How to report incorrect ID

So how do I report a situation for an observation where someone puts an ID of a totally different and unrelated species (I.e. an observation of a domestic cat and someone else puts the ID of Lion, Tiger etc.)?

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Simply suggest the correct ID. If the existing ID seems inappropriate (which could be the case in your example), you can flag the ID as such.


It depends on the reason for the wrong ID, in general we are supposed to assume others mean well, if they just misidentified the animal (eg someone confuses a dog and a wolf), put in your own ID of what you think it is and leave a comment explaining why you disagree

Sometimes someone will start typing a name of an animal in and will than accidentally click a different animal with a similar name, for example I have identified Eastern Black Carpenter Ants as North American Racer snakes, because an alternate name for North American Racer is Eastern Black Racer, so it comes up when you start typing “eastern black”, and I just clicked the wrong button, if the user normally does good IDs and just did one absurd one like this, they probably hit the wrong button, just ping them and point out their mistake, they will probably fix it

Now, if there is reason to believe they intentionally and knowingly put in a wrong ID, like as a joke or for malicious purposes, flag the ID, a curator will see it in the flag log and investigate, if it is indeed intentionally incorrect, they curator will hide the ID, and tell the person who made the ID not do do this, or, if the problem is persistent despite warnings, suspend the account (I’m a curator myself so I am familiar with this process)


Yeah, be aware that weird things do happen, for example if you use the wrong shorthand to bring up the species, click too quickly while the things you’re clicking on are still catching up with what you typed.

I once accidentally identified a hoverfly in the genus Eupeodes as a woodpecker. I’ve no idea how it happened, the names were not even similar - but it wasn’t intentional!


Also homonyms (genera with the exact same name) are disallowed by the codes of nomenclature, but plants/fungi/bacteria have a separate code from animals, so there can be a plant and an animal with the same scientific name. This is a constant issue for me because a plant I have observations of is called Cyanea, which is also the name of a genus of jellyfish, and the latter comes up first when you type the name in.


I see the same thing with fire ants (part of genus Solenopsis) being mis-IDed as plants in the plant genus solenopsis

Usually it is pretty clear when someone is posting wrong ID’s intentionally, in which case you can report it, but if it’s not clear you should assume the best. Either way the community ID should take care of it in the long run.


You can also @mention ‘your team’ to tip the CID to 3 right against that one wrong.

And then there’s the occasional purple coneflower ID’d as a sea urchin since animals show up on top of plants in iNat’s listings when you start typing. In this case, both are Echinacea.


Happened to me as well. This was before I had switched the web interface and app to display all in english and prefer latin names of beings (not that because I know them (I don’t mostly) but to forceme to learn them). I found some Fabaceae in unknowns and started typing Schmetterlingsblütler, and after “schm” Schmetteringe (Lepidoptera) appeared. I clicked the wrong line and a while later the observer asked me what happened. This probably can happen in all languages, checking everything twice before leaving the observation is the only way to avoid it.


Also people who exclusively use the Machine Vision for identification will ID a pollinator as a plant because there are so many photos of the two species together in the training set.


I see this too, but I always see it as a plant or just an image of bare ground being ID’d as an animal that would live on that kind of plant or ground, I think the AI has a bias toward animals

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