'Needs ID' pile, and identifications

oddly, I’ve had the opposite experience in the past.
Saw a lot of locusts (insect) ID’d as locust (tree).
But that was a while back, so maybe it changed.

Yep, but sometimes you have to use what you have at hand.
I prefer IDing on a laptop, but I have absolutely done it on my phone too, when I get an itch to ID (and yes, I do find doing it on the phone to be a slightly masochistic exercise :laughing:).


I’ve finally found someone who doesn’t like that people add a coarse ID. Weird interaction as he states that it diminished the opportunity to get a finer ID, not sure if it’s the case.

In other news check this lost frog we found in the beach https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/112266485, barely moved. We had some strong raining in the previous days

1 Like

Yes, that can happen. Was it coarse ID from unknown/state of life? Because coarse id has better chance of id than unknown. I have just started ids, and try to explain that I’m trying to move it from unknowns. So far, the majority of them have been identified fairly quickly.
I have explained to a couple iders who coarsened my id of a butterfly I knew it to be to “Butterflies and Moths” and admitted they didn’t know enough to disagree with it. I explained I was positive of id, just waiting for second. And that it felt defeating to have it bumped backwards.


Begging your pardon, what you’ve expressed is, I believe, a common misconception about how ID certainty works on iNat.

When someone agrees with an identification but at a higher level (e.g. genus, instead of species), it doesn’t lessen the certainty of your species-level ID or dilute your opinion. Adding agreement at higher levels increases the “certainty” of the ID at that higher level… it is actually improving the ID by adding more “votes” for it. At the same time, the only way to improve the certainty of your species level ID is for others to ID it as the same species.

If it helps to explain it, here’s an example from an exchange I had in the past on the same subject:

“Hi XXX,
I don’t think what I’m doing (verifying genus, if not species, in order to “outvote” the suggestion of an incorrect genus) is actually reducing the confidence level in the ID.

It’s my understanding that it takes 3 (or is it more?) users to agree with, for example, Salvia engelmannii if a suggestion of Scutellaria texana remains there unretracted. An additional opinion that it is at least a Salvia (and not a Scutellaria) does serve to “counteract” the Scutellaria suggestion and advances the ID certainty overall.

Whether or not I had intervened in this one by trying to reinforce “Salvia”, it would still have required additional users to agree with the particular species in order to advance the ID from agreement on Lamiaceae to agreement on species.”

You can actually test this to see how it works (as I did).

In sum, another “vote” for Lepidoptera doesn’t “bump back” your species ID. It just adds confidence in “Lepidoptera” which is an improvement. You’ll still need at least one more “vote” for your suggested species (providing no one suggests a different species in the meantime) to get it to RG for that species.

Perhaps one of the iNat super-users can explain this better, if my explanation is faulty or hard to understand.


The tipping point for iNat is ‘more than two thirds’
Which needs more and more supporters if the IDs disagree, from the simplest where 2 agree.

If you are on the website you can click What’s This and iNat spells out for each obs exactly how they count the votes and decide the CID (Community ID).


It was an Unkown and I added a family ID


They shouldn’t have been bothered. You improved the chances of proper id.


I explained my feelings on it. They’re my feelings, whether or not they fit “ how iNat works” makes no difference.
I’m in no competition for anything here. Including whether or not my photos make “Research Grade”. I am sharing with the community. That’s good enough.

1 Like

It depends. Adding a higher level won’t necessarily bump back a finer ID if you choose the green button on the pop-up that follows (“Is the evidence provided enough to confirm this is Genus species?”), i.e., “I don’t know but I am sure it is Genus”. But if you choose the orange option (“No, but it is Genus”), it does add an implicit disagreement all the way back up to your coarser rank, which means they’ll need more votes to overcome your coarse ID’s disagreement.


Yes, right.

I think he’s linking to his own observation as an additional thought. Each paragraph is its own topic.

Oops, you’re right. I’ll delete my post.

Maybe they are unaware of the other species. I know when I was starting to use iNat I thought I could recognise lots of common species, but I had no idea of closely related species. You don’t know what you don’t know. Of course, I was corrected, humbled, and learned a lot. I very rarely ‘agree’ now. I hope I get a lot more right than wrong these days!
Of course, after 100k identifications you’d have thought they’d have learned by now… I don’t know why you’d do it on purpose. It seems so strange, and such a boring way to get your kicks.’


I’ve been having to go through some of my older identifications for this reason… oops! It’s a little embarrassing, but it’s great that we can be corrected and (hopefully!) learn from it. Turns out there’s so many species I had no idea even existed before I started using iNat.


I remember I disagreeded with someone because I was really sure all Bauhinia had split leaves, and then they provided a link to Bauhinia kockiana.


I think both improve the AI, good identification eventually swamps the bad ones. Maybe I say this because I focus on Verbascum, and checking every Verbascum thapsus is not going to happen and would bore me to tears.

1 Like

Computer vision is good for widely distributed species, but not 100%. And for less common species that are not in computer vision, it often suggests the more common species. Even species like clover have some interesting variations at the species level.


I have been operating out of ignorance for a long time with orth American Verbascum as I’ve been working on IDing observations identified as “Life” or misidentified as Stachys byzantina. Would it be helpful to you if we retract our hasty Verbascum thapsus IDs and move them to genus level? Or does it help to have all the thapsus-like Verbascum lumped together for future IDing?

1 Like

I have been working on getting Verbascum at species or genus level to the correct ID. In many areas, there is nothing else it could be, large parts of North America, most of South America, Indian sub continent, Japan, Korea,China. So I think a mass correct would be a mistake. I do look in areas that have other species they could be mistaken for and correct errors. And even in areas that do have other species, V. thapsus is often the most common by far, so many of the guesses get it right.

But I can’t keep up with all the rosettes and dead stalks identified as V. thapsus. I don’t know what can be done with them.

I also do a daily quick scan of all new Verbascum each day.