Who should sign off on 'as good as it gets'?

For many invertebrates, photos will not be sufficient to take the animal to species with any degree of certainty. In such cases, who can or should be ticking ‘Yes’ to the question at the bottom of the page “Based on the evidence, can the Community Taxon still be confirmed or improved?” I would like to do this for many of my own sightings, particularly where recognised experts have taken the ID to genus but not beyond. Would this be considered appropriate? Keen to hear your views on this, or if there is an existing thread perhaps just point me in the right direction.
Thanks folks

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Everyone can, but I would say think a lot about it, I see tons of pics that people thought to be unidentifiable while they were easy for me to id at least a group they’re from, your own obs you can mark as much as you can, but you’d like to ask iders first if really further id is not possible.

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I think this is very appropriate. Even more is multiple top identifiers pick the same ID and level above species. For example, when bob296 says there isn’t enough detail in a picture to tell Scolia from Triscolia, then subfamily is as good as it gets.

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Anyone can check the boxes, the justification should be knowing the ID can’t be refined further, similar to how the justification for IDing species is knowing the species.

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I do think it’s appropriate for either the observer or an identifier to check that box when (as the prompt implies) they believe the community taxon is as precise and accurate as can be achieved based on the available evidence.

My understanding is that checking “No, it’s as good as it can be” allows an observation with a community ID above species level to reach Research Grade, providing the other criteria are also met (photo and/or sound recording, accurate date and time, >⅔ agreement on community taxon, etc.). So the main effect of this is that the observation may be shared as part of the validated dataset (e.g. via GBIF) and show up as RG in iNat searches. Those are all good things for an accurately IDed genus- or family-level observation. And they’re all reversible, too, in the event that someone comes along with specialist knowledge that allows a finer ID to be made.

It’s a good thing for observers to check the “as good as it gets” box for observations that can’t be improved. Better to have an observation be RG at genus level than to sit around as “Needs ID” indefinitely. And it seems that @kerrileeharris is applying exactly the logic that was intended in making this decision.

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Just to clarify, only observations at subfamily (edited based on others’ corrections) and below will go to RG when “No, it’s as good as it can be” is ticked. Family level observations will not, but I agree with the thought process here.

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Please note that in cases where you believe the photo cannot be ID’d to species, the correct check box is the “No” box, rather than the “Yes.” If you check yes, your observation will not go to research grade even if two people come along and ID it to species. If you check no, the observation will go to research grade at genus (or even subfamily) without waiting for species.

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Subfamily works too.

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Indeed!
Any observation with 2 IDs or more and community taxon at Family level or higher will go Casual.
Any observation with 2 IDs or more and community taxon at Subfamily level or lower will go RG, but may display a lower taxa if one was suggested and not disagreed.

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Also be careful as new lower rid can make this obs. RG without two ids! e.g. there was to genus ids and you marked it as good as it can be, then somene comes and ids it as species, for some reason RG level stays there with species, so if you marked something - check for notifications about it and unmark if it’s needed!

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Ugh, that sounds like a bug, no?

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Who knows, sometimes such things are intentionally not fixed, I have no idea.

Welcome to the forum! I use the ‘as good as it gets’ in specific instances. Some moth complexes (such as *Xestia c-nigrum/dolosa complex) cannot be visually separated any further. After two confirmations, I’ll check the box to get it to research grade and get it off the books. Otherwise it could get 100 id’s and still be on the ‘needs confirmation’ page. I haven’t used it for beaten up specimens - as @melodi_96 says, perhaps someone will recognize it. I suppose there are instances where a photo cannot be identified (like an underside photo) where I could check it off, but have not done so yet. I’ll leave a note, but I’m always reluctant to mess with other folks observations.
Edit - I stick mainly to Noctuid moths so have no experience with other taxa.

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For instance in the https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/passengers-parasites-taking-rides project I have started to sign off on “as good as it gets” for genus observations of insects in a pupal stage without a documented adult stage. Identifying to species from pupa alone is generally inadvisable-although customarily done for Cotesia congregata, C. glomerata, C. empretiae–the ID of the host is considered sufficient for an educated guess. (As you know new species hide out under these common identities.) If the observer questions my sign off, I uncheck the box. The golden rule applies to follow the observer’s wish.

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Good to know.

Yes to Kerri-Lee’s question. Whenever a better ID is not possible, we should be checking “No” on the last line in the Data Quality box. This was recently made easier for identifiers because you can click the “Data Quality” tab from the ID box.

I use this checkbox when identifying plant-gall inducers for which the genus has been determined by an expert but no species description has been published. It’s also helpful when the presence of a cryptic species in an area makes it impossible to provide a species ID from photos.

As others have said, as tempting as it is to use this checkbox for terrible photos, it is rare that a photo is so undeniably unidentifiable that I am sure someone else will not better my ID.

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Thank you to everyone for your advice and comments. This is really helpful. Many of my sightings are insects, and as I’m in Australia … where we have so very many undescribed invertebrate species … I’m always pleased to get an insect identified to genus level. Cheers :)

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I think you meant to say that maybe Chris will recognize it. I have said that the species can’t be identified and then Chris does identify it. I have seen many other people in birds, butterflies, etc. that can ID many photos I can’t. So I only use it the way you do - for species I know can’t be identified to species in photos. Having said that, it is easily overcome by the observer or the ID savants among us by checking the opposite, so I don’t think it is a huge problem.

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Yes, Chris does have a remarkable ability for Identification! Goes with the territory, I guess. He’s actually described new species. I try not to bother him too much - he’s a pretty busy guy. Some groups I don’t even attempt - Papaipema spp., Lithophane spp. are two. I always get them wrong. I agree - I don’t think it’s a huge problem.

Honestly, I am becoming sorely tempted to use that function liberally. I am still working on the family-level Asteraceae, but I can see why few people are willing to. Pictures of seedlings; pictures of basal rosettes of nondescript leaves; pictures of a single dandelion-like flower with none of the rest of the plant visible; worst of all, pictures of dried-up winter stems. Who honestly thinks these can be identified? I’m getting really ticked off by the waste of bandwidth, and am on the verge of saying that all such pictures are “as good as it gets” at family level.

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