Observations Being Left at Higher Taxon Level

Please fill out the following sections to the best of your ability, it will help us investigate bugs if we have this information at the outset. Screenshots are especially helpful, so please provide those if you can.

Platform (Android, iOS, Website): Website

Browser: Microsoft Edge

URLs (aka web addresses) of any relevant observations or pages:


Screenshots of what you are seeing:

Description of problem (please provide a set of steps we can use to replicate the issue, and make as many as you need.):

Step 1: I found a snake pit and I wanted to record each individual (the pit itself is all one obs) but because they were so active I didn’t bother adding an id via the mobile app until I got him.

Step 2: I manually added all the ids and it appears all my obs were identified as “Snakes” Suborder Serpentes.

Step 3: I added the id but the community id has not gone done to species like it should. If I was submitting thru the app and I was outside of cell range, I wait until I get home to identify. Sometimes someone identifies but I never had it left as the previous identifier’s id, especially if it was higher level id.

Step 4: This problem appears to be expanding to ALL my obs where a previous identifier identified a high level taxon, despite my precise identification.


Step 5: Stepping back further it seems this particular problem has been occurring for at least 2 months.


Step 6: Same trip and back to the original problem…


1 Like

If I understand what you’re asking, maybe this topic applies: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/leading-subspecies-ids-should-change-the-obs-taxon-like-leading-ids-of-other-ranks/139


Yes, what @sgene linked, 1 subspecies id doesn’t change the community or observation taxon now.


The community ID would be at the higher level regardless whether it was IDed to species or subspecies. The lowest agreement between IDs is used. Once another user IDs it to species or subspecies, the community ID will shift to that level.


Yes, it’s only the observation ID at the top of the page that would have shown the subspecies, not the community ID on the side. Below I posted screenshots of one with your subspecies ID followed by a genus ID and one with a genus ID followed by your subspecies ID. Pinus is the community ID for both, only the observation ID is different (due to the reason posted by paloma).


I think this goes to show how iNat is living by a double standard. Last spring, there was an unintentional change to make all subspecific ids be research graded at subspecies/variety level as long as the identifier placing the species id doesn’t disagree. Something needs to be done to this, either we gave all community id abilities to subspecies or not.

I don’t understand what you mean. Subspecies won’t progress “Display ID” unless it also progresses Community ID, and we still need 2/3+ concensus at genus or lower to reach RG. I think the change was intentional, and it seems to be working the way it was intended, not withstanding the occassional indexing glitch which they are still trying to pin down the cause of. What is the “double standard” you refer to?

[edit: I was wrong on that, Display ID does move seperate to CID, that was the change from last year!]

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As @sgene explained above, the “Display ID”, as you call it, always lower the taxon rank unless it is subspecific. Let’s say someone identifies an obs as “Birds” or Class Aves. I identified it as Red-shafted Flicker (Colaptes auratus cafer) but the display or community id will stay at “Birds”. If I were to instead, identify the species to just Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) then the community id lowers to species level. The reason I’m concerned about high level taxon ids is because this obs usually fall into a rut of not being identified.

And when I meant by double standard, prior to March 2019, just like any other species taxon, a subspecies must get 2-3 identifications at the same taxon level in order to be research graded. After the abovementioned time, any subspecific id can receive RG even if the identifier submits a subspecies level id. Let’s use the flicker example again. The observer submits it as a Red-shafted Flicker but the identifier submits a Northern Flicker id. Since species is a higher taxon level, he’ll receive that little note. Here’s the results of the buttons:

I don’t know but I’m sure this is (taxon) --> Obs will become RG at subspecies level
No, but it is a member of (taxon) --> Obs becomes RG at species level.

Yet if submit a species id and identifier submits a genus level id, saying “I don’t know” will level the obs “Needing ID” at species level. Pretty much what I’m trying to say is, these rules that don’t comply with the entire spectrum of the taxon level is buggy and should be fixed.

Since this is working as designed, I’m going to close this bug report. I see you copied most of the text to that feature request so let’s continue the discussion there.