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)

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:

To check the numbers:
( this link does not work as the taxon_id=needs to be filled and is just for illustrative purposes

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


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

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.

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).

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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.

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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.

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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.