To what level do observations have to be identified

in order to qualify to be counted in CNC? And does it have to have more than one person’s ID? Silly questions, but I couldn’t find it anywhere…

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As best as I can tell, the answer is they dont have to be identified at all. All the projects seem set up to accept all grades (research grade, casual and needs ID).

I guess technically the Unknown ones wont count, but there is no requirement for a certain number of ID’s, it being RG or anything else.

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I was searching for the same answer. Thank you!

That’s my understanding, too. So the main reason I can see for identifying before the CNC ends is to search for species that will add to the species count, which is separate from the observations count.

The organizers all voted this year to allow all observations to count for the CNC, to make it as inclusive as possible (especially because many people have a hard time knowing which plants are cultivated!), and to allow birders (and other folks who might try to observe fast/flying species!) to add accounts of species they saw but couldn’t get a photo of.

We will, however, be looking at results to see which city had the highest proportion of verifiable and research grade observations, so that’s a category that does matter in that sense!


what about the Unknowns? I’ve been focusing on them so that others who are focusing on classes, orders, etc., would see them


Now I’m confused. Does number of species matter?

The unknowns count as an observation, but obviously doesn’t add to the species count. So it’s definitely helpful to ID the unknowns so that others can find them and try to add a more specific ID!

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Cool! Thanks much!

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Yes! Definitely! We look at total numbers of observations, species, and people participating - and a whole bunch of other metrics involving those numbers! :grinning:

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“Unknowns” should always be unnecessary. “Life” is better than unknown, and if you are not sure if it is life or not, then that must be extremely rare! Most obs should go in as either plants, animals or fungi at least. The remainder should again be very rare.


Unknown carries the same amount of information as Life, and is less work.

Also, a lot of the temporary unknown observation would not exist if there was draft mode. Here is a related feature request, Consider voting for it.


@kestrel not to get too into the weeds here, but will you be counting “Leaves” as well?

Yes, because that’s what the collection projects (vs. the umbrella project) shows for species number, correct?

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Correct, that’s how it works.

Oh good, because that’s what I’ve been telling everyone. :sweat_smile:

For anyone wondering what “leaves” means, here’s an explanation:

Edit: My post (below) has been flagged as “off-topic”, so please feel free to ignore, but I see no reason why it should be hidden.

Perhaps the unknown category is redundant then? Obs could default to life, and be flagged for deletion if they aren’t life (though non-living remains or workings of living things still do count as life). Even a photo of a book or the Eifel Tower could be identified as human works, like an empty leaf mine can be IDed as whatever insect caused it.

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A group of us got together the other night to ID many species from our CNC project. For many of us the number of species is the most important count from the CNC (yeah I know the others are important as well!).

The big question is what are the criteria for a species? There are many living things that we can only ID to family level for example, how does that count in the species count? If I search the project from the Explore tab, I get one number, while if I look at the project page I get a bigger number. So this means to me that the counting criteria is different.

I’m not really interested in CNCs, but providing that nobody is advantaged/disadvantaged by different counting criteria, it surely doesn’t matter much? There might also just be synch issues responsible for what you describe? The actual number of species observed can only be approximated (and may not be objectively defined anyway, given that taxonomy is partly subjective).