or this very real issue that is currently effecting countless thousands of observations? This will only continue to get worse. If iNaturalist is still in existence a decade or three from now, how many of the current users will still be active? I should be spending my limited time on here applying my expertise to improving identifications, not frantically tagging other users in the hopes of correcting obvious errors, often to no avail.


agree to disagree.

that’s all i have to left to say here, i guess.


This “extreme case” testing is important to the design process… it’s better to test them logically here first than physically in a trial rolled out to the whole of iNat. It’s analogous to the scientific method… here’s a theory, can we break it?


I think an interesting first step to implementing something like this would be to apply it only to IDs made using the Computer Vision algorithm. These are a consistent source of inattentive misidentifications. Do a trial run with that… see what the response is.

CV IDs are symptomatic… the underlying problem is the absentee identifiers. The ID model is built around community participation, but then falls apart when they are no longer participating. There are active identifiers making CV IDs, and absentee identifiers that made manually entered IDs…

This is the same for the “leader board chasers”, those making huge numbers of “Agree” IDs, whether to boost their ID count or as a consequence of some other fashion of iNat use, like “flash-carding” as a way to learn species. Because they receive so many alerts they often just ignore them, so don’t become part of the conversations and therefore never change their positions…


That’s what I said: that I’d only used it for malicious IDs that resist correction.


I’ll preface this by saying that I’m deeply thankful for everyone who spends their time identifying observations and correcting misidentified observations.

However, I would not be for this change, in that I think it would a) add complexity to an already confusing ID system b) go against the 1 person 1 vote ethos c) create (I think) a more contentious environment that would need to be policed and d) likely steer iNat from a open, welcoming place for anyone interested in nature to a place for experts and data users. It would, I think, be a system I wouldn’t be as comfortable participating in.

The explicit disagreement function (wording of the choices aside) provides anyone the opportunity to affect the Community ID while forcing them to add to the “discussion” of the observation and invest it in by making an ID, which I think is a good system. Not perfect, of course, but pretty good.

Just a reminder to assume others mean well. None of us have any idea why these folks didn’t follow up on their observations. I forget to follow up on ID corrections on my observations and I use iNat every day. It has nothing to do with how much I care about them.


After discussing it among staff, we’ve decided this something we won’t move forward with so I’m closing this request.

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