Overriding "Life"

How many IDs will it take to get this beyond “Life”?

Three people who don’t know what it is have IDed the observation as “Life”. I do know what it is, so have added an ID to genus. I thought that would automatically take the ID for the observation to the genus, but it is still at “Life”.
So how many IDers do I have to find to override the 3 “Life” IDs? Will one more do it, or will it need as many as “Life”?

It looks like there may be at least one ID of Life that disagreed with a previous ID, which is also disagreeing with yours. Is there a withdrawn ID? Can you ask that IDer to reconsider?

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Thank you! Yes, there was another ID there that someone disagreed with but has since been withdrawn. I will try asking the disagreeing IDer to withdraw their “Life”.

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But in case they don’t withdraw, how many IDs would be required?

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I don’t have an answer to how the algorithm works. But please bear with me to help me understand. I see a fair number of observations that are not at the species level and, to me, since only the species and subspecies are rewarded with “Research Grade” rating, if I cannot provide an ID further along the taxon path toward a species, I do not see the value of seconding a non-species ID. Am I correct or wrong?

Getting closer…

I don’t think there is any “correct” or “wrong” in that case. You might add an ID that agrees with the current level if you feel like it, or you might choose to leave it alone if you feel you have nothing to add. Either option is fine!

Also - I don’t think there is any “Expert” rating to be “awarded”.

Thanks - I corrected Expert to Research Grade - that is what I get for trusting my memory any more.

I assume the algorithm works the same at every level of the taxon. So if multiple people agree with an ID at a Order or Family level, for example, does it take multiple Genus or Species to over ride those?


Any observation with a community taxon at a rank below family can be manually marked as RG in the DQA. At/above family, the same DQA votes make it casual. Adding a second ID will provide a community taxon, allowing a DQA vote if applicable/desirable.

That is correct.


I wonder why - 3 people agreed to Life?
The first one was enough.
They can click follow or fave.

2 at genus are fighting one Ancestor Disagreement.

Either you you need 3 vs that one. (More than two thirds needed)
Or you ask hard disagreement to withdraw or reconsider - since Ancestor Disagreement is not the identifier’s choice. It is iNat’s surreptitious working as intended. Not.

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Agreeing IDs at a higher level do not need to be “overridden” because they are not considered to conflict with lower-level IDs.

The community taxon requires at least 2 IDs (more if there are disagreements); what this means is that if there is a higher level ID and a lower level ID and no disagreements – i.e., if the first IDer suggests “animalia” and the second suggests “insects” – the community taxon will reflect the lowest shared taxon of both IDs (animalia). Note that the community taxon and the taxon displayed at the top of the page are not always the same.

Insects will only become the community taxon after a second IDer has agreed to this. Additional IDs of animalia will not move the community ID forward in such a case – but they also do not do any harm and will not negatively affect the community taxon.

However, this changes once there is a disagreement. If there is an ancestor disagreement (in this case, a disagreeing ID of life, which is also considered a disagreement with “animalia” and “insecta”), an additional ID of animalia or insecta will help override the disagreement. Except for the first, disagreeing ID of “life”, the other IDs of “life” have no negative affect on the community taxon because they do not conflict with any other IDs.


It is all good now. The “disagreeing” ID has been withdrawn, and the observation is now identified to genus.

Thanks for all the help and interest.


I have had observations ID’d to a species level which were bumped to a species or family level before by an expert in the field because it is not possible to differentiate between certain species without microscopic exam by someone who knows what to look for. One of my complaints about iNat, and I have heard this from others, is that iNat encourages species IDs of genus and families which are difficult to differentiate. These genus and families, in my opinion, need to come with a gentle warning about IDs to the species level. Maybe this will come in the future.

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