Why is this Observation Casual/Needs ID/Research Grade? - "Official" Thread

I can’t explain why some observations convert to Research Grade easily when two people agree and others keep the “Need ID” label wiith the same conditions, as for instance:

It is marked as ‘yes the ID can be improved’ in the data quality section.

Does anyone know when this feature began? I find it discussed in the Google group in Oct 2018, so it was before that at least.

March 2017

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I can’t explain this one. Tried reindexing, didn’t work. Suspecting the old dates (3 years on the first disagree) have something to do with it?

see related bug report: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/observation-with-four-identical-identifications-labeled-as-needs-id/18416


Is there something specifically tricky about molluscs that underwent taxon swap? The redindexing trick of altering the DQA doesn’t work on these two:

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There’s a known bug, you can see some previous discussion here and here.

Yes, and normally the fix for the known bug is to change something about the DQA (personally I upvote “evidence of organism” because that’s pretty harmless) and this will cause the observation to “reindex”/ refresh and fix the bug. However that trick doesn’t work on these two molluscs and I’m not sure why.

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I typed in the species name for each of these as a “new” ID instead of simply agreeing with earlier ID, then marked Yes on the DQA for a couple of categories and that seemed to push both of them into RG,

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The new weird one I found today seems to be causal because the observer marked their own image as spam (probably a mistake, as it seems like a real image to me.) I don’t think there’s any way for me to fix that since I’m not a curator.


Feel free to tag me on those :)

Why does an observation, that is identified as the same species by 4 persons not get the research grade?
See link below :

I think the issue is with the community taxon check box.


Someone has checked “Yes” to “Based on the evidence, can the Community Taxon still be confirmed or improved?” Checking “No, it’s as good as it can be” will make it Research Grade.

Screen Shot 2020-12-25 at 1.17.01 PM

You may want to click on the (1) to see who did that and ask them why.


In this case, someone had checked “Yes” for the “Can the ID still be improved or refined?” box.

(moved this to the appropriate existing topic)

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I have recently joined iNaturalist and have been adding my Lepidoptera sightings made over this last summer, plus those in my collection I started 50 years ago. I thought I understood how observations get to “Research Grade” but I have one observation that perplexes me. Thus, I would like to ask that someone on iNaturalsit with more experience look at my observation (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/66346365) and let me know why it is still NeedsID when I have added dissection photograph since I originally posted he observation for the organism and now have two “experts” that have identified the organism based on that dissection photo and have suggested an ID?

I have checked various iNaturalist Help and Information pages to get a better idea of what it takes to get an observation to “Research Grade”. I found this

Confirming IDs -

A minimum of two agreeing IDs are required to reach ‘Research Grade’. The intent is that two experts or knowledgeable people must review the observation
before it can become ‘Research Grade’. When confirming IDs using the ‘Agree’ button (particularly on your own observations), consider your own knowledge
of the particular taxon. An identification confirms that you can confidently identify the organism yourself compared to any possible lookalikes.

There are a few reasons that an observation may stay at ‘Needs ID’:

There may not be enough experts on that particular taxon currently using iNat
It may not be possible to ID to species from photos for this organism
Diagnostic features are not visible in the photos.

It would seem to me that the “two experts or knowledgeable people” have agreed on the identification of the organism and it should now be “Research Grade”.

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there is a disagreement at Tribe level, Acleris is not in Archipini

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OK. I see that in my original post plus the fact that I used the Machine ID for the moth to get Archipini as the tribe. So how do we get agreement that the tribe should be Acleris?