Currently in my region there’s a group of three young naturalists who submit observations of the exact same organisms and proceed to agree with each others’ identifications, even when the initial identification is completely wrong. I’m not yet going to call these users out specifically, and thus I’m not going to share specific examples. However, I’m dealing with hundreds of observations which are incorrectly identified but with three IDs in agreement by the same three people. Attempts to correct them are therefore relegated to “Maverick” status. It’s creating a real headache for data quality in this region.
I’ve encountered this in the past with student groups using iNaturalist for course work, but those situations are temporary and manageable once the students stop using the site. The current scenario seems to be a case of several overenthusiastic and committed individuals with no end in sight. How to address this?
Message me on iNat with a link to the issue, I’m a curator who has dealt with this before, so I would like to take a look at this, but calling anyone out publicly on the forum is against forum rules
Regarding how this is handled, there is nothing wrong with a group of friends IDing each others observations, so long as they are honest IDs, and it is possible that this is just a group of friends who aren’t very good at IDing, but if there is deliberate dishonesty in IDs to push them to RG, or one person with a second account agreeing with themselves, that is a problem, and should be flagged, but it’s hard to tell from a text description, which is why I would like a link to the issue
If you vote ‘yes’ to ‘can the Community Taxon still be confirmed or improved?’ in the DQA, I think it puts the observation back in Needs ID, even if it would otherwise be RG. That might be helpful. It lasts until you remove your vote or someone else cancels it out with a ‘no’.
I don’t think that would be a false vote: if the community taxon is incorrect, that means it can be improved.
And also if you see something incorrectly IDed always put in the correct ID, even if that is maverick, enough people do this and that becomes the community taxon
The first step is generally explaining the issue to the users. We’re asked to assume that other users mean well (even if the behavior described does go against iNat guidelines). If they are unresponsive to polite education via comments/DMs, you can flag and/or also email email@example.com with details.
I have the exact same problem with a group of users, and I voted « yes » to « Community Taxon still be confirmed or improved? » in the DQA, but then, they voted « no », and the obs became RG again…
I know we ID a lot of the same taxa, so feel free to PM me with links if you’re still having an issue with this. I’m happy to provide backup when needed.
And tag others who are competent with taxa in question if you know them to be open to tags.
Since joining the inat discord server I found in desperate situations that also can help, there’s a channel there specifically for help with hard-to-fix incorrect ids.
Suspension is a possibility, see https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/community+guidelines
Add accurate content and take community feedback into account. Any account that adds content we believe decreases the accuracy of iNaturalist data may be suspended, particularly if that account behaves like a machine, e.g. adds a lot of content very quickly and does not respond to comments and messages.
It requires that you’ve talking them about their actions and made it clear to them that they should only be agreeing to IDs if they can independently verifiy them.
Thanks to everyone who messaged me privately offering to help correct IDs. I think the situation is resolved now.