I’ve recently seen a case where an observer posted an observation with a species-level ID, but an identifier suggested an alternative ID that completely superceded the original. The original ID is not even shown (here is the observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/53186850). This seems like a bug, but I’m unsure - hence posting under General. I would have thought that the original ID and the dissenting second ID would have combined to settle on a consensus taxonomic level, but the second has apparently completely superceded the first. Can someone please explain what’s going on here? Thanks in advance.
There is a way that people can actually delete their IDs. If you click on the downward carrot next to our ID, then click edit. That takes you to a new page that lets you delete your ID. Some people do it so it looks like they were never wrong.
I mostly do it in cases where I misclicked and definitely didn’t intend the ID (say choosing a bird ID accidentally in the dropdown menu when trying to add a bug ID).
Thanks for the reply, although I don’t think that applies here. For context, the original observer is my summer research student and the post came at the end of a solid week of fieldwork collecting these insects. Suffice to say that the student is very confident in their ID, as am I.
I think it is at the consensus taxonomic level, looking at the taxon pages.
It definitely is now, but only because I’ve entered an ID since. The student’s original ID isn’t there. Interestingly, I’ve looked through a few of the dissenting IDer’s other identifications, and in every one they seem to be the first ID, and they seem to be interested in posts of participants with relatively few observations. They also have no observations of their own, but several hundred IDs to their credit. I don’t use this app enough to know whether this is unusual. Still very puzzled.
I’d guess that user is identifying unknown observations, where the poster didn’t add an ID when they uploaded their observation(s). Are you sure this particular observation had an ID to begin with?
It’s possible that the student entered their id in a glitched way, such as by a mistyping, and the typed label became a “placeholder” on what turns into an “Unknown” record. That can happen occasionally (it does to me in the Android app sometimes, and the student was using that too), and the subsequent id’er of Unknowns may have missed seeing the placeholder to potentially match it.
So not a regular glitch in that case, just a possible typo.
Thanks thomaseverest and lotteryd, I checked with the student and they did have some connection issues at the time of uploading. Your explanation seems likely. We may delete the record and repost it to correct the error. I have done some acoustic analysis of the recording and will pass a spectrogram and spectrum along to the student to post as images along with the audio. These should remove any doubt. Thanks for all the suggestions.
Why would reposting be necessary? The observer can still put their ID on the existing observation and add additional pictures if desired.
My research program is partly focused on filling in the distribution of this little known group of insects. As such, having this record - particularly as an audio recording - actually show up as C. monstrosa is important for showing the naturalist community where they might see (or hear) these insects. How many people would have to agree with our ID before it would prevail? I guess I’m not that patient and I don’t feel we should settle for the current situation just because of an initial error, be it technical or human. Does this make sense?
Oh, I think you want to opt out of the community taxon. Then the ID will show up as whatever the observer says it is, regardless of what other people suggest.
I didn’t even know that that was possible. Huh, learn something new every day. Thanks arboretum_amy!
Given the community aspect of iNat, opting out is rather frowned upon, but I can see why you would want it in this case. It can only be done on one’s own observations, so janinevanderlinden will have to do it. The button is hard to find.
Actually, reading the help page about it, you may be right that you’ll need to delete and recreate the observation, even with the reject feature. It has some additional consideration about the taxonomy:
“If it is your observation, your ID differs from the community’s assessment, and you prefer that your ID take priority, it is possible to reject the community ID by clicking the “Reject?” link above the community ID. You can also opt-out of community IDs entirely in your account settings. However, note that observations will become Casual grade if the observer has opted out of the community ID and the community ID taxon is not an ancestor or descendant of the taxon associated with the observer’s ID.”
Ok, thanks for the suggestions.
Yes, I see this “Placeholder” thing happen frequently and even had a friend that would get almost livid because “someone” “erased her ID”. I think I finally explained the situation to her so that she could watch for such self-inflicted mis-identifications.
I have wished for a way to have the Placeholder info saved into the observation in some way so it is not forever lost. Sometimes it is the only clue as to the intended focus of the observation. However, with the current uproar about the Agree Button, now is perhaps not the time to introduce the subject.
It has been brought up before. To no effect, unfortunately. Perhaps it’s time to bring it up again.
And just to confirm (as if that’s needed) that the particular observation that started this topic started out with a placeholder:
Mind blown- with just appending .json to the obs url, this info is directly accessible?! From prior chat here by techies I mistakenly gathered you needed to do some “api call” with some external program. This is great- it will now be easy for me to find out quickly if I accidentally overwrote a placeholder (like happened here). Thanks a ton for the lesson!
Thanks very much for the confirmation. Very interesting.