To add a little bit of nuance that at first may seem completely contradictory to my previous post, it CAN sometimes be good to ID things well below the level you actually know anything about. I can think of two scenarios in which this is the case:
at higher levels, it’s often extremely useful to give ANY guess at all, so that the observation can be seen by people who may be familiar with things that just look like that. For example, let’s say you find a green filamentous thing in the water. Even if you know absolutely nothing about ANY kind of algae, IDing it as a “green alga” (chlorophyta) will help it be identified much faster than if you just leave it at “life”. The people who are familiar with green algae will know that it is not a green alga, and will likely be able to at least ID it as a red alga (or whatever).
Sometimes, with some taxa, and at certain times in this platform, it is much better to give what is probably a wrong ID simply to make it easier for a correct ID to be provided eventually. Let me give you an example- Let’s say genus X has 15 species, and you see an observation that could be one of three species, but you have no clue which. Unfortunately, there are very few people identifying that group of organisms in iNat right now, and none of them are particularly knowledgeable about it… but you think it IS possible to ID it to the species level, you just don’t have the information to do so. In addition, there are already hundreds or even thousands of observations of that genus that need ID right now. In that case, giving an ID that is more likely to be wrong than to be right (2/3rds chance of being wrong) is actually the best choice. That’s because if you leave it at the genus level, it’s likely that nobody will ever see that observation again. It will probably just get lost in a sea of observations needing ID, and nobody will ever go through them. An ID, even if it’s wrong, will help narrow down the options, and it does actually help get you closer to a true ID.
Ok… I think I’m done for now. I like “overanalyzing” things :P