One account adding the same ID to an observation multiple times

I’ve lately gotten a lot of notifications of the same user adding the same ID to the same observation multiple times. (Around to 10 times was the record)
Sometimes they’re alternating too. (Species level ID, Genus level ID, Species, Genus, Species again…).
(I also had a few instances where a person made multiple stepstone IDs, but IMO, that’s completely fine as it shows that the person is probably putting effort into the identification, so I’m not talking about those cases)

I’ve noticed a significant increase in this happening lately. Does anyone notice this too? What’s up with that?
It’s a bit annoying because it clutters my notifications

Edit: specified that I meant the same user adding multiple different IDs, not different people doing it

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most of the instances seen on my observations, or on observations I’m following, have been due to the latest “Observation Accuracy Experiment” iteration.


But is it also by the same user? It wasn’t clear in my original post, but I meant instances where the same user posts an ID, withdraws that ID, makes a new one (usually of the same taxon) repeatedly. Not different people making the same IDs or lower taxon IDs


eyekosaeder I think (just a hypothesis) that these identifications are by children that just start to ID, maybe some of them that started to some school bioblitz and now explore Inaturalist on their own- hence I would not overhastly call it spamming: Maybe you are observing a learning process first hand! ;) Often having a look at the profiles (name/nickname, description, observations) will make it relatively quickly obvious when the observer/identifyer is a child; In this case I would send them a message/ add a comment under your observation (in a simple language) to thank them for their effort and to offer some advice how to do things differently…


Rather than being very general in your post, which then causes responses to be hypothetical, please be specific. Who is the potential spammer? Please link one if your records with the person’s multiple IDs listed so others do not have to guess at the motive.

Are you aware that iNat allows you to block others? Regrettably, it’s a maximum of three iNatters, but it does help.

Last year, a Texas Master Naturalist began following me because he must have noticed that I upload lots of records and he wanted to increase his identification totals, which number in excess of 200,000. As soon as I would post a record, he would RG it to get the credit for another identification. However, he was just repeating my original identification, which more often than not was the identification suggested by iNat’s machine learning. This identification is often incorrect, so by RGing the incorrect identification, he was messing up my records and iNat’s data in general. He was the first iNatter whom I blocked. Problem solved with a few mouse clicks


Linking to specific IDs in cases like this is against iNat policy. It would amount to calling out the IDer. The policy on iNat is to assume that people mean well and to work from there. It’s a good policy.


True, that might be the case. I hadn’t thought of that. :)
I guess it’s just a bit hard for me to understand the motives of someone repeatedly posting the same ID. (Usually I’ve seen this happen on their own observations after I’ve put an ID there).

I haven’t linked to any specific post, as they usually (and IMO rightfully) are removed, so that no one gets called out. I might “reenact” what I mean on one of my own observations though.

I am, but I don’t think that feature is of much use here. Usually, after that one observation on which they spammed the IDs, I never encounter that user anyway. Plus, it’s not that much of an annoyance that it warrants a block, IMO.

I was mainly just curious for what the reasons might be and whether others noticing an increase in this too. I didn’t intend my post to seem too complain-y…
(I guess it did come across as a bit too annoyed, though, which may have partly to do with me just waking up and not having had breakfast at that point… Haha)


Is this on your observations or their observations? I think it’s very easy for people to go back and forth by just hitting Agree on different existing IDs (especially on the app). They probably don’t exactly understand what this means, but you can ask them for clarification.


Sometimes multiple ID’s are the result of the program being a bit slow – if you click on “Agree”, and it doesn’t seem to respond after a few seconds, you click on it again. As a result, you end up with two (or more?) ID’s, all but the last one being withdrawn.


Yes usually they do it on their own observations

(I like to tidy up my IDs, so I delete those unwanted and unhelpful duplicates) Newbies may not know how, or care to, do that.

Depending on where observers or identifiers are, the East African undersea cable is damaged. We have had either no, or very slow, internet in South Africa. East African countries are battling till it is repaired.


This happens occasionally to me too, I bet this is the explanation for the multiple IDs.

The “spammer” is probably just experiencing poor connectivity and trying to make their IDs go through by clicking multiple times, unintentionally causing it to show as multiple IDs when it does eventually go through.


Rather than ask the Forum, I’d ask the user directly and civilly in a comment. All we can do here is speculate.


Does anyone know if editing an existing ID (i.e. changing the associated comments) generates a new notification? If so, I’m probably guilty of “spamming” people myself.

usually no.

but if it is a very old comment and contained an @ mention the person mentioned will get another notification.


Often it is a user clicking on ever Agree button they see. If they get 5 IDs, they will click Agree on all of them, even if these IDs are not all the same. Unfortunately, the RG status at such observations is often not worth too much as they would really agree with anything.


I always figured they were suffering from indecision, unable to make up their minds. I had not imagined that iNaturalist would be as anxiety-inducing as it seems to be for some people.

This. The times I have seen a user enter multiple IDs in rapid succession it seems to have nothing whatsoever to do with indecision and I think in most cases they are not even aware they have done so. They are viewing IDs they have received and in the process clicking on the agree button, either unintentionally or without understanding what it means.


Using Agree as Like ? If you are new to iNat, it is not that clear that - agreeing to this species makes it RG and the info is shared on to other sites.
But I only wanted to say - thanks for looking at my obs.

Or using Agree as - yes thanks I have seen your ID.

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As a child, I would agree. I am still learning and often will correct my own IDs as I research. Usually I initially look at the ‘compare’ tab on iNat for an ID, only to later not be fully satisfied. Then I usually get out a reference book and am a little more thorough, although sometimes this isn’t until a few hours later as my books are at home and I do most of my IDs at school. I’ve also noticed more kids in general on iNat recently (I’ve only been on here for 6 months so I don’t know if this is a seasonal thing or not) which I think is generally a good thing. Hopefully with a bit of gentle encouragement they will become a more active user outside of class. I’d recommend @ them on the ID with some gentle tips or a DM telling them about some ettiquette, though from personal experience on the receiving end, I would lean towards the latter.