Users disrupting species identifications

I noticed that there is a user who just mass click “agree” on species without second confirmation and many of these are difficult to id. So, in one case I made a mistake and he automatically agreed few seconds later and ignored all my mails and attempts to connect him. And that species, which is pretty rare and NT in my region just automatically was staying mislabeled. Now I have again a case, where I was pretty sure when uploaded, but after a talk with a local birdwatcher I am not so and would’ve liked some more competent input instead of bot agreeing and case close as the observation is graded as “research quality”. So, my question is where to report these issues and how to counteract such disruptive activities.
T. Misheff


From the iNat help page:

If you disagree with an identification, the best thing to do is to add an identification of your own. It’s helpful to provide a reason for disagreement in a comment.

For incorrect IDs, simply correct your own ID. You can always tag knowledgeable people to help outvote the “maverick” ID.

For the observation where you are no longer certain if you have the correct ID, you can always change your ID to a higher taxon. Then it will take at least one more person to confirm the ID to reach research grade. You can include a comment on the observation stating the reason for your uncertainty.

If this is a reoccurring issue with the same user on many of your observations, you can block someone. See here.

A number of threads have covered this same topic:

Issue with users automatically agreeing to an identification
Overzealous Identification


If you’ve decided your initial ID was wrong, you could go back and disagree with it (I think this is Genus Y, but not Species X) and then there wouldn’t be two people agreeing on the ID, so it would go back to “needs ID”.
If you think the ID might be right, but you’d like more people to look at it, you can go down to the bottom of the observation and under “Based on the evidence, can the Community Taxon still be confirmed or improved?” click “Yes.” If you do that, though, you’ll need to keep an eye on that observation, as it will remain at “needs ID” even if a bunch of people agree with the ID. You have to unclick the “yes” to take it out of “needs ID”.


iNat has no bots, does it? Is it a new user just hoping that they are agreeing with someone who is right?

1 Like

iNaturalist has one bot, named iNaturalist, who will mark DQA as “not wild” Observations of certain species within certain parameters. But that is the only thing it does of which I am aware.


I sometimes think it would be nice if iNat required a higher number of IDs to get something to research grade. One person uploading something wrong and another person agreeing with them can get lost too quick from the Identify page for people to review. A minimum agree of 3 or 4 could make it so more people are looking and catching this stuff.


Fungi would almost never hit research grade if this happened

EDIT: Though I do sometimes get frustrated when people just automatically agree with my IDs


This has been discussed before. However, this would only work for some taxa in some parts of the world. For other taxa/parts of the world, there is a shortage of people able to confirm IDs.

I think the OP just meant mindlessly agreeing, not a literal bot.


Yeah fair enough. It would make things hard for most of the taxa I assume. I’m primarily a birder in North America so my perspective on how many people can ID is skewed by the hoards of available birders near me.


It is not a new user. He has “…” identifications for the last “…” years, which is on average something like one identification every “…” minutes for the last “…” years without break. It’s borderline inhumane (or some serious mental health problem) to do such a thing, that’s why I say “bot”


He has “big number” identifications for the last "…"years, which is on average something like one identification every “…” minutes for the last “…” years without break. It’s borderline inhumane (or some serious mental health problem) to do such a thing, that’s why I say “bot”

Edit: numbers as told


This is exactly what happens and the rarer is a species the more often happens. Because of things like that sometimes seems that certain species was never recorded in certain country for example and when you search it doesn’t show.

I am not yet sure I am wrong and that user is not going to answer or react in any way. He will click agree again if I upload the same picture with completely different id and it will get buried again. What I need is to be looked by people who can identify and not to get some researcher badge and have the species of interest marked as solved.

That math isn’t tracking.

One of the Community Guidelines is “assume people mean well”. While it is ok to be frustrated, a single person doesn’t single-handedly control an observation. Use the tools mentioned: 1) counter with your own IDs, 2) block a problematic user, 3) @ people users knowledgeable about the taxon of interest, or 4) @m_whitson’s suggestion using the DQA.

To clarify, I discussed changing your ID on the existing observation so that it is no longer research grade and will show up for people on their identify page. Not uploading a new observation.


My bad, eyeballing math is not my forte seems. Still it’s every 9 minutes for over 1000 days without break, still colossal work. And I can’t “assume people mean well” in this case, when he plainly ignores all my attempts for communicating and keeps going on. I can block him, but I looked his observations, he buried like that 173…etc observations of mostly difficult to id species like the antshrieks, hummingbirds and many more

1 Like
  • If there is a serious problem that you can’t resolve or there are people on the site who cannot abide by these guidelines despite numerous requests to change their behavior, please email us and we will investigate and possibly suspend such people.

EDIT to add: What I mean by “assume others mean well” is don’t make judgment calls on if someone does or does not have…

Looking at the (presumed) user, they do have several IDs that contradict and correct wrong IDs (in general, not on your observations specifically). To me, this indicates they they do put some thought into their IDs. Do they maybe have some blind spots when it comes to certain taxa? Possibly. Is it frustrating that they won’t respond to correspondence? Undoubtedly. But I’m not yet willing to jump to a conclusion of malicious intent.


I just did, thanks

Hi, you may want to edit out the number of ID’s. With the number it’s trivial to find out who you’re talking about, and we don’t want to call out individual users on the forums.


I also looked he disagreed on some correct ones and agreed on some wrong. Seems he is using google lens. In my case for sure agreed on very wrong one, despite google agreeing with him. It still can be automated and even if it isn’t it does a lot of harm and about zero positives.

Same thing for species in areas where there aren’t a lot of iNat users. Where I’m working it’s common for years to go by for confirming IDs even for common species.