General Consesus on Being Asked to 'Fix' One's ID

Is there a sort of etiquette between IDers and observers that dictates requests to ‘fix’ an identification?

I’ve recently been asked (politely) to change my initial ID so it agrees with the IDer’s suggestion.

When I first began using iNat I used to naively Agree with IDers all the time and/or change my ID so it agreed with what might be subtly suggested in a comment.

After becoming active in this forum, I learned never to blindly agree and make obs go RG if one is not confident in their identification.

What is the consensus on this issue…am I okay, choosing not to simply change my ID to agree with someone making an alternate suggestion. Isn’t it the design of the site that another person (with an additional toolbox of knowledge) may come along and in fact, agree with the person who disagrees w/ me and then that is 2/3 agreement = Research Grade?

I especially feel it will be inappropriate to simply agree with an ID b/c these images were uploaded from my archive, there is only a single, one-angle view and I cannot accurately observe/ID the insect again.


If someone asks you to do this, I would politely ask them to detail what field marks etc they are using to help you understand what you missed / did not know etc


So let me understand the situation a little better: You uploaded an observation of an insect and included an ID on it. A person came and gave you a conflicting ID, and then requested you agree with them. Is that the case?

To me there’s a couple of factors here. 1) How confident were you on your ID? Sometimes on my own obs I put initial IDs I am in fact not very confident about, in order to attract attention from people who know the taxa better. I withdraw this ID after another has been given. In general I do not agree with the other IDs unless I’ve done enough research on them to feel like I’ve learned more about how to ID the species in question. 2) Could you perhaps withdraw instead of agreeing? It sounds like you saw this insect a while ago and you can’t really confirm or deny whether your ID or the other person’s are correct. If you don’t have evidence either way, you might go with the option of voicing no opinion by withdrawing your initial ID.


I would probably withdraw my initial ID, but not agree with the new ID unless I knew or was taught how to identify it.


I was pretty confident. But, I am always open to suggestions. I am no expert.

I definitely yield to the IDer’s knowledge of the insect, I just felt odd about simply changing my ID because I was asked to fix it.

Ah! Yes. This is a perfect bit of advice…I hadn’t thought of it. I was thinking I had to either a.) fix it or b.) leave it as a disagreement.

May I withdraw and the IDer’s suggestion will remain…but I have not agreed to an ID (lacking confidence in my own skill)?


Yes, that’s how that works. Your ID will be shown in strike through and it will no longer count towards the community consensus.


If you aren’t sure you gave the right id and not sure the other person gave the right one too - leave yours at least before the 3rd person comes.
If you’re sure the second person might be right, then just withdraw or delete yours, there’s no obligation of agreeing to a new id.


Yes…that is definitely the problem. I have to take the time to consider the IDs as they relate to my area, my images…then I may be able to make an educated decision.


You are free to leave your ID, as it is, while you consider the new suggestion. You are under no obligation to withdraw or agree, until or unless you wish to.

Case by case basis, if I know that second ID comes from someone I trust - then I will withdraw. But not agree unless I feel convinced, it is that, because …


A more appropriate question is whether you have the “expertise” to make the identification, rather than how “confident” you are in it. Dunning-Kruger is very real among naturalists.

Never blindly Agree with anyone’s identification. Do your homework and ask questions. You should be able to either persuasively support your ID, or be able to argue against the suggested ID. If you can’t do either, then it is better to withdraw your ID. I run into this problem a lot on here, and it mostly leads to observations that unnecessarily get stuck at a higher taxonomic level. I can’t begin to guess how many times I’ve corrected identifications, only for those to wallow at family or order-level.


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That will go a long way to helping them learn or advance their skills.


A user with 2500+ observations and not realising the importance/existence of the withdraw function…?
I think I didn’t realise how to use this for a long time either…

More evidence of the need for better placement and renaming of this function to help deal with the data quality issues resulting from blind agreement?


Better on-boarding has long been identified as an area needing work, and they are currently working towards it…


Yes. I think that if you’re not sure about your own ID it’s advantageous because then the label on the observation is more specific and that will attract more identifiers to resolve the issue. Both IDs will still be visible, and if your withdrawn ID is ultimately confirmed you can restore it.


Yes! True.

I think the movement of the withdraw function to a more visible place goes beyond on-boarding though. As at 2500 obs people are well on-board already!

The on-boarding changes will presumably apply to those who are brand new, or sub 100 obs or something. So might not be visible to a large portion of users.

It would just be better UI to have the withdraw function as a visible button IMHO.
Its arguably, as important a function as “Agree”.
And personally, I use it a hundred times more than “Compare”… which I pretty much never use.
( does anyone use “Compare”? )


The “triangle” button is well seen, and if you want to delete an id (which happens with everyone) you click on it and read what’s there. But if it was a separate big button probably it would be a faster process.


Just my two cents as an “expert” and someone who ID’s things and doesn’t contribute all that much relatively in terms of photos. I just spent 4 days going through and identifying nearly 1800 unidentified or misidentified NA cicadas with another person. I don’t ask people to “fix” an ID (or tell them they are directly wrong), but I don’t usually give a justification for why something was identified as such. There is currently a 535 page backlog of unidentified NA cicadas (it was 595 before we started). I just don’t have the time. If someone tags me I’m always happy to help explain my reasoning. With my own group I tend to take more time to explain things, but people only post a few of them a day, and I’m not trying to clear out thousands of images into RG or at least get a correct ID that someone can decide to accept or not. Not sure if that really helps, but if someone is going through thousands of images to ID what can be ID’d it’s hard to at least comment on every one.


I use compare. Which sometimes leads me to tweak the taxon pictures.
If … is the distinguishing feature, why don’t the taxon pictures show that


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