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

First I’d like to say that the comments I’ve made on iNat that I’m most ashamed of would not have even batted an eye in a scientific context.

Flag the comment then. But do realise that this is a social website and nobody is obligated to back up their comments with citations (although that would be ideal).

You’ll have to directly ask them about that. I have no comment,

Who are those people? Again, this is a social website and if there are “ego ID” people I have no knowledge about them. The only thing I use the top IDer’s or top observers of a taxon is to use that data so that I can ask them about them about nomenclature or taxonomy. Apart from that their “score” is kind of meaningless to me. I wonder how that affects their ego :)

My only advice is to take the scientific approach but with a social aspect (but remember, every single comment that I’m ashamed of is because I did not take into account the social aspect and approached things “scientifically”; these comments in the scientific community would have been taken, I think, differently) . Just enjoy the website/app and forget about looking at the top identifiers or whatever :) If there is a real problem then flag the ID or comment or whatever and curators will look at it. Flagging is probably more reliable than a conversation in this forum.


The conversation here has gotten derailed, and heated. As much as it is important to be able to express grievances and to have rigorous debate, it is more important to remain calm and be kind. I have temporarily closed the thread. It will re-open automatically in a day or so.
In the meantime, I and the other moderators are going to try to resolve what we can in private. And I suggest everyone re-read the part in the guidelines which states you should assume the best of intentions from others.


This topic was automatically opened after 20 hours.

I wonder if you have considered changing your account settings to not accept community IDs (commonly referred to on the forum as “opting out”)." That prevents the community ID on your observation from changing when someone adds an ID. If you did that, plus pasted a comment on your observations when you uploaded them, stating your criteria (such as needing an explanation of how the ID was determined) then you would be in control of your observations, and you might get some of the explanations that you want. (I don’t know if you can change the setting on the app, though. You may need to go to your account settings on the website.)


Motivations – we don’t know them, but it’s easy to assume we do. What motivates identifiers? For me, one component is service. Being helpful. Helpful to observers and to iNaturalist, in its goal to provide scientifically useful information on what’s where when. Another is ego – I’m aware of the little bit of ego boost I get from each ID that I’m confident in. This is the payment that helps motivate people to do all kind of good things, and that’s OK. (I’m also actually paid money to ID certain plants, not nearly often enough in my opinion, but I’ll settle for ego boostlets.) I’m also aware of the boredom that can set in after doing many ID’s, as I have done during the pandemic, and the frustration of seeing yet ANOTHER grass observation with the necessary detail out of focus or never photo’d. The slight ego boost of seeing my name on leaderboards is balanced by the frustration of being tagged to ID plants I wish I could ID but can’t.

An important goal for me personally is to get as many observations as possible to Research Grade with a correct ID. Because there are over 31 million Needs ID observations, that will take some work! Therefore, I mostly do “drive by” ID’s, fast and without explanation. For certain things I will provide explanations (especially if I change an ID), and if I’m asked I will respond. Discussing identification features is fun! However, most observers don’t respond, especially on older observations, so incentive to explain is low unless the observer asks. Failing to provide an explanation is not intended to put down an observer, just to maximize my results per unit time.

Wanting to think over the identification, discuss it, and learn it thoroughly are great! However, many observers just want an identification sooner rather than later. We see Forum posts with variations on the theme of “My observation has been up for three days without an ID! What’s wrong?” Clearly, there are different expectations, just as there are different motivations.


I definitely think it could be interpreted as rude, unnecessary or even aggravating, but I do want to propose the idea that perhaps the repost happened for an other reason, like coordinates or time or some other type of change being made. Maybe that’s just hopeful thinking, but it is possible nonetheless.


You don’t need to repost to change those settings though.

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Excellent point. And an obvious one, so I feel stupid now. Maybe I’ll delete the comment… lol

You’re not! Maybe user didn’t know it’s possible, sometimes people think they need to repost to add another id.


I’ve done this when leaderboard farmers come in and post obviously wrong IDs, when there’s a dissenter who won’t let up for months, or rarely when there’s an old observation I’m interested in that didn’t get any attention at all when I first posted it. I’ve also deleted a few old research grade observations with terrible pictures but I never reuploaded them so I don’t think that counts. He could’ve been doing it for any reason, though if it happened right after you identified it I’d say he was just embarrassed he got the ID wrong or something dumb like that.

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I have embarked on a major project of deleting because tit uses. My phone is unstable and I’m trying to decrease the amount of phone memory it uses.

I have deleted once under the circumstances you describe when the observation was marked cultivated and the app wouldn’t allow me to vote wild. I hope that situation was unusual.

I don’t think either of these affects the database integrity, although I understand and empathize about an insult to the ego and sense of fairness. I’ve been there.


Is a leaderboard farmer somebody who just identifies or uploads for the sake of moving up on the leaderboard? Sorry, I’m not new here; just old.

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Yes, usually using computer vision. If they’re not deserving of that spot on the leaderboard, it can create many dubious observations.

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I’ve always liked that iNaturalist COULD be game-ified, for the purpose that it can make it more intriguing for younger people. Obviously that feature can be abused, which is a darn shame. Hopefully not too many people use it in that manner. Most of the people I encounter on the leaderboards are pretty solid, reputable people.

I, personally, upload a lot, so I hope others would group me in with the “solid, reputable” people, rather than the systematic leaderboard offenders.

Thanks for explaining!


I don’t understand. The iNaturalist observations become independent of your phone, once you upload them. You can delete the photos from your phone without affecting the observation. So why delete the observation to decrease phone memory?


Sorry…deleting superfluous IDs, not observations.

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I thought similarly. My phone fills up with observations pretty quickly, but if you log out of iNaturalist it clears the cache and opens up the storage again. That’s my trick, at least.


Yeah, I gotta admit that I do like that it feels a little like a game. Maybe not in that way but in others. I really like the dynamic lifelist and the stats page. I do kinda wish there were group dynamic lifelists and group stats pages, but I don’t think I’m gonna put it in feature requests any time soon.


My son really likes that too. Maybe he just likes counting though, because he really likes seeing the number of observations and identifications go up. So maybe that has more to do with counting than the actual stats, but it looks all the same from the outside. It can definitely make engaging a lot easier.