"Identify" mode should default to active, not consensus, ID

At the moment, the Identify tool summons only observations with a consensus ID at or below the specified taxon. This frequently creates a frustrating situation for me, and I’d assume, many other identifiers.

Eg, if a user guesses a gall was caused by mites, when I know it was caused by wasps, my ID sends that observation all the way up to “Arthropods.” If the user withdraws their original ID, the problem is resolved, but many never bother. Now, the next expert to work through either gall mites or wasps will never see that observation unless they’re going through all the arthropod observations. I very much appreciate the work that users like @lotteryd and @paloma do in sorting through State of Matter Life, but they can’t keep up, and it seems like a lot of that work could be easily avoided.

We already have a tool that fixes this problem: changing the search url from taxon_id to ident_taxon_id. But new users aren’t made aware of this option–I only learned about it by searching the forum, I had to go back to the search URL wiki post to get the precise wording until I memorized it, and I still forget to use it sometimes. It’s frustrating to go to a taxon page and see I have twice as many ID credits than there are observations for the species, and know that unless another users know this trick, there’s essentially no way for them to find those observations, even though the site knows exactly where they are.

Maybe there’s a good reason to keep the default the way it is now, but it seems like we could at least find a way to make the option to access these “lost” observations more apparent to new users? Thoughts?


This is my favorite suggestion ever made on iNaturalist. (Also want to add that others also spend a lot of time on SOML.) It would make so much more sense if experts could easily find these observations instead of having to wait for them to be “teed up.”


Just to understand this better (it seems like a useful proposal) this example observation would show up in Identify for both mites and wasps, correct? The main downside I could see would be the following sort of situation:

Observer uploads a bunch of photos with Bsal in the filename, which are then automatically identified as chytrid fungus. An identifier adds a new ID as a plant. Under the current system, that is enough to hide the observation from those identifying chytrid funguses, but under this new proposal it would take the effort of several identifiers before that happens. So, a possible downside of the proposal is that it would become harder to remove clutter from Identify, requiring attention from multiple identifiers, not just one.

This is not necessarily a dealbreaker, but worth thinking through the possible negative effects on identifiers.

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I thought the proposal was to have it show up in Identify to anyone searching for Chytrid Fungus as well as to anyone searching for plant kingdom.

Yes, that’s my understanding of the proposal as well. The downside is that it will be harder to remove clutter from identify (requiring multiple identifiers instead of just one). I’ll edit my post to try and express it more clearly.

I didn’t realize that IDs could be added through filenames! But yes, this is what I think should happen. It seems preferable to me that identifiers be presented with lots of false positives than to end up with a bunch of false negatives. Cluttering Identify doesn’t seem like a big problem, personally–you just scroll past them and mark them reviewed when you done with the page. But really all I’m asking is that we find a way to let identifiers know they can make the choice for themselves (and ideally, make it semi-permanently, so they don’t have to remember to change the URL every time they open a new Identify tab).


So, maybe a feature request to add an appropriate option to the filter panel, so it can be “clicked in” to the url instead of having to manually build the url? I would definitely use that option for various identify searches.


Ohhhhhh this is cool. I tried this with genus Romneya, and then I also told the search filter I wanted to see only things ranked above genus. So now I have whole set of observations over which there is disagreement whether they might be Romneya. It’s so interesting. Some actual Romneya and a lot of the things which get mistaken for Romneya (white peonies, Argemone…)


This is great. This one that you did had two IDs at genus level six months ago, and just needed one more ID since then to get it out of State of Matter Life: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/24857751

And I filtered for “Butterflies” and got a few of those out as well (not identified below that level yet, but still more visible now that they’re out of SOML).

I wonder how many are waiting in there for just one more person?


The community ID will be arthropods, since mites are arachnids and wasps are insects. The proposal is for the ability of a third person to then be able to find it more easily by making a (narrower) search in Identify of wasps instead of arthropods.


that was my impression prior to this, but:

whereas in the cases cited above, both IDs don’t support each other…

I think I know what you’re talking about, but I don’t think that’s what this is about.

It seems like it would also need a way to just type in a taxon in the species box, instead of having to look up the taxon number for different searches (if possible).

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Oh yes, that’s a big barrier right now- you basically need to be a “power user” to do this search at the moment.

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Not sure what you mean–isn’t this exactly how the search box in the Identify tool works now?

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yeah but to implement the same thing for ident_taxon_id

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Yeah, that’s what I’m asking for. I guess I’ll go ahead and make a feature request for this.


Using the URL results in the species box being blank, even though the taxon is included in the URL. And there is no way to do any typing in the species box if you want to change the taxon you’re searching.

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I made a Feature Request you can go vote for if you want.


@megachile FYI I have proposed a similar command line option to ident_taxon_id. It would be called something like identifier_taxon_id which would include both the identifier and the taxon id as arguments (not just the taxon id). That way you could search for all my celticecis IDs (or whatever), for example. This would in many cases be better than ident_taxon_id since that would give all observations with celticecis IDs that anyone made. You can find the proposal here: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/add-ident-user-taxon-id-and-unident-user-taxon-id-url-options/14885 Consider voting on it if you think it would be helpful.

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