Why do some observation receive plenty of agreeing IDs?

I am an amateur learning about the native plant species in my area, and occasionally I post observation of other wildlife.
I noticed that some observation receive 4, even 6 agreeing ID, and I was wondering why would naturalists “over confirm” a non disputed ID ?
It happens especially whith my “most spectacular” "wildlife in the city observation:
Is it a way to mark them for adding them in some project?
I was just wondering about the purpose.

– insist on : I am not complaining about it —


People just like them, but don’t want to add to favourites, some groups like birds or common species generally get more agreeing ids because many experts look through them, even when RG.


no such thing as “over confirming”


Frankly, I think bird and cactus identifiers have too much free time when they are searching for research grade observations and adding unnecessary agreements. Meanwhile, there are honey bees, easily identified to species, sitting at Hymenoptera for 6+ years.

Edit: removed Canada goose link, since it’s now up to 20 IDs :laughing:


Particularly interesting or beautiful observations get more people to click on them, and sometimes those people confirm the other IDs because why not? There’s no harm in that, and every opinion counts.


Sure no harm, as said I was just wondering, as it does also takes time to go through observation for ID them, and some profile have such a high number of IDs that it could not be used as “bookmark”. Marina explanation makes sence to me, they do like it, but not enough to fave it.


A few years back, I heard of teenagers using the site like a video game, to see how many confirmations they could rack up-- simply confirming willy nilly. I hope that iNat has learned to block people who are confirming hundreds a day-- I limit myself to three per visit, and look carefully into the I.D. of each one.
For the professional plant identification group I work for, no way you would make an i.d. from only a flower… many reports would be a guess, when all the species characteristics aren’t there.


Please also consider, that favourites are used different here compared to some other sites… I veeeery rarely fave observations just because they are cool. I use may favs as bookmarks to interesting discussions, to pictures that show certain characteriscis of a species very well or to observations I want to come back to ID it myself


While I agree with others above that eye catching photos attract more agreements there are others reasons for people to agree with RG observations. Firstly, there are beginners who are learning a species or genus by going through as many examples as possible. They just do a search for species A and go through many images. While they are doing so they might as well click agree if they are sure.

Secondly, there are error hunters. Those people who know that there are sometimes misidentified species and who deliberately search them out. By selecting ‘no’ in the ‘reviewed’ search filter option they know they will see any of the possibly confused species they have not personally already reviewed.


I think putting a limit would be a bad idea. Yeah any site like this can have misuse but limiting it would defeat the purpose. When I ID, I do a quite a few at a time but I may not do it again for a while because of work or other reasons.


Anytime you ask yourself “why” in the context of other users on iNaturalist, reading this thoughtful contribution could help: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/motivations-we-dont-know-them/


Actually they do all agree on some easy shot, but a chaffinch hidden behind a branch will take them 3 years to id, I feel for a long time (and see how) some of prolific bird iders aren’t that good at birds, seeing their mistakes makes me think of what else did they agree on and how correct those ids are.
This Friday we may visit some places to id insects at order levels, maybe revising the latest bioblitz, but can be much wider than that.


Thank you Schoenitz, just want to reinstated that I was only wondering if it was purposely, whithout it being a ‘concern’ or felt ‘wrong’. I post those observation because I am glad I made them thinking it might be useful to conservasionist somewhere, so I am not complaining at all it being seen :)
I tried my best to write my original post in the most neutral way not expressing critic but questioning. As I am not a native speaker, it might not come over as neutral as I meanted it.


Being optimistic, I might imagine you have a lot of people re-checking observations, given the challenge of distinguishing Branta canadensis from Branta hutchinsii since 2004. But in reality I doubt that’s the case.

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Frankly, I think bird and cactus identifiers have too much free time when they are searching for research grade observations and adding unnecessary agreements

I mean, I do this mostly because I constantly find incorrect ID’s in accipitriformes pushed to RG because a lot of species are easy to mistake for eachother. And if I’m already here looking for errors, I’ll confirm RG obvs I know to be correct to get them out of my ID queue. I don’t see how that’s a waste


I hope that iNat has learned to block people who are confirming hundreds a day-- I limit myself to three per visit, and look carefully into the I.D. of each one.

This is a strange take. Me and many other power users identify hundreds of observations a day… should we limit our output or else get designated as spam? That will really put a delay on getting your observations to RG…


Oh for sure, and I didn’t read anything confrontational in your question. I just took it as an opportunity to link to that great post because it resonates with me and in case there are some folks who haven’t seen it.


I would be quite angry if one day I came in and got blocked because I made “too many ID’s”. I’ve been doing 100% Bombus review for several states and just finished Missouri. The last couple of days I probably did 500 confirming ID’s per day. But while it was mostly hitting agree 500 times, I also put several dis-agreeing ID’s on observations that were several years old. Even on a regular day I do a page each of impatiens, bimaculatus, griseocollis, Bombus. That’s 100 plus right there. These are “easy” species that have frequent mistakes in them, so yes, even those need confirmation.

I don’t understand why people lament the fact that it takes too long to get ID’s and then complain about people doing too many ID’s.


Agree. I easily do some hundret when I am in the mood… and I am not even an overly power IDer… I know some great IDers that do more a day, seemingly every day and limiting them would probably push them away from this site… not to mention, that there is anywAys already a disbalance betweeb IDing and observing that would worsen considerably…

To the original question: I am going through observations that in many cases can only be IDed to genus… in many cases these observations are hanging around for years without ever beeing confirmed once. But when I run into an observation that has already several IDs… yes, I will also leave mine once I am there anyways and move on. Same goes for the thing someone explained earlier - going through a special subset of RG observations to find wrongs. Depending on my mood I might also leave my ID anyways


Third, if an observation has only one agreeing ID making it research grade, and the person who agreed with the identification deletes their iNat account all their identifications get deleted along with it and any observation with just their supporting ID drops back to “needs ID”. This happened recently; initially I thought the identifications would stay when the user left (maybe as ID by “deleted user”) but that didn’t happen and all their identifications went away and thousands (possibly over 10000) of previously RG observations now need ID. So at least one additional agreeing ID would have been beneficial