Opting out of community taxon

(Hi, I’m one of those pesky “arrogant bad guys who opt out of Community ID because they think they know best about their local stuff and don’t want to hear any dissenting opinion from real experts about it”. :innocent: )

Please also consider the issue of cultural bias, due to the current composition of the Community (skewed towards Americans and Mainlanders, with local experts not always readily available on iNat). The choice of opting out as a default --while still opting in if the need arises-- can ease the burden of keeping track of one’s carefully-weighed and valid IDs, once they get drowned under a flow of well-meaning but erroneous IDs. It gets tiresome having to try and revert such “hyperdemocratic” misidentifications, by explaining repeatedly about peculiarities of the flora of a tiny Mediterranean island, while referencing books and resources that few have access to anyway. (Right now I’m experimenting with adding screenshots beyond obs photos, but such a hack looks weird). I went as far as deleting my former obs to reupload them as opt-out, as it had become hard to manage and detrimental to what was exported to GBIF (I also experimented with altering the license to keep misID’d observations from entering GBIF, but it’s horrendous.)

If a ‘General Opt-out’ status gets me blacklisted by IDers, or all such obs get demoted to ‘casual’, well… so be it. I’ll still share obs as long as that’s allowed - if only to please the eye with pics of the local biodiversity :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


I think this is a decent reason for opting out, but I would note that including those screenshots shouldn’t be done. All photos included in an observation need to have the organism in them. For one thing, this could lead to inappropriately training the CV model. For another, it might qualify as copyright infringement (and I expect that some photos like that would get flagged as such). You could include links to another image hosting service or something to achieve a similar impact.


Thanks, copyright was my worry indeed. Hadn’t thought about CV! yikes.
edit: rehosted elsewhere, removed the “offending” images.


Corsica - I read a novel that set me hunting on iNat for obs of That

Your informed IDs are similar to @silversea_starsong
Opt out and follow notifications. You will both be IDing to far finer taxa that I will ever reach!


The iNaturalist Staff asked me to delete the “User has opted-out of Community Taxon (Collection)” project. For simplicity, I did it without discussion. This is motivated by a few complaints about this project from people it lists who feel targeted.

As a technical consequence, I suspend my activity for populating the “Unknown / …” projects (see: https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/jeanphilippeb/73398 ). I chose not to add “opted-out” observations to these projects and it can’t be done efficiently without the “opted-out” project. Until a new feature is available for filtering “opted-out” observations. (A technical review of this feature is on-going).


Luckily, during the short time you had it available, I was able to go entirely through the project entries and reindexed all the “taxon change boots obs to Casual” cases to date that I could, plus see where a few DQA flags had gone stale (common case- location flag remains after a location correction) and countervote them to help. It was so great to have because it helped me actually check my work for mistakes. It was so helpful, that I had intended to come back now and then to reindex if there were later taxa issues for swaths of some people’s obs.

Now, it will be up to the people who have opted out to check their own obs occasionally, or frequently depending on how their field is changing taxa. Of course some can’t do that, because they are no longer with us. Others wouldn’t know they had to do so, since they may not read forum threads, comments directed to them, etc.

In such a situation, why do these things keep having to be manually reindexed, anyway? Is there a way that the system could just “jiggle” these obs, like I did on ~1K items the other day?


I am sorry to hear that… Sounds there is not just no intention at all from iNat to taggle the issue, but actually even to enforce it…


I can sort of understand that. But it has the taste of saying these users are entitled to IDers wasting their time on their observation. So pleeease, iNat staff, give us a proper solution that does not make anyone feel targeted.


I frequently identify observations of opted-out users (along with all the others), and I don’t consider it a waste of time at all. It’s all up to one’s personal motivations and expectations for using the site.


Sure, fully agreed with that last sentence. I’m just asking for a way to spend my time in a way that matches my motivation. I’m not claiming to speak for all IDers and apologize if it came across that way. But this discussion has shown that I am not alone with my perspective.


Review by you, or by iNat staff?

How many opted outs were in your project? I am willing to ID Casual, I would rather start from Planted - commonorgarden or exotic. But if you have chosen to opt out - you get your choice - ignored, next.

1 Like

Review by iNat staff.


That sounds promising, thank you!

1 Like

It works both ways: it’s probably best if IDers refrain from offering ill-advised IDs to those opt-out users who actually know their subject better than the “community”. Less time wasted teaching e.g. mainlanders about the subtleties of an insular flora most iNatters are tragically unfamiliar with. :)

(It could be useful to maintain a list of those people who consider misguided “community IDs” not wasteful of others’ time. Wanna play dirty? then let’s play dirty.)

Sure, there are those cases as well. The ones I’m personally seeing though, is where people put in an ID on family level on an observation easily IDable at least to genus and opt out.

What one encounters depends a lot on what one IDs I guess.


Yes, and the ones that puzzle me the most are those at high levels (e.g. Plantae or even just “unknown”) that have been hanging around for years in opt-out neverland with 5-6 ID suggestions where it looks like the observer seems quite active, often with thousands of observations, but apparently never follows up on their opted-out IDs. I don’t get the point of that, particularly the opt-outs on unknowns.


Yes, that’s my experience as well. I just saw another one today - a user with >1,000 observations, active recently, and opted-out across the board, including of observations with only a placeholder (e.g., “Dicots”). People have added various IDs and comments over the years, and they are essentially wasted because of the failure of the observer to participate in the community. I assume they are using the app and it’s difficult to keep up with notifications, but if observers aren’t going to check their notifications they should only opt-out when they’ve identified something to genus or lower. In the current system there is no way to do that - it’s either opt-out globally, or one observation at a time.


Out of interest, is it possible to change the global opt-out setting in the Android app? As far as I can see, it is not possible to do so in the iPhone app.

There was a thread about that: To what extent do you attend to observations after uploading them to iNaturalist? - General - iNaturalist Community Forum

Some people admitted that they don’t go back to their old observations at all.

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.