#IdentiFriday is the happiest day of the week

The community aspect and individual aspect aren’t necessarily completely independent of one another in difficult taxa where IDing capacity is limited.

I do a lot of IDing for a taxon that often can’t be ID’d to species level from photos (bees). Most IDers in my region don’t make much use of the “ID cannot be improved” box. One reason for this is that even the specialists have certain genera they are more confident with than others, so just because one person can’t take the ID further, another person might.

However, one effect of this is that the “needs ID” pile is always getting bigger and it is difficult to sort out those observations that multiple people have looked at and really can’t be ID’d any more specifically because the photos don’t show enough detail.

So clicking “ID cannot be improved” – if you have the knowledge to assess whether a more specific ID is theoretically possible – can (at least in principle)* serve as a way to signal to other IDers that they don’t need to spend time on that observation and can look at observations that haven’t been reviewed instead. From an IDer standpoint, I see using the DQA button as not being about making as many observations RG as possible, but about making it possible for IDers to filter observations and find the ones that are in need of attention without having to look at every observation oneself. Reducing the “needs ID” pile can help the remaining observations get seen.

This doesn’t mean I think RG observations are necessarily correct (I find wrong RG observations regularly, even in taxa that are generally unproblematic to ID), but in most cases it is likely that at least one knowledgeable person has looked at the observation. If the DQA has been used to make an observation RG at a rank above species, it is even more likely that someone knowledgeable has looked at it, because observers and generalist IDers don’t generally use this button.

*Now, in practice, I have found that in my region there are a number of specialists who will ID everything in their particular area of interest, whether or not it is RG. This has never struck me as a particularly effective way to distribute IDer effort in a taxon where there is a chronic shortage of IDers – although given the rate of mis-IDs for bees, I can understand why some people may feel they need to do so. (But do we really need a fourth confirming ID on one of the handful of bee species that is usually ID’d correctly, when there are hundreds of observations that have been sitting for months or even years and clearly not been looked at by anyone?)


There’s a handfull of damselfly species where I go trough the RG obs aswell. Just because I like them a bit more than other ones. But I often see obs that are RG, and are just… wrong. Even RG obs of American species in Europe. Which is just insane. And every single time it’s just the ob using a suggested ID, and 1 person agreeing with that ID.

It just baffles me that that’s enough to be RESEARCH GRADE… like how low is the standard. All you need is 1 person with bad intentions, or isn’t very knowledgeable about the species, and they can mess up a whole lot.

At the very least make it so you need 2 agreeing people (excluding ob) when ob uses a suggested ID. Or maybe even for any observation. Why is the goal to have as many RG obs as possible. Isn’t it much better to have less obs at RG, but be sure they’re actually correct, rather than have a lot of RG obs, but have a good amount of wrong ones.

I also often see the suggestion system suggest species which don’t appear in Europe. I see atleast 5 a day. Which is rather ridiculous.


This has been discussed before – if 3 IDs were required, there are lots of taxa that would never be able to become RG because there simply aren’t enough skilled IDers.

I didn’t say most RG observations are wrong. Most are probably correct in most taxa (in certain taxa most IDs are probably wrong, though these taxa usually have a low percentage of RG observations). As a rough guidance for whether someone has reviewed the observation (and thus as a sorting mechanism for which observations should be prioritized when IDing), it is reasonably effective.

I see the problem as being not that the threshold for RG is too low, but that too many users uncritically accept whatever the CV suggests and uncritically click “agree” on IDs suggested by others. The user interface unfortunately encourages this behavior by making it very easy to accept an ID (and reward users with the coveted green “RG” label). I would want to see a solution that includes better onboarding and encourages different user behavior, not one that makes additional work for IDers who can’t keep up as it is.


What about only for certain taxa? Like the big ones. Or maybe even give that power to the curators. So they choose how many agreeing votes you need.

Strongly agree with you here.
I used to be one of these people too, well for my own obs. I enjoy mushrooms, and taking pictures of em etc. But I can’t ID them at all. Thankfully a person from Switzerland IDs them for me. And I always just used agree with him, so it would get to RG. (Seeing there’s not many people IDing them in Europe) But he then told me that you’re not supposed to do that. And I’m pretty sure it’s against TOS aswell.
But if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have ever known.
So telling people who do the same, would be an effective way. But the thing is, I just don’t have the time to type or copy paste that every single time. I see hundreds of people doing it. It’s one of the most common occurances. And it’s up to iNat to solve it. Not us.

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For some taxa, it would be thrilling just to be told that they can be identified that far from photographs. It’s mighty discouraging to be told, essentially, that you just wasted your time taking pictures from lots of different angles and that you would have had equal (lack of) success with just one picture.


Even worse, when you get told that you can only identify that species on a microscopic level. (i.e. Polypodium vulgare and Polypodium interjectum)


Coming late to the party, but about the “good as it can be”

I used to be very hesitant of using it, but that did change. I will use it for species the current literature cannot tell appart without genital examination. We are a handful of spider IDers now, who help each other out (sometimes extensive tagging each other) and clean up this needs ID pile, also by means of marking an observation “as good as it can be” if applicable… So it gets of the plate of the other IDers. However, we usually only do it for at least genus level observations with two IDs that will then go to RG… from my experience, this will satisfy most observers instead of frustrating them.


I also tick the box often, for taxon where I am sure it can’t be identified further, for exemple when flowers are told apart and they aren’t present, ect. Sometimes I’d like if identifiers used it more often though, I’ve taken the habit of doing it myself on my obs. But I see why “general” identifiers would hesitate to use it, as I have to admit this I use it less often for taxa I don’t usually ID.


Hello! Could I interest any lovers of Eupatoriineae to visit Unknown / Eupatoriineae to make some IDs, particularly in those with no taxon at all? Thanks!


While clearing many notifications
Screenshot 2024-07-09 145428

… Better take a break…


too many notifications! I get lost in mine already and its no where near that (most I came back to was over 900 and I went ‘nope’)


Just IDed 225 in American Southeast


Oh, sh*t. I only did one at a time. I’ll lean on unknowns in the jpb projects for a while.

If there was anything actionable, I tagged people, so there are no hidden tasks in mine unless I missed one

Oh no worries, it was a normal post-vacation amount, just laughing about the “cursed notificatons” number there. ;)

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You don’t check your notifications when you’re on vacation?? Wow, you have way more self-control than I do!


I couldn’t. I was offline. But I did work thru them when I was home …

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