Unable to add ID to certain observations

Platform: Website

Browser: Chrome

URLs of any relevant observations or pages: inaturalist.org/observations/55298548

Screenshots of what you are seeing:

![Screenshot (6)|690x388, 100%] (upload://2rXkKKKV22soDCqjqlihHyjiWO7.jpeg)
Description of problem:

Step 1: Select Identify

Step 2: Filter by Category ‘Unknown’ (not sure if this is important, but when I had the problem it was with Unknowns)

Step 3: Attempt to add an ID to a certain observation, but fail (as shown)

This is a tricky one since it only happens with a few observations. The first time I took screenshots intending to make a Bug Report, but then the observation disappeared! Literally. It was gone. I had enough info on the screenshots that I should have been able to find it again, but I couldn’t. Even when I filtered Identify by its observer only a few things came up - and not the one I was looking for. This time I made sure to get the URL, but not sure it’ll even work.

The only explanation I came up with is that the observer deleted these observations between when I loaded Identify and when I tried to identify them, but I don’t know if it fits. Why would someone delete an observation anyway?

[Edit] The URL works, so it can’t have been deleted.

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That sometimes happens when an observation was removed by the observer.

When I go to the observations for the user in your first screenshot, there are currently no observations of plants in pink buckets, so it looks as though that particular one was deleted.

I didn’t check the other, where the user has over 1200 observations, but I suspect they also deleted the observations in question.

For the other example, https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/55298548, that may indeed be a bug).


For the URL https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/55298548, did you find that URL by:
(1) looking at the user’s observations?
(2) at the time of the error, if you clicked the Unknown on the pop-up ID modal did it bring you to that page?

If the former, it’s possible they deleted the observation (under a different URL) and then re-uploaded it as the one you found.


I was just able to add an ID to https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/55298548 I don’t see any delete records for the user in the past week.

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@fluffyinca , it looks like the second example is an error as reported.

I found the URL by clicking the Unknown on the pop-up ID modal, not by looking at the user’s observations. (I was afraid if I left the page it would disappear.)

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This pop up shows for me frequently and I always took it for a sign of a poor internet connection. Usually when I try again it works fine.

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I tried multiple times on both, it just kept doing it. Also, I could successfully ID a different observation, then return to the problem one and it still wouldn’t work. I have never had any internet problems, so I don’t think it’s that.

Was IDing obs yesterday and it happened a few times. Now today it happens with all obs of a user who does mega bulk upload. Probably related to bulk upload?

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Bulk uploading could be the issue for the user you found, but I don’t think it is the root cause for everyone.
In the OP’s non-deleted example, the user’s observations show 5 observations added on August 3rd, but they are a few minutes apart, and all show they were added via the Android app (I think bulk uploads are only through the site).

The same happens to me several times on random observations. For me it helps to reload the page.

For the deleted example, the user only had 19 observations total, so that was definitely not related.

The deleted example may be irrelevant.
It could have been giving the error simply because it was deleted.

The fact that the error dialog text is the same as the not deleted observation doesn’t mean they have the same cause.

The non-deleted examples, however, should not be giving the error and should not be discounted.

Sometimes you need to refresh the Identify page if it’s been open for a while, I believe because the authentication token expires. I usually keep a pinned tab open to Identify, and if I don’t use it for a day, none of my IDs are added, and I need to refresh the page.


To clarify, when you load a page, we use an authentication token that expires after 24 hours. So if you try to make an ID, comment, etc, after the page has been open for more than 24 hours, it won’t save. You have to refresh the page.

The exception is the web uploader - the token expires after 24 hours, but if you try to submit observations after its expiration we’ll show you a pop-up and allow you to refresh the token without losing your work.


I have had a problem with that:


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