User deleting/reposting an obs to, I presume, delete a corrective ID (alongside a comment) I made

I just saw a user delete an observation where I posted a contradicting ID, then re-post it as a new observation under the ID I suggested. Even though this is not super problematic, I do not think this is the way iNaturalist is supposed to be used, but I could be wrong (see discussion here:

To give some context, the user (a power user with 30 000+ obs) had selected a species that was clearly out of range (another continent), and not really similar. I suspect they selected the first ‘out of range’ suggestion, which is something I (as a regular IDer) have seen them do a lot, often uncritically (without checking the distribution range, etc). I suggested another species, but couldn’t help pointing out that it is nice when observers are critical with iNat’s suggestions (especially power users), alongside some constructive remarks about my ID. I didn’t mean to be snarky, but I suspect my comment upset the OP, which is why they deleted the obs to re-post it.

I have since asked the user why they deleted they previous observation (maybe I shouldn’t have), and apologized if I upset them. I would love to have some feedback from other users about what I did wrong, and/or if such deleting/reposting is okay with iNat policy. Thanks!


It is ungracious to repost the same obs if the first has had engagement. Wasting the time and effort of the first identifiers.
That first wrong ID can be withdrawn, or deleted. When I am the second IDer I will use my notifications to delete my comment, once the problem is resolved.


I think your approach here is very solid! Sounds like you did your best to educate and avoid offense.

And no, I don’t think it’s good practice for observers to delete IDs once other users have engaged, except maybe in very rare cases where there’s highly offensive comments/inflamed discussion or something (in which case involving staff would be a good choice).


The only time I ever considered deleting an ob with ID/comments, was when I thought I’d inadvertently posted the same thing twice. I was going to message the iDer about my mistake, and apologize. But, then I realized it was okay. The 2nd ob had another, different individual, so technically it was not a duplicate.

Awkward situation avoided !

But, I would think, if one does need to delete an ob that others have engaged with, a note is in order.


I wouldn’t sweat it too much. They were probably just embarrassed, or it could be for some reason we don’t know.


I know a few users who do this. Pisses me off tbf

I can understand if they do this when the old observation could not reach the correct community ID because a few identifiers dissented and the observer was impatient (although you could argue that they could simply disable the community ID without needing to repost the same observation), but there are a few users who just seem like they’re “afraid” of being caught with wrong IDs (why??)

But the reason this pisses me off is that the purpose of the comments section is so that people can understand how the community arrived at the final ID by allowing them to see every step of their deliberation and decision-making, so that people don’t make the same mistakes and are aware of the diagnostic features to look out for so that they don’t get mixed up again in future. Removing all of this in the repost throws away all of this information. It is for this exact same reason that i’m not in favour of people deleting and re-adding IDs


This isn’t really the way iNaturalist is supposed to work, but on the other hand, it’s a minor thing.

We all know that everyone makes mistakes. That’s just real. It takes a certain amount of practice to figure out that that means I make mistakes and that’s OK.


Yeah, this likely also throws away the metadata of incorrect IDs that iNat mines for the “Similar Species” function.

Which by the way is something I’ve been wondering about the CV: does the machine learning algorithm use those known false positives to iteratively teach the AI to look closer and find differences between similar taxa? That seems like a productive dataset to help it hone its skills.


A one-time thing probably isn’t a big deal. If a user exhibits a pattern of this kind of behavior, I would first suggest letting them know they can reject the community ID if they want more control over the observation’s ID (they might not be aware of this option). If they continue to do it please email so we can take a look.

No, it’s just trained on photos of a taxon.


I agree. Also, I have occasionally imagined I had given offense with an observation or an ID, because the user did something not standard that I would only have done if I was upset in some way, but they replied they had not been offended at all, there was some unrelated reason for their workflow/action.


Well, when ider adds ridiculous id or ids not the object of observation (happens a lot if there’s a bird anywhere on the pic, some people just have to id it no matter what your first id is) and doesn’t respond quickly, it’s just much faster to repost, why waiting and keeping an eye on it if you can just reupload and have a clean observation?


That is a troll spamming.

I was thinking of … maybe an insect which you had IDed. They disagree. Delete your time and effort. And put the same picture up again.
No thanks, not wasting your time on that again.

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I think it’s also unfair to repost with someone else’s id, it’s not right as you will be couted as one who ided it first and who knos if you actually can id it, if you ided it by accident, then maybe I understand it, but if the case of this user is really of someone who didn’t put effort, then it’s just plain weird thing to do.

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Surely the answer is pretty simple: don’t ID it again. But perhaps I’m missing something.

I don’t know about others, but it would take me longer to realize what the situation was and decide not to ID it a second time than to just ID it and move on.


So far all or almost all of the times I feel like I’ve possibly offended someone is when I’ve reviewed ‘captive’ observations for things that are not usually captive and/or with locations in wilderness areas and tagged someone who voted ‘captive’ on something like a marmot on a mountain top or a dragonfly in a meadow in the DQA to ask them why they did that… It can be hard to tell whether they are actually offended or not from a terse reply. I think the answer is usually ‘I accidentally tapped ‘x’ with the observation open in the identify modal and didn’t notice it flipped to casual’, but having done that might embarrass some people. Maybe I need to find or write a delicately worded stock copypasta for situations like that.

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It sounds to me very much as though you dont actually offend anyone:) Although sometimes people do feel less than jolly when they realize they have made a mistake,


In a situation like that, I feel like there’s a responsibility of the person who DQAed incorrectly to not be offended at someone asking them about the mistake. It shouldn’t be the responsibility of another IDer to bend over backwards to make them feel ok about their mistake. As long as you’re straightforward and polite, I think you’ve done your job. If they decide to be offended at their own mistake, that’s their own business.


I had a guy do something similar on a few observations. He had uploaded some bees and had ID’d the Carpenters as Bumbles and the Bumbles as Carpenters, and I think a Honey Bee as a Bumble Bee. I and others put the correct ID which he argued and I explained the differences. A few days later I’m running through Bees and I thought “that one looks familiar”, he had deleted and re-uploaded all of the ones that I had corrected with his original wrong ID’s. I corrected again and this time left notes that said I had already ID’d these and deleting and re-uploading won’t change the correct ID.


A while back I found a duplicate observation of mine (a bee), so I picked the one with the fewest ID’s, tagged the ID’er, explained the situation and asked if we could change the observation to the flower it was on. So they’re both on there, just for different things.