How did about 50 species disappear from our project without notice?

Thanks for the update, Carrie. Perhaps one option to consider would be within the new notifications revamp, of notifying observers and identifiers of this sort of change - if an identifier deletes their account, there should be a way to notify people so that they can revise their IDs or call for additional ID help so as not to lose Community IDs without noticing. Thanks!


That is a better option. A prompt - if it is no longer CID, to reconsider your ID. Or to tag in someone competent to help restore a fresh CID.

For you - if it is a taxon where you know and remember who it must have been.
But for others, who might never have engaged with Deleted Account?

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Yes, I’ve noticed a bunch of my previously-identified observations have dropped back to Needs ID or gone to genus level due to that user deleting their account and all their IDs with it. It’s quite a blow, they were one of the most prolific identifiers of Prunus - unfortunately a lot of observations they corrected at some point have now reverted to the previous incorrect research grade as well.


It would help immensely if there were even just a note indicating that an ID/comment by an inactive user was here. This gives users a heads-up that something happened and why a comment thread or ID history may seem incoherent.

I personally would appreciate being able to see what that ID was – even without the context of knowing who the user was and whether their IDs were reliable or not – although in such cases it seems to me that a struck-out (withdrawn) ID might be more suitable than leaving it active and counting towards the community ID. I would be OK with not showing the ID, however, as long as something indicates that there had been one.

I also second those who have said that it would be valuable to have a way to more easily find observations that have been affected by such an account deletion. Actually it might be useful in general to have a mechanism for informing users that the status of the community ID of one of their observations/an observation they are following has changed because an ID has been withdrawn. I’ve been working to try to get old observations with conflicting IDs into the right family or genus; sometimes users will withdraw their incorrect IDs in response to this effort, which is great – but I have no way of knowing that the observation is now on track unless I actively go back and check it (whereas if the user had added a new ID instead I would get a notification).

(Here’s an example of an identification discussion which now makes no sense whatsoever as a result of the account deletion: Originally there was an ID before my first comment, and a revised ID between my comment and my ID. I’ve removed my tag with their former user name, but will leave my comments for now because they illustrate the problem so well).


often times experienced users - especially in cases like @graysquirrel mentioned - leave reasoning behind with id. If this was kept with the ID, surely in a lot of cases you could at least re-key or follow the logic. I would still think even “annon user” or “” as a screen name is useful almost always. If they are wrong, then others will fix it (as is iNat way…) and if they are right, others will agree (as is normal iNat way…), and if they decent, breaking former research grade (such as in aforemention cases) they probably left reasoning and we kick back to that.

So really…I would think it’s always fine to leave it and this would be a really nice feature The name could be defaulted back to “annon” or “deletedaccount” or whatever so that way the name trace is gone for those who that would be a concern for. But, I would actually like to see it be the default account delete method to only delete their own account & data, not IDs/comments, with an extra very clearly worded (even for the layperson, so even the whole relative-deleting-after-death can understand, outlining that IDs will no longer have your name with them if that’s the concern) extra step if you want to delete your ID’s as well.


I don’t intend to provide my family members with that kind of access. My laptop uses face recognition, with a PIN as backup; my mobile phone uses connect-the-dots.

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For everyone, if species isn’t widely known, this knowledge can be unique, it can stop others from iding it as a common species and think if it’s one or another, that can lead to research that will lead to a new id.

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I understand wanting to keep the keying out information available.

But still, my ID and my comments should remain mine. To edit or delete as I choose.

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Was it the one iding Salix? I just found their ids are gone, and some of them were the only id or the only disagreeing ids! That created a big mess.

I think I have seen signs of this: an observation at Unknown, with no IDs, but a comment from the original observer saying thanks.

You guys might want to go though unknowns from that region specifically.

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Very recently I also got notified of a prolific beetle IDer deleting their account, with maybe tens of thousands of IDs gone :face_exhaling:
I asked a colleague who is trying to help recovering those lost IDs how his approach is.

Here’s the recommendation for such cases:

In the Identify module, sort by date updated (descending). Because lost IDs/changed observation ID should count as an update.
To further restrict the search, one might select a range for date added, excluding e.g. all observations from this year.

The thing is, the earlier the account deletion is noticed, the easier it would be to find the affected observations - so it would really be helpful to receive a notification if an ID got deleted or the observation ID has changed


In which region they were iding? (hell, tens of thousands of ids, that’s just cruel) I’d like to help, maybe I’m better at beetles than trees.

Not sure, as I only heard about that instance. Maybe it was worldwide, and at least Cerambycids have been IDed. Didn’t check my own beetle observations so far

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Yes, using the method described above, found some of mine which lost their ID. Quite a diverse set of beetle families, which doesn’t simplify dealing with the issue.

And I need to add a comment here: Had I (trustingly) agreed to the suggested ID by that beetle expert, several of my observations would now not have been reverted to a higher status. Another argument to at least have the withdrawn ID still displayed, without any user name.
Then I would at least be able to recreate the ID process


I checked mine and they looked like nothing changed, why those deletions became so common I don’t know, but it definitely forces us to agree on ids, which I’d like to avoid even when there’s literature we can use to prove the id.

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I find this to be an argument for something rather different than what you do.

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I cannot follow - could you clarify what you mean and what I am (allegedly) doing?

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I totally agree. But I think it should not be the easiest (default) option to do this. The easiest option should be deleting account but not content… With the additional option to extent to deleting comments or even complete deletion if one really wishes.


I meant what you do think it’s an argument for:

Whereas I think it is an argument in favor of, if not trustingly accepting an ID, then at least following it up.

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