Who gets to over-rule an ID?

Today, I posted an observation (several photos) of Tarophaghus colocasiae based on an LSU monograph on this leaf hopper which LSU scientists are trying to determine range. I also e-mailed the scientist who had originally asked me to keep a look-out for this particular insect separately, attaching all the photos I posted on inaturalist.org. He responded by affirming that the photos were that of T. colosasiae. My ID got overturned by someone who is described as “naturalist”. I tried to edit it; no luck. Who gets to overturn an ID? Are curators identified? Can anyone who follows overturn an ID? Since there is interest in how widespread this leafhopper is, a curator-confirmed ID should be entered in the inaturalist.org file of that species, don’t you think?

haha I just saw your observation! and commented.
I think you left a placeholder, not an ID, which is overruled by any ID that follows. You can add your own and that should work :)


Nobody gets to overrule an identification. Every user gets the ability to add an ID which all count equally towards the consensus.

Curators play no role in validating identifications nor do their identifications count any greater than any other user.


The ID of the observation updates based on the closest mutual taxonomic level of the different IDs provided. Eg. if you ID something as Vespa soror, and someone else ID’s it as Vespa ducalis, then the ID of the observation will become just Vespa.

You cannot edit/delete the ID’s other people give you, but you can mention them in a comment and ask for them to justify their reasonings. Getting a reply depends on them though.

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you cannot edit anyone else’s ID.
Curators are identified on their profiles (like mine, for instance).
Community ID is calculated from all the IDs together – over 2/3s agreement over at least two IDs.
Curators’ IDs are not given any special weight over others’

edit: looks like this


I don’t understand this part of your question, though.

IDs are crowd sourced in iNaturalist–they are community-based. No one “overrules” IDs…they are improved by engagement of additional individuals. You can engage in a friendly way with people who you think have misidentified an observation. Initiate a conversation with them and present the evidence you have for what may be the correct identification. Most folks on iNaturalist respond to friendly conversations surrounding the identification of organisms. Such conversations are the heartbeat behind iNaturalist.


I would allow that curators might have the authority to over-rule, after all I am assuming that they are experts in the field, so I would not object to that. However, I’ve been getting over-rules recently some of which seem far afield, even with my limited knowledge.

Clearly, I am not posting correctly. Please direct me to the instructions for posting. As I explained to trh_blue on my observation page (thanks for noting on that page, also), I didn’t realize that there were options to ID’s names. I’ve gone over my usual procedures and can’t see any options indicated the way I usually post.

many curators are indeed specialists, but that doesn’t mean they won’t add IDs to observations for which they have no relevant expertise. The etiquette is that each person adds an ID to the best of their ability. So I would ID some plants to family, genus, or species, animals to Order or Phylum mostly, fungi… to Kingdom most of the time.
also, Curators are additionally responsible for mediation, managing flags, enforcing the code of conduct, so some are laymen. Like I am :) – I’m just a student. I’ve got some specialist knowledge, but am really a beginner.

Since the other person’s ID was the first ID posted, you cannot have added a formal ID. I’ll work with you on the observation to troubleshoot further.


The power of iNaturalist is that it creates experts rather than relies on them. People learn by practicing their ID skills, participating in discussions with one another about key characteristics, and learn from those conversations–and mistakes. In the end, more people know how to identify things which allows for a greater number of observations to be identified. There are too many observations to identify to rely on a tiny number of experts.


Check out the help:


There are some videos too:


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Well said. This simple observation gets to the heart of the matter.


You do have the option to opt out of community (crowd-sourced) ID. You can access the option in your profile or when posting each obsrvation.

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