Why does another person's ID of my plant take precedence over my ID which I entered later?

There are several people who seem to delight in jumping in almost immediately after I have recorded my data and usually enter an ID that is either wrong or useless. For example, “Plantae-Angiosperm”. I record my photo of a plant in the field but wait a day or more until I can key it out before I enter my identification. I have even contacted one of these people directly and asked to him to wait to give me time to enter my ID before he jumps in…to no avail. There are some really good botanists in this area and I look forward to their ID suggestions but not those of people who are not familiar with the flora in this area and/or are just plain stupid. I resent those who have nothing better to do than enter worthless commentary. Is there any way I can prevent them from doing this?

General IDs aren’t necessarily useless, as someone who identifies plants, for example, can filter for “Plantae” and exclude all of the animals, fungi, etc. that they would otherwise need to look through. If it’s left as “Unknown,” it would likely get ignored by people who specialize in a specific kingdom. Some identifiers will add broad identifications just so it’s more easily found. It’s impossible for those identifiers to know whether the observer intends to add a specific ID later or not.
And anyway, does it matter if the observation has a broad ID before you add yours? As long as you don’t disagree with the broad ID, your ID should take precedence. I can see the problem if someone is putting an incorrect broad ID, like identifying a fern as “Magnoliopsida” (which I’ve seen a couple of times, but the initial identifier is usually quick to correct it when someone points it out) but as long as your specific ID falls within the broad ID there should be no conflict.


Just to confirm, you leave the observation as “Unknown” for at least a few days? Most of the people who are entering the broad observation for you are likely trying to help, so that the

really good botanists

you mentioned will be able to find your post. There’s currently an issue on iNaturalist with thousands of “Unknown” observations dating multiple years back. In fact, there’s a group of volunteers trying to work through the backlog.


Calling people stupid for them helping you get your ID? They add general ids because you added none and your observations stay in unknown pile, by adding ids people allow botanists to see your records which they don’t see if they have no id at all. Also none of those broad ids can be “over” yours if you post a taxon that belongs to the group they chose.


Sorry that you’re having problems with IDs. Best solution I can suggest if you don’t want others suggesting more general identifications: don’t upload until you key the identification to your satisfaction.


I’ve lost track of the number of times I have come across Araceae identified as “Dicots.” Presumably, because they have broad leaves, not grass-like ones. But I would suggest to @beetlebutt that if this sort of thing is happening, put your own broad ID first, then go back later after you have keyed it out with your finer ID.


Or identifying cycads as Arecaceae. I think the best approach is to add your ID, explain why it’s not the previous ID, and let it be. If they correct it then that’s great; if they don’t correct it then it’ll just be left as Angiosperms or another broad ID until someone else comes along and fixes it.


I often advise new members who post ‘unknown’ observations to do exactly that, for the reasons you have outlined. I’ve been working on Canadian Noctuidae which don’t have ID’s or confirmations. It feels like a losing battle!

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I think there is an open request for a draft mode - to suit people whose workflow is - wait - I will add the ID when I get to it.

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