Opting out of community ID vs literally anything else

Two things. I would prefer to see Opted out of Community ID bolded at the top of an obs. I have seen so many obs where a string of competent identifiers have wasted time battling to move that ID to the one ‘we are all agreeing on’. Now my autopilot sees ‘opted out? - next!’ (Would be nice if iNat gave That obs an automagical solution button - heads up - opted out - you are wasting your time and effort)

Your field of yellow that you know is dandelions. We, can only see a field of yellow. I would mark as reviewed and move on. You and I know, that I, can’t know if it is or isn’t. For that obs you choose a solution that works for you - opt out.


It only shows in cases where your own Id is in conflict with the community ID. You’d have to find an observation like that to see it.


Thanks. I discovered that shortly after posting :)

Typically, I ID at species, and they ID kingdom.

I did this for them all at the start, but then it became evident that the only person even touching the observations was the one person, who only ever answered me once about any of it, and basically said “tough luck”. I stopped putting things in the description after I realized it was being ignored anyways.

I understand this fully, and it’s part of what makes iNaturalist what it is. I can’t think of a specific example where this happened, but I have had many experiences where if somebody adds a conflicting ID and I say such and such about knowing what it was or something about the focus being different than what they IDed, majority of the time, people answer and remove it, or go to another observation that had the other focus, and ID that one. Or, another real common thing, I am just wrong. And in those instances, I always assume another person knows more than I do, and I typically agree with them if it looks right to me. The difference with those situations are that I think they contribute positively still. In this situation I brought up initially, I had about 2k observations go from bird’s-foot trefoil to just “plants”. That bothers me because I don’t think they mean anything at that point. Nobody touches them ever again once they go to kingdom level. I know SOME people would, but these specific ones never have been reviewed or identified by anybody other than that one person who put it down to kingdom.

One thing though, after turning on opt-out, then turning it off, it seems that my observations all (with only my ID, and one other persons) went back to what I initially identified them as. I think it might’ve been a bug, because all of the observations I was referring to were just my ID, and then one other persons, which I didn’t think was enough to change what it’s displayed as. Maybe I’m wrong and I just screwed all my stuff up, but I don’t know.

As have I. It seems like it causes quite the rift between people, and in my opinion, sorta seems like the user with it on doesn’t want input, which isn’t what I wanted at all, so that’s why I wasn’t comfortable with where I was at, with it on, but that still left a problem for me.

And I like this, lots. The only reason this particular thing really bothered me so much, was that I conversed with this person about how I don’t expect them to say “I can tell exactly what it was”, and that I am fine with that. After switching to opt-out then back to opt-in, all those observations that only had one other ID other than my own, went back to what I initially put them as. Maybe it was a bug or maybe I just screwed all my stuff up, but I didn’t think that one suggested ID was meant to change it to whatever that ID is, and that’s what was bothering me. I had thousands of just “plants”, “flowering plants”, “life”. I usually reserve those for when there’s not a single identification on somebody else’s observation, or if I genuinely have 0 idea, and in these cases, I knew fully what it was and just wanted it to stay at that.

That being said, I didn’t know there was a much easier way to do such a thing, that wouldn’t impede other observations. I still think maybe I was suffering from a bit of an error, with how they all switched displays after just one opposing ID, but maybe I am wrong. Either way, I feel much more aware and confident in handling my side of things, because while I understand how people use things differently than I, and I respect that entirely, I want to be able to use iNat in the way that I would like too, as well.

Thank you for taking the time to comment. Knowing that I can opt out on an individual-basis is very enlightening and helpful - it was literally exactly the kind of solution I was looking for.


Checking some, I understand why people can be confused, I see you added circles to some observations and imo it’d be easier if you added more of them, if someone adds a disagreeing id - please add a crop of pic and some description where to look at and maybe tag an expert to help you, and imo adding them from the start as first pic with original as second, gonna help with this situation.
(p.s. please don’t forget that 99% of big trees near roads in urban setting are planted and should be marked so)

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I saw that, thanks!

Me too, though usually people aren’t. And when they are, there’s not usually a problem because I get it, and usually they get my side, too.

I used to do it more, but actually got complaints from I think 3 specific people, repeatedly. So I stopped, but started it up again recently because I thought it was more helpful than harmful. I am glad to have some backup in that thought, now!

I do this sometimes.

I do this sometimes, too.

I like doing this, as well. I have a few people who I go to very frequently.

I also like doing this. I don’t really know, in my brain, what makes me deem which method necessary, or unnecessary, but all of them are things I employ rather frequently, but not 100% of the time.

This is something I do have a hard time remembering. Many times the picture is just the plant, so I don’t see the background and forget where it was taken/what was by it. I try my best with that though, and other captive things. I try to not take pictures at all of captive trees really, but when I go through my pictures, I always find some anyhow.

Thank you for taking the time to help with this.

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I like checking maps in such cases, patterns of planting are much more visible from satellite than from the ground.

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Yes! A lot of the NY maps are pretty old, it seems. Many I’ve seen at least. Many in UT are old, too. I don’t really know how that all works, like how they decide what age the map is that goes up, or how they have different years for different parts of a map in its entirety, but I think I’ve had bad luck with that. My house didn’t show up on Google Earth or the iNat maps for years after it was built. I still can’t go onto Google Earth and see the front of my house, even though it’s been built since 2017 now.


Do you use regular Google Earth or Pro one? It can help to see what it was like before.

Oooh, I didn’t know about this “pro” one. I use the normal Google Earth. Or just the iNaturalist provided ones. The reference to my house was about just normal Google Earth though.

I’d recommend asking yourself, is the other identifier’s behavior misleading or incorrect in some way? If no, no problem. If you think yes, maybe email the iNat help address. In general, I’d try to keep community ID on although it’s only optional, especially since you seem to typically prefer it, vs. turn it off over ID disagreements with one person.

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I just feel that identifying it to such a low level makes it essentially meaningless, which makes me feel like it was pointless to even upload it in the first place, when it could have potentially been useful. Or at least just accurate to what I was trying to document.

Either way, I think there was a bug happening, because it doesn’t seem that the display ID was meant to change based on just one other ID.

I like the ability to say “this specific observation I want to opt out”, rather than “I always want to opt out”, because I don’t want that at all.

It’s not a huge problem in my eyes, which is why I haven’t done anything about it for upwards of a year, but I figured there had to be some solution somewhere, one that I just hadn’t been able to find myself. It was a mild inconvenience at best, but I know iNaturalist has many more features and capabilities than I know of. I was right, in thinking that there was an easier way to handle it, so I am glad I asked. I think the opt out option is handy for certain situations, mine might be one where it would be useful to be employed, but it still wasn’t what I wanted to land on. I don’t really know why the option exists, as in, what prompted its creation, but I don’t really ever want to feel like I HAVE to use it, which I didn’t, but I thought I’d see if it was the right direction. Ultimately I did not feel that it was, but anyway, I’m rambling.

I just wanted a simpler way to keep the initial ID for some specific observations, while being able to have all the other ones function exactly how iNat intended them to function. And I found a way to do that, and also consequently ended up fixing a bug that was happening too, so I am super appreciative of the comments on here.


For my part, I wish if someone could not add a more concrete ID to an OB, they’d just pass it up and let someone with the right expertise take it on at a later date. The chances of someone else seeing the OB go down when it’s knocked back so in-definitively.

This happens to my obs from a person, too - saying they disagree and knocking back to plants or arthropods or state of matter life, rather than providing a more correct ID. It is a little annoying. In this case, I believe the person ~truly means well~ and intends to be helpful. They leave a comment saying what it is not and what it might be (without IDing as such). They’ve been mistaken, on occasion, too.


Do they disagree with your ID or just add a coarser ID that sets the Community Taxon ID?

I do this fairly often and tbh I think it’s the right thing to do. (To be clear: I do it when I (think I) know it’s wrong, not when I wonder how this could have been IDed to the current level. Those I tend to leave alone.) Leaving it alone is not a good option in my opinion. Too often - especially with school projects I suspect - a friend comes along and agrees out of pure friendliness. The observation goes to research grade and may never again be checked by anyone. Of course the observer would love to know what it is and not just what it isn’t, but when I don’t know I don’t know, nothing I can do there.


This is exactly how I see it. It turns what could be perfectly decent data into basically nothing.

This is the situation I am talking about, too. I understand that it is seen as a form of review, but I feel that it primarily just enables nobody else to ever see it, because I’ve never encountered anybody else who is willing to give an ID or comment after it gets knocked down to such a vague display.

The person I am referring to does not do this. They simply put “plant” or “life” and then do not speak at all. If I was given somewhat of an explanation, or a response, I would be a bit more lenient about what I tolerate about it. That sounds sort of aggressive, but they once answered me, and now it’s complete silence, so I suspect they just don’t take me very seriously, or my observations. Maybe that’s a bold assumption to make, but I’m making it after almost a year of being actively ignored, and then seeing them answer everybody else.

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Coarser. So I see the point of where it’s not necessarily disagreeing outright.

My problem with it though is that it’s overly coarse, for majority of them. Coarse to the extent where I think they would be entirely identifiable to others, but they never get there. Sometimes they do just put “life” though, which isn’t exactly disagreeing, but it’s not contributing to anything, especially when the image quite clearly depicts a flower, in the cases I am referring to.

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This sort of behavior can happen when someone is gunning for leader board status doing many of thousands of IDs. While technically they are not doing anything against the TOS they are not always being helpful either.

Edit: Just had this happen on an obs I added a random ID to. The pattern is evident when you look at someone’s ID page. Just know that you’re not this person’s only “target” and they aren’t the only one doing it. :roll_eyes:


Sure, may be cases where it is okay to do this. Like, someone picked the wrong, but similar name, from a CV drop down list and ID’d an insect as a mammal. Yet, to me it seems a bit arrogant to step in and down grade an OB you cannot identify by your own knowledge and skills. My $.02

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