User downgrading my IDs unnecessarily

Is there any way to stop people from doing this? Someone with zero observations is going around marking all my correctly IDed species of grasses back to family level.


It would be great to have some specific examples here. If you don’t want to share them publicly, you can email

I believe I found the user you are talking about. They appear to have made a number of IDs (over 400) for various users. Oftentimes, if someone adds a lot of identifications to your observations, they may not intentionally be giving undue attention to you personally. They may be adding lots of identifications to everyone’s observations.

I see that you reached out to them using comments. Requests to justify an identification in words are strongly encouraged, but unfortunately they don’t have to respond or change their identification. If you are bothered by their behavior, you can definitely reach out to They can suggest options for dealing with this user. Note that blocking and muting are generally not considered the best way to stop identifications from users like this (see community guidelines).

You could also reach out to some of the users who have helped you make identifications for some of your other grass observations. They may be able to help you make an accurate identification.

Sometimes what is going on with stuff like this, is just that a new person thinks they are supposed to chip in with however much they know. So therefore, if they only know it is a grass, they think it is OK for them to say so. I see that a lot.

I usually have to explain in a note that when someone puts a more general ID in, after a specific ID is already in place, it is taken to mean that the person with the general ID is stating that the observation cannot be ID’ed to a finer level than that.

That is something that is not immediately obvious to new people.


Here’s one example. This dog vomit slime mold was knocked back to just slime molds.

Here’s a ripgut brome.

Have you asked the user why they’re doing this? They might not know what’s happening or how their ID might affect your observation. I think it’s always best to communicate with someone first, as long as it can be done in a civil manner.

I did and they have not responded. I asked on at least three of the observations and I finally sent them a message. There needs to be a way to block clueless people from making IDs in your observations.

They just marked a clear House Wren as Birds. The nearest this person could do was Class. The user’s name is Julie253. It seems like they just go around making unspecific IDs on everyone’s observations. This person is basically trolling and should be removed.

For me sometimes it depends on how long it has been waiting for an ID. I usually do nothing if I can’t improve it, but sometimes I come across an ID that has been sitting there with an ID, for example, of Shumard Oak for three months and I’ll add an ID at the section level and say it is a Red Oak. I can’t confirm the species, but I’m letting them know they are in the ball park.

I suspect it is CNC-related. Identifiers are rated just by numbers–helpful doesn’t enter into it.

Exactly. That’s pretty much exactly trolling. They are using terrible IDs to achieve a rank. There is no reason for Julie253 to be on iNaturalist. This person is providing nothing useful for IDs and they don’t even enter observations.

Fortunately she is not explicitly disagreeing on most, so the species ID should still count in the species numbers for the CNC.

I do not believe this user is purposefully trolling or doing this out of malice.

I believe this user is simply feels the need to chip in. They may not know that the chronology of identifications matters. Generally, if someone adds a coarse identification after a finer identification, this implies that they disagree with earlier finer identification. New users do not always understand this. Reaching out to the user and kindly explaining this to them generally clears this up. This is stated in the Identifying Organisms tab of the getting started guide, so I usually point new users who are eager to make identifications there.

I don’t see the issue here. This person is not explicitly disagreeing with your IDs. These coarse IDs may not be a good use of her time and may generate unneeded notifications, but they won’t affect your community ID at all. It’s a bit odd, but it isn’t a violation of the rules at all. I suggest you just ignore it @vermfly.


this isn’t the case unless they explicitly disagree. It seems people are taking it that way, but per how the ID algorithm works, these should not be construed as ‘this is not Bromus diandrus’ but rather ‘i agree this is a grass but i don’t know what kind’.

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My friend was having this issue in the Chicago area a couple years ago and I seem to remember that the coarser IDs caused records to need two additional confirmations rather than just one. That’s more than annoying. It’s actively manipulating the data.

Perhaps they fixed that. Will one confirmation of my original ID make it go research grade?

It should, if the user in question did not specifically choose the “disagree” option when adding their IDs. Sounds from earlier posts like that is the case for most of them.

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Hi! As @paloma said, they are not explicitly disagreeing on most. In those cases, you are correct, this person is not affecting the community ID at all and definitely is not violating any rules or guidelines.

However, they are explicitly disagreeing on some of his IDs, which is why I added my second comment.

For example:

yes. see your ripgut brome. I agreed it was that species, because it is, and that is now research grade.