Opting out of community taxon

If a user opts out of community taxon do they have a higher responsibility for the accuracy of their IDs? On one flag I read that a group of users can change the quality of an incorrect ID to Casual, which makes sense because it can be reversed once the ID is updated. Are there any other resources?

I wouldn’t say they have any higher responsibility, it just won’t reach research grade unless somebody agrees with them. Sometimes that will happen if it’s actually correct but if it’s somebody who is incorrect, it’ll probably sit at Needs ID or Casual.


Another reason it may also sit at “needs ID” is if it’s hard to ID, like this one: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/84068938

Not sure it has a higher responsibility. We simply didn’t trust the IDs we were getting and an expert whom we trust said in comments that it doesn’t look like what it was getting id’d as.

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Had an opted out yesterday who chose to ID theirs as Plantae.
No point in any identifier wasting time on that. Next!


It could make sense to opt out if, after some time, the user puts an ID.

There are observations with many IDs, still needing identification. This is just a trap for identifiers.

Is this feature only there to be pleasant with a few people who like to “control” their observations? But it is not pleasant for many others.

Searching for an example, I find this one: identified 5 years ago and still in the “unknown” limbo:

How much time was spent on this observation during the last 5 years by people reviewing the “unknowns” observations? Is it worth it?

It’s a free personal choice. Mine is to black list observers that opt out.

I am presently selecting “unknown” observations for populating some projects dedicated to some taxa and I don’t want to put such an observation in these projects. Moreover, obviously, observations of people restricting addition of their observations to projects are de facto excluded also from projects that can help identifying.


In terms of higher responsibility, what if they opt-out on all observations, and have many observations ID’d to the species level that are incorrect?


I wasn’t thinking in terms of the infrequent, individual observations. I think it’s totally fair to advocate for a closer look based an a unique situation. I guess my question about responsibility comes when many observations are ID’d to the species level, and other users have dissented with a description of characteristics pointing to an alternative.

Perhaps the example you provided is a good example, in a month should it still be a “Needs ID” wolf, or would it be best practice for the user to acknowledge dissent and reduce the certainty to Canis and that would allow it to go RG?

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I’ve had some opt out that were unknowns or Life. That’s understandable if it’s recent awaiting observer ID. When it is older I wonder if it’s a mistake. But I don’t mention it. My impression of iNat culture is to leave people that don’t want community IDs alone.


I think they might be excluding themselves from the community if that’s the case. Maybe unintentionally but that’s part of the result regardless of intent. Which is a shame.


In the case of that “wolf” observation, one expert had a possible guess (feral dog) but deferred to two people more knowledgeable (via tags), who did not weigh in.

As for acknowledging dissent, one of the “coyote” identifiers was suspended and the other is a newer identifier so that, while they may be correct, the one expert’s comment that it is not a coyote swayed us to opt out.

Your idea to let it go to Canis, which could allow someone to eventually dqa it to “no, it can’t be improved” makes sense to us. We opted back in to just let it play out. Thanks for suggesting that.

The situation of a user repeatedly opting out on observations with documented inaccurate id’s is hard to explain but someone could message the observer to ask about it if they were curious. If you get a response, please let us know the rationale of the user (while continuing to protect their identity, as you have already done) so that we can try to understand their perspective.

Yes, I guess that’s the impression I have gotten as well. Though if they have incorrect ID’s that are visible to the public, the only way to leave them alone would be to vote those observations to casual?

Yes, and just marking them as “can’t be improved” is enough, though do it only if there’s actually nothing more to do - many correct ids were added or id is incorrect.


I suppose that means nothing more the community can do, as the observer certainly has the ability to update the observation?

Yes, but most such users are inactive, if they’re still on the website, tagging them is the first thing to do.


I would be strongly in favor of removing the feature of opting out of the community taxon altogether. I don’t see the point of the feature, other than messing up range maps when the user uses the CV and it picks something obviously wrong.


I wish. But identifiers get tricked into - why is that trapped at something broad, I will add my ID. But, but, WHY have so many trusted identifiers already wasted their time trying to move this **** ID. Now I look first for - opted out? - next.

For the few that have a good reason for this one obs, I probably can’t help. But I might follow to see where it goes.


Someone did explain on an earlier thread.

If the observer is a taxon specialist, and one of the very few who can ID that.
And they don’t want good, or bad, intentions to move the ID the wrong way.
Fair enough.

But allowing an observer to reject ALL the community IDs for ALL their obs? I want a banner up top - Opted Out - and identifiers should be able to set a filter like Captive / Cultivated. Don’t want to see those, thanks. (But I am happy to work thru Cultivated plants, not so much the Captive animals)


Odd that that plant’s observer has “zero” as their observation number and no photo, yet they apparently set their opt-out criteria? Seems odd. The system does not default to that setting, right?

I have never understood the opt-out unless the user is VERY engaged with their notifications and check their ID’s versus the community ID and modify/defend if necessary

This observer had only 1 observation. Apparently it was not counted.

That is a known bug when with 1 obs it’s shown as 0.