How to report observations with photos that observer changed to different species after an ID?

Is there even protocol for this?

A week ago I put an ID on something that I very clearly knew was the organism I submit the ID for and would not have submit otherwise if I knew it wasn’t that exact species. However today I received a notification on this observation that bumped it back to the superfamily so I went to go check and the photos are a completely different animal that absolutely very obviously is not the one I identified and would not have put my original ID on in the first place. The only explanation I can come up with is that the original photos were removed and replaced with photos of a different member of the superfamily (which is very obviously a different species than the one I originally identified). To make things more odd the original photos I identified are still on the observer’s page where they have it input as the correct ID. I believe they may have switched the photos around conflicting with my ID on the specimen I recognized and ID’d and then input the correct ID themselves on the observation that my identification had it’s photos replaced with.

I’m a bit stumped to why this has happened and am wondering how to move forward with this situation? I’m not sure if it’s even a reportable offense but to me just seems in bad faith.


That is really weird. I suppose the observer could have wanted to post the photos with the correct ID coming from him, not you. But then why not just delete the first version of the observation? Strange.

Anyway, I recommend deleting your identification from the observation that now shows different photos. Try to keep an eye on this observer’s future behavior and/or contact the help desk about it.


I have occasionally seen observations with mixed species photos where several identifiers saying “Species A!” were competing with several others saying “Species B!!”, and when the observer tried to sort things out by duplicating the observation and removing the incorrect photos, some IDs ended up left with the wrong observation.
I’ve also seen cases where an observer tried to add more photos for clarification after having ID discussions, and those photos were either something different (accidentally) or made the earlier IDs based on less information obviously incorrect.
Those were all in good faith on the part of the observers, but it has always seemed a bit odd to me that iNat will let observers change their observations after they’ve been identified. I really think that if photos are added or removed from an observation, any identifiers should be notified of a change and asked if they still agree, and the observation should revert to “needs ID” until it again has the required ratio of identifiers agreeing on the new set of photos.


See related Feature Request:


This has happened to me too! It feels awful. Thankfully a very rare thing to occur.


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