Needs ID but has opted out of Community Taxon

This obs is trapped in Needs ID limbo.

3 of us tried, but it will never achieve an ID.

(Sorry can’t find the other thread - but someone suggested Opt out should be downgraded to Casual, so we don’t try to ID)

I voted ‘no’ to ‘can the community ID be improved’ which made it casual. I’m not sure this is the best use of that feature. If the opting-out user’s ID is ‘maverick’ (ie a sibling) to the CID the obs is automatically casual. Maybe we should extend that behavior to this case when the user’s ID is an ancestor of the CID


I am trying to understand - why someone would opt out of Community ID.
I can understand if you are the world expert on brizzlesquits and no one but you can ID your obs.
But all the obs from this user, are defeating well meant efforts to ID.

The second one I looked at is clearly wrong - and will stay wrong.
and is included in the Flora of Africa project @tonyrebelo

Third one is trapped as a brittle star!

As for reasons why somebody may opt out – it’s because it’s ultimately the observer’s observation, and they have final say. I can imagine reasons for opting out but that doesn’t matter. If the observer wants to identify a house sparrow as a green alga, that is their prerogative, and ultimately OK. What is not OK in my opinion is to solicit community input for this by tagging it ‘needs-id’.


The observer has the ability to do whatever they want with their photograph, but perhaps submitting it to a website like iNaturalist should preclude them from identifying their “house sparrow as a green alga”. I would argue that if they are uninterested in community assisted identifications, then this is not the right place to be sharing their observation. There are plenty of places on the internet where misidentifications are allowed to proliferate, but this shouldn’t be one of them. As a researcher, I rely on there being some amount of accuracy in the data I glean from here.


Have you asked them about their decision? iNat is a community so I would recommend communicating with the user, although it looks like they haven’t been on the site since May. It’s possible they don’t know the ramifications of their decision.

That happens automatically, it’s not something the user has control over, unless you count DQA votes or not including a date, location, or media.


Why not? If it needs its id fixed that seems a reasonable thing to do (asking others for help I mean). If that’s what you mean.

The main flaw with rejecting community ID is when users leave the site. Maybe if they don’t log on for a year or something it should revert.

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Correct. I am arguing that it shouldn’t be set up this way. As somebody who ID’s other peoples’ observations, I would like to avoid interacting with observations where the observer has requested that the community stay out. And as it currently is, I have no way to filter those observations out. Hence the repeated suggestion that opted-out observation should receive casual, or no-evidence, or any status other than needs-ID. If the observer does want input, they can @tag individual users - or, opt in again.

That is well and good. On the other hand this is such a rare event that it does not require a draconian rule. The overwhelming majority of people do want community input. Even those who opt-out generally are interested in a correct ID (just their own effort, w/o the community). The exceedingly rare case of somebody opting-out a frivolous ID can be tolerated if, as suggested, all opt-out observations automatically receive e.g., no-evidence status (which in the current setup makes them casual).

Whether the ID “needs fixed” is., and should be, up to the observer. They can contact specific people for input, or, opt-in again.

This also would be no problem if opted-out observations were to automatically be treated as observations w/o supporting evidence. They continue to exist, and other folks can use them at their discretion.


It might be possible to create a filter in the ID functionality to exclude observations that opt out of community ID so you don’t have to spend time with them. I personally don’t mind them as long as it’s an active and responsive user.

I am opting out of community taxon because I want control over my observations, and I face a lot of IDs that are not useful (random users with no expertise suggesting species names, or spam users, or even people trying to downgrading my obs to “Plants” because the photos I post don’t justify the ID to them personally. All three are quite common.). In the first case, if I’m choosing to ignore community ID, there is usually a good reason. Feel free to ask why!

At the end of the day iNat is based around individual input and profiles – that is why we are able to post “evidence-less” observations if we so desire, to mark records personally, or otherwise. iNat is an open community with data submission included, so this freedom, good or bad, is just part of the system.


This might be one motivation for opting out of community ID, but as @silversea_starsong notes, not the only one. Some folks want community input, but still want to be the final judge of what the community thinks. If they care about attaining Research Grade to contribute to GBIF, etc., such users have extra motivation to actively evaluate the community input, and either agree with it, or try to convince the community that the user’s ID is correct.

If it were me personally, I might reverse the workflow, and only opt out after the fact for specific observations where I thought the community was on the wrong track, and couldn’t convince them otherwise. But for especially prolific observers, I could see where opting out as the initial default would be more efficient.

All this said, I do agree that it would be handy to have a filter or URL option to exclude opted-out observations from search results, but as a separate criterion from “needs ID” or “Casual” status.


Well, as that checkbox text is written it looks like the perfect use of that feature. If the community has sent an id all the way to species, it really can’t be improved. Checking that box lets the obs go into a “holding bay” where random identifiers will no longer wonder why it is “still glitched.” As soon as the observer decides to match (if they do) the status will just pop right up to RG.

If I’ve misunderstood the function of the feature in this regard though, let me know!


I haven’t asked arabokkie why not.
Is there a response from iNat reminding people of the implications if they choose to reject Community ID?

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We still have literally thousands of obs needing ID from the City Challenge.

It seems such a waste to use skilled expertise on a Go Away obs.
Instead of Needs ID, that tag should be greyed out, or replaced with NO CID.

@charlie This ^^ is Why not?

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sorry, i am not sure what you are asking here. What is a Go away obs?

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The ones that don’t want community to interfere with their ID.

Agree entirely. Or at lease allow identifiers to filter out “Go away” observations, e.g. by automatically setting them as “no evidence.”


well, i think what silversea is saying is valid, and thus i am more concerned with inactive users. I don’t feel strongly about it


That is a whole different attitude - not a Go Away at all.

Are you sure it can’t be fixed by having the original observer withdraw his ID or Agree with the other folks’ ID.