Search for overridden observatiions possible?

I’ve been hit by a troll who is knocking my observations of a particular species up to genus level thereby making them invisible to general search. Is there a way to search for observations that only appear as the genus because of this? There’s no reason why I should be the only one affected, but I’d like to find out.

  1. I don’t understand what you mean here about hiding them from general search.

  2. If they are doing out of malice, and not because they feel there is a reason to ID to explicitly disagree and move it to genus (have you left a comment or PMed them to ask why?) then you should contact

  3. Yes, you can search on genus just as you can on species.


Replace with relevant user and taxon IDs:{user ID}&taxon_id={taxon ID}


Are you sure they are a troll and not just someone knocking back observations to genus level when they lack evidence to be confirmed to species and cannot rule out other species? Also, have you tried asking any of the people why they might have pushed back on an ID?

From what I can see, most of your observations stuck at genus level or higher are taxa that are hard to confirm from a single photo and are missing key details (like dissection for Xanthotype, or close up shots from certain angles for some Diptera).


I mean that when you search for species they won’t show up because they’ve been knocked down to genus. Searching on the genus would give an impossibly large number of hits.

The user doesn’t reply, at all. His entries specifically disagree with the species, not just saying I’m not sure. And, they’re made within hours of the observations being posted.

I’ll try that.

Add “&rank=genus” to a search URL to get observations at genus level only.

This search shows all of your observations IDed to genus:

You might also try searching that user’s recent identifications if you think they’re doing the same thing to others intentionally.


I went through the observations at the genus level that weren’t research-grade) and didn’t see anything that looked like a pattern from a single user. Could you give an example? Not to be harsh (tone is so hard online!), but I did see a trend of identifications from you that seemed to be at the species or genus level without too much justification in groups that typically are challenging to identify without dissection or microscope images.

This is probably another excuse to plug the ‘id cannot be improved’ feature for taxa that can’t be ided to species from just images


Is that to comments or PMs? Sometimes it’s easier to respond to PMs, especially if they do a lot of IDs.

They wouldn’t be sending your observations to genus if they weren’t explicit disagreements. :)
I think @malisaspring was asking if you were sure they were trolling vs they legit believe the observation cannot be identified to species.

Maybe he has subscribed to the taxon (because it is one that is hard to ID by photos alone, or because he likes that taxon)? I am subscribed to a few taxa and I get notifications on my home page feed, meaning I can respond quickly when a new one is posted.


John, people have different philosophies about whether an identifier should reject an ID that is plausible but not verifiable from the photos (and/or other data, such as recordings) provided.

When I identify, I normally leave reasonable but unproven IDs alone unless an unsupported ID either (1) has reached Research Grade or (2) would be a notable record if true.

But my skipping those plausible IDs leaves open the possibility that someone will come along and “agree” without good reason, producing RG data.

So it should not surprise you that many people do not share my philosophy.

The person you believe is targeting you probably does IDs only in your area and is knowledgeable about taxa that interest you. As for disagreeing “within hours,” the “needs ID” feature of iNat puts the newest observations first by default.

So there is no malice toward you. Just a conviction that an unsupported ID is a wrong ID and should be corrected.


I would take much more care to accuse someone of being a troll when they appear to be using the platform as intended.

It is polite to provide clarification when adding an explicit disagreement that bumps the taxon up to the next higher rank, but again, I’d not consider it trolling when someone doesn’t. A pattern of behaviour after repeated instances and no reply to comments left by others might be a good start, but even then, there are many more users that don’t yet know how to use the platform properly and follow etiquette than there are trolls, IMO.


Have a look at that person’s own obs, and their IDs. If it is someone knowledgeable, then their intention is to prevent this obs showing up if someone searches for That species.


Hey, that’s my intention too, and I have no idea what I’m looking at most of the time. Trustworthy distribution maps are incredibly useful, and I have knocked back a lot of species ID to higher level taxa for the express purpose of keeping the maps useful.

Coincidentally on the list of your genus-level observations, @johnsankey, I can find exactly one that was reset to genus w/o comment by the identifier – and a competent identifier at that. Hardly trolling.


That’s because I deleted the observation that gave rise to this thread. That user had no observations at all.

Thanks for clarifying. Hope you got something out of the conversation.

(Aside, borisb has no observations last I looked and is one of the most competent identifiers. Just as an example to consider.)


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