Selecting the green or orange option when disagreeing with an ID

There was a bit of discussion on a crayfish burrow identification recently. On this observation, the observer IDed the burrow as a specific species, then I IDed it to family Cambaridae because I believe there is insufficient evidence that the burrow can be IDed to the species. In my ID, I selected the orange option “No, but it is a member of Cambarid Crayfishes.” This made the community ID “Cambarid Crayfishes.” The original identifier, however, stated that I should really have selected the green option, because it could be the species they identified it as. My view is if the species level ID is not justified, the orange option should be used even if it’s possible it’s that species. I’ve done this jillions of times. What is the recommendation of the correct option to select?

I think it’s fair to do a “hard disagree” in a situation like this, but it’s good practice to explain your reason for doing so and ask if there’s any other evidence that supports the observer’s ID. For instance, with a lizard observation that would otherwise only be IDable to genus, the original observer might be able to add that they saw the color of the dewlap (even if it isn’t in a pic) that would allow an ID to species of the photo.

So you could leave a comment saying that the burrow isn’t distinctive to the species they IDed and explain your reasoning for the disagreement to the level that you IDed it at. I know that there are various opinions on the best way to use the disagree feature, but I think if the observer can’t add any specific evidence that justifies their species ID, then a hard disagree with reasoning is a fair approach.

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this has been discussed in much detail over at and other threads.

i think the best practice is that if you’re going to disagree like this, just explain why so that a discussion can be had, as necessary.

personally, i tend to just leave a comment and id at whatever i think is the appropriate level without an explicit disagreement – especially if the observer is the identifier, and as long as the ID is not something very unusual. the way i look at it, it’ll take at least 2 folks for research grade. so if a second person wants to ID to species, then so be it.

i think the greater good here usually is that the observer gets the benefit of the doubt.

Personally, I get very annoyed with these “hard” disagreements if the person disagreeing cannot follow up with a reason for why they would rule out that species as a possibility. This type of disagreement puts a “it definitely can’t be that” message on the observation and if that isn’t the intended message I think it’s being misused.

There are some difficult cases, in my opinion. Technically, if it’s ID’d as species A and it could be species A although it could also be species B, C, and D, I should pick the green alternative, saying I don’t know if it’s A. However, if I do that the observation will remain ID’d as species A and there are some cases where I think it’s wrong to leave it as species A. In those cases, I’ll choose the orange button, the “hard disagree” to force the ID up the classification chain.

Actually, I use the green “soft disagree” button relatively little, except for classes I’m teaching. Mostly if I don’t know if it’s wrong or not, I leave the observation alone.

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