State of matter Life clean up

Below are links to observations in need of identifying that are listed as State of matter Life. These observations are listed as such because taxon conflicts have moved them to the root of the tree. If you have some time and an interest in particular branches of the tree of life and wish to help move observations to a more identifiable level, please do.

The links below have at least one suggested ID of the listed taxon. The identification may or may not result in elevating the chosen taxon as the chosen taxon may be the suggested ID that is anchoring the observation at the root of the tree.

Included are the numbers of observations involving that taxon as of May 23, 2019

Fungi and Lichens (2,598)

Slime Moulds (405)

Cyanobacteria (235)

Green Algae (559)

Red Algae (745 (Dec 12, 2019))

Brown Algae (692)

Sac Fungi (955)

Animal (3,726)

Plant (5,351)

To limit the place, add &place_id=#### to the end of the string, for example:

New user
Plus if you would like to look for observations in the desired taxon that may be submitted by new users of 1wk or less add &user_after=1w to the end of the string, for example:

Homonyms happen
To check for more occurrences of a particular homonym resulting in possible State of matter Life, apply the taxon ids to the following ident_taxon_id_exclusive=xxx, for example with Oligochaeta homonyms (if enough correct IDs were applied some or all of these observations may no longer be State of matter Life):,333586&place_id=any

To check the numbers:
Remove/identify from the above links so that it states /observations? instead of /observations/identify? For example using the above link:

I’ll try to edit content including links and numbers as things change over time.

Conflicting Taxon Taxon ID # May 23, 2019 Dec 12, 2019 Apr 08, 2020 Jun 28, 2020 Dec 08, 2020 Mar 10, 2021 Apr 10, 2022
Fungi and Lichens 47170 2,598 1,179 1,302 2,074 4,035 4,215 6,444
Slime Moulds 47684 405 234 238 540 1,165 1,117 1,373
Cyanobacteria 67334 235 243 333 370 455 449 646
Green Algae 50863 559 556 588 647 796 779 974
Red Algae 57774 ? 745 655 715 794 667 721
Brown Algae 48220 692 756 690 805 932 795 914
Sac Fungi 48250 955 756 462 668 1,551 1,676 2,280
Animal 1 3,726 1,528 1,595 2,159 3,292 3,496 6,836
Plant 47126 5,351 2,482 2,551 3,374 4,836 4,826 7,394
All State of Matter Life 48460 22,265 37,186

Your numbers could be different because your search may be limited to the Search place that you may have set in your Account Settings


Great post, I’ll use these links when I have spare ID time. :) Thanks!

1 Like

I had a look at a couple of these, and it seems they are from observations including multiple species, across plants & animals usually. Unfortunately the only way to fix this is to have the user re-upload them as individual observations.

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I’ve gone through and done a pile of the Fungi/Mold/Plant ones, most of them that I’ve looked at are where people have added IDs for something other than the observer indicated was the subject or there is confusion about whether it is a moss/lichen/liverwort sort of thing. I’d say 50% I could improve by helping get them back to a kingdom taxon so someone else might refine them. A few have completely different species in multiple photos, but they were the minority.


If you see these, you can 1) request the user split the observation up, 2) ID as life, then 3) mark “Based on the evidence, can the Community ID still be confirmed or improved? No, it’s as good as it can be”. See also this affiliated feature request:


I’ll add to round this out: For these multispecies records to be filed away in Casual (for now), it will take another person to come along and Agree with the id. To get that done, Life is probably the best choice as an ID, even if it’s just 2 different plant photos. That’s because people are monitoring the Life section (see this thread, woo!) for this type of record, but typically not monitoring the Plantae section in this way.

The deserves-higher-taxon mutlispecies items can always be relabelled properly later. To find them again in some future better categorizing environment, I am commenting either “variable species per photo” or “multispeciesfile” (yes weird, but a single-word term unique enough to be searchable later).


I’ve been reluctant to do step 3 unless someone else (or I) have previously given the observer a chance to fix, because I don’t think there is any way to know when the observer has fixed it (no notification). So do you think it’s best to get it into “casual” status on the first comment about it? I think that’s what you mean, just want to be sure.


I posted this about 24hrs ago and there have been changes in numbers so thanks to those who have had time to look over some of these. I recognize that change would occur with or without the post but I would think that another day would see growth rather than things decreasing but that is just a gut feeling. I also realize that there needs to be a 2/3 agreement which means there is a little bit of pull needed to sway something out of State of matter Life when there are conflicting taxons. I also realize that the below taxons are mostly in conflict with each other.

Regardless, these are (May 24) today’s numbers following yesterday’s:

  • Fungi and Lichens (2,598) (2,253)
  • Slime Moulds (405) (327)
  • Cyanobacteria (235) (227)
  • Green Algae (559) (538)
  • Brown Algae (692) (686)
  • Sac Fungi (955) (814)
  • Animal (3,726) (3,254)
  • Plant (5,351) (4,758)

Current State of matter Life (10,614)

Thanks all!


It would be nice if the person disagreeing with the subject of the original id put a comment rather than adding an id to something else visible in the frame.

Blurry snake in the grass (frankly not visible without the observer telling you that there was a snake there and maybe not even then) is better as unverifiable observation of snake, rather than the snake expert adding a grasses identification which really is just as unverifiable.

I feel it would be better to encourage the observer to add to the description to better explain their encounter. It was significant enough for them to upload, they probably have a story to tell.

That observation may never count as a research level observation. What it can do is add to the knowledge of the observer community, which could lead to better documented future observations.

Boiled down my wishes are…
-identifiers comment rather than id when they cannot see the organism proposed by the observer

-observers add descriptions of encounters and details not captured by the image when the image does not tell the whole story

Thanks for listening :)


For more recent ones it’s probably best to wait some intervening period after giving advice- observer could still be actively on a learning curve here. But the ones I’ve been just going right through the steps at once at this point are 2-3+ years old, likely safe to file away for now.


Oh, thank you so much for that. I’ve been on this topic for some time now. When I change an ID, I always supply an explanation or a reference, even if it’s just a link to look at (
I’ve had many identifications changed with no reasoning. It’s up to the ‘changer’ to supply their reasoning. If there are no reasons given, why should I trust the person’s judgement?
I know many of us are very busy, but courtesy counts. At least supply some sort of reason for the disagreement.


Went away for some off-grid back country canoeing for about a week or so and came back to find there seems to be a significant change here.
Original numbers with first post compared to today:
Fungi and Lichens (2,598) (1,409)
Slime Moulds (405) (287)
Cyanobacteria (235) (217)
Green Algae (559) (516)
Brown Algae (692) (669)
Sac Fungi (955) (458)
Animal (3,726) (2,040)
Plant (5,351) (2,954)



Just back again from some off-grid naturalisting - definitely won’t get that Aficionado or Devotee badge
Still seeing a lot of work being done on State of matter Life. Also realizing that people are working on unknowns which can increase State of matter Life.

Original numbers with first post compared to today:
Fungi and Lichens (2,598) (1,202)
Slime Moulds (405) (238)
Cyanobacteria (235) (220)
Green Algae (559) (517)
Brown Algae (692) (686)
Sac Fungi (955) (386)
Animal (3,726) (1,603)
Plant (5,351) (2,555)

I’m so impressed!
Looks like we need some help from some Algae (in the polyphyletic sense) experts.


It has been about a month since I’ve looked at these numbers. Looks like the inertia of the initial enthusiasm has dwindled somewhat but it is summer in the north and lots of observations to make and upload and id. I know I’ve been out and about without the resources to spend time on these - pretty sure this is true of others.

Original numbers with first post compared to today:
Fungi and Lichens (2,598) (1,120)
Slime Moulds (405) (219)
Cyanobacteria (235) (223)
Green Algae (559) (522)
Brown Algae (692) (726)
Sac Fungi (955) (371)
Animal (3,726) (1,457)
Plant (5,351) (2,428)

Still by far better than it was.


Nice to see this topic has been reopened and has been modified to looking for a solution :grinning: -thanks!. I had been away at the time I could have made another entry.
@lotteryd has opened a topic related to this today: Amount of “Unknown” records is decreasing

As of today at around 3pm PST, original numbers with first post May 23rd (203 days) compared to today followed by percent change:
Fungi and Lichens (2,598) (1,179) 45%
Slime Moulds (405) (234) 58%
Cyanobacteria (235) (243) 103%
Green Algae (559) (556) 99%
Red Algae (?) (745)
Brown Algae (692) (756) 109%
Sac Fungi (955) (756) 79%
Animal (3,726) (1,528) 41%
Plant (5,351) (2,482) 46%

This remains fantastic. Some numbers remain relatively the same and some slightly higher but the dynamic of observations being continually added plus how intertwined and confusing some of the bluegreen, green, and brown algae can get.

I have also now added Red Algae link to my original post as I had not originally included and feel at 745 needs to be added.

Darn, just realized my original post cannot be edited (powers that be help?) . Link to
Red Algae (745 (dec 12, 2019))


I made the first post in this topic a wiki, so it should now be editable indefinitely.


Added now in the original post. Thanks for the rapid change.

Question about such a case:

Do you agree that I flag the DQA “Evidence for an organism”, and advise other people to do so?
It is in the “State of matter Life” pool because some identifiers put this ID.

Isn’t it inconsistent to have the ability to put “State of matter Life” as an ID, and besides this to call for help to fix the “State of matter Life” cases?

Suggestion: as an exception (compared to other taxons), forbid to ID with the “State of matter Life” taxon. (And/Or add a popup suggesting to use DQA instead, with a link to guidelines).

“State of matter Life” is not the most appetizing. You have courage!

I think the problem is with the wording of the DQA item, because there are organisms in the photo. If it said “Evidence of Observer’s Identification” I would give it a thumbs-down.

Do you mean as follows: the observer didn’t give an evidence about what is supposed to be identified? (The grass, the turtle, the bird,…?)