One thing I see pretty often when I suggest ID fixes is that the observer responds with a comment thanking me for the info, but doesn’t change their own ID. This is almost never a case of “Thanks for your input but I prefer my ID” and instead it’s usually “That’s great! I’m glad to know what this thing is.”
It seems there are a lot of users who don’t understand the process of revising or withdrawing IDs. This happens often enough that I created a keyboard shortcut so I can prompt people to see if they want to make a change:
Did you want to correct the ID on this observation? If you’re OK with the <correct_identification> ID, you can click “Agree” next to that name above. If you’re unsure, but accept that it may not be <observer’s_identification>, you can click the pull-down next to that ID and choose “Withdraw”.
Pretty frequently, the observer does then come back and adjust their ID in some way. This is fine and I’m definitely not aiming to pressure users to “agree” with an ID that they don’t personally have knowledge of, but I think it indicates confusion among less-experienced users about how iNat operates and I wonder whether the community might come up with some user interface improvements that would make the process more intuitive.
A couple of things that come to mind:
When a user’s observation receives a disagreeing ID, the user sees a Review ID button. Clicking the button outlines the situation with options to address it:
"You and @confirming_user identified this observation as a Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius). @dissenting_user thinks that it is actually a Rock Pigeon (Columba livia). Here are some ways you can address the discrepancy:
- Leave your original ID in place, if you’re confident it’s correct
- Accept the new ID as Rock Pigeon (Columba livia), if you’re confident that the new ID is correct
- Withdraw your original ID if you’re no longer sure about it
- Change your ID to Family Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves), the shared ancestor that includes all current IDs, if you’re unsure about any of the lower-level IDs
The presentation and wording should aim to give users an easy way to make the fixes they want to without implying that they need to change their opinion where there’s genuine disagreement. Maybe a graphical presentation would better convey the options available.
The notification also needs to be visible enough for users to take easy action without being so intrusive as to frustrate more experienced users. A “don’t show me this again” checkbox might be needed.
Highlight observations with dissenting IDs within an updated version of the user’s dashboard. There are lots of other threads here with suggestions for how to improve notifications. As part of that process, it would be good to highlight dissenting IDs and give users an easy way to fix them. Again, a Review ID button could launch the workflow above.
I focused here on observers who receive dissenting IDs, but the same guidance could be available for any user whose identification disagrees with a subsequent ID. That might help with the class project syndrome, where lots of observations get incorrect RG IDs because friends support each other’s identifications.