Problems when user opts out of Community Taxon

There are 2 cases I want to talk about:

  1. Misidentifications
    In this observation, you can see the specimen is portrayed as Methona confusa, but it actually is M. curvifascia. I don’t blame the user, as the 2 species are incredibly similar. However, it’s a problem when he/she opts out of Community Taxon, as the ID will remain incorrect as long as they don’t log in and see the correction. I imagine this is one of hundreds of observations where this happens, so I think this problem should be addressed.

  2. New/rare species that can’t be classified as it
    Take this observation:
    As you can see, we came to an agreement that the species in the obs. is Erythrogonia excisa (a new species to the site) but we can’t put it as such because the user has opted out of Community Taxon. This isn’t the case where the user has been inactive for a long time, but I assume there are lots of cases where this happens.

So, what can be done about it? Maybe giving curators the ability to make any observations where the user opts out of C.T. match the ID given by the community? (as you can see in the observation of E. excisa; the community taxon is marked as such but the observation is just “Erythrogonia”)
My apologies if there are any mistakes in the text, I’m not a native english speaker!


They become casual grade once the community taxon disagrees with their ID.


Only if the DQA for “Based on the evidence, can the Community Taxon still be confirmed or improved?” is set to “no”. Otherwise they remain in “Needs ID”. I typically select that DQA option for these types of observations to remove them from the ID queue.


But what can we do if it doesn’t disagree with their ID? For example, the observation is set as genus and the community identifies it as a certain species. Oh, and I also forgot to mention that I used the DQA to put the first observation into casual grade, as it was misidentified.

That shouldn’t be the case, since:

Observations will revert to “casual” if the above conditions aren’t met or…the observer has opted out of the community ID and the community ID taxon is not an ancestor or descendant of the taxon associated with the observer’s ID

The intention of opting out of community ID is to give users control over how their observations are labeled in their profile. The tradeoff is that sometimes they become casual grade automatically (if not ancestor/descendant, e.g. example #1) or manually (example #2).

As far as “what can we do”, I’m not sure I understand what it is you want to do. I know I’d like to be able to find observations that are otherwise “community verified” where the user opted out of community ID, which is one reason why I’ve requested we be able to search observations by observation taxon and by community taxon here:

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Hmmm, that explanation is different from my experience. I’ve never seen an observation revert to casual in these situations unless the DQA option is selected, and I’ve corrected species level IDs on a lot of “opt outs”.

Here are a few examples:

Huh, I must be mistaken! Do the dissenting IDs need to reach >2/3 for that to kick in? I can dig for some examples, but I’m almost certain I have had them stay at “needs ID” when my dissenting ID is the first one added and they observed has opted out.

Right—their ID has to be out of line with the community taxon. If you just add one dissenting ID, the community taxon will be the common ancestor of the two IDs.

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Thanks - that makes total sense. Your original response explained that, I just managed to misread it!

In that case, it’s still a bit of a time saver to select the DQA to prevent two other IDers from having to add a dissenting ID before it gets bumped to “casual” and out of the queue.

But with the downside that the community taxon isn’t given the opportunity to be corrected if it’s kicked out of Needs ID too soon.

There may be a bug associated with this, then. I regularly see observations with MANY dissenting IDs that stay in the Needs ID queue until I go into the DQA. I’ll try to grab a few examples next time I spot one.

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I was pretty sure I had encountered the same, as well, but couldn’t readily find an example.

If the community ID doesn’t explicitly disagree, and just tries to refine it, these observations seem to sometimes remain cluttering up the Needs ID queue. For example:

The full quote from the Data Quality Assessment section is (bolding mine) is:

Observations will revert to “casual” if the above conditions aren’t met or the community agrees

  • the observer has opted out of the community ID and the community ID taxon is not an ancestor or descendant of the taxon associated with the observer’s ID
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