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

But only the first time. If someone else also votes it as not-wild, you’re out of luck. The downside of one person, one vote is that the person who was actually there and made the observation can be overruled by enough other people who were not there and didn’t actually see the organism. Rather like the absurdity of the “official” birth certificate being the one filled out by a county clerk who was nowhere near the delivery room at the time, rather than the one filled out by the obstetrical staff who actually delivered the baby. Things that make sense only to bureaucrats.

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I think I’ve seen people post in the forum to overturn malicious/trolling DQA votes.
You could also tag or PM people.

Barring those options, you can tag the downvoters to either:
A. get some conversation going & maybe convince them to withdraw
B. Make the post show up in the “Real Time Discussions” tab on iNat Home dashboard, getting more eyes on it

Another issue that I’ve caught recently is that there are differing criteria for different groups of organisms for what’s a sufficient “ Community Taxon” for something to be “Research grade”. Take these two submissions I just made:


For the green algae, “Community Taxon is precise”, in this case ID’d to genus, is a sufficient for it to be “Research grade”. OTOH, microbes like protozoans and diatoms have the higher standard of “Community Taxon at species level or lower”. This seems like a very bad criterion, as microbes are very difficult to get to species, generally requiring a high degree of speciality knowledge and access to a high resolution microscope. As a result, there are hardly any Research grade microbe observation on iNat. Is there any way of changing the criteria here?

There’s no criteria like that, everything lower than family gets 2 ids and then you click “as good as can be” and it gets RG.

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Can anyone help me understand why my observation at https://inaturalist.ca/observations/132217198, a monarch chrysalis, got listed as casual? The ID, map and date are all there.


Looks like a glitch, I forced a reindex and it’s now Needs ID. Also moved this to a megathread for this topic, check out the top post for explanations of various data quality grades.


A few of my observations have been marked as casual by “Location is inaccurate” for the sole reason of being obscured to protect other nearby organisms.

If there’s a person doing this to your observations, just put your own counter-vote into the DQA and that should fix it. According to iNat staff, “location is accurate” just means the real location of the organism is somewhere inside the circle (or rectangle, in the case of obscured observations.) It doesn’t really imply anything about the size of the circle. However I’ve seen many site users down-vote location because they felt the circle was too large. That’s not really how the DQA line was meant to work.


I have also seen something like this, several times – for example, this observation has five IDs correctly identifying it as a domestic cat, and yet is still marked “Needs ID.”


(moved to a different topic)

In that case, the observer marked it as needing further identification in the Data Quality Assessment section. Their vote has been countered and it is no longer Needs ID.


Perhaps the observer knows it was a feral rescue, as sees it as ‘wild not captive’

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Please fill out the following sections to the best of your ability, it will help us investigate bugs if we have this information at the outset. Screenshots are especially helpful, so please provide those if you can.

Platform (Android, iOS, Website): Website via MacBook

App version number, if a mobile app issue (shown under Settings or About):

Browser, if a website issue (Firefox, Chrome, etc) : Safari

URLs (aka web addresses) of any relevant observations or pages: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/104005379

Screenshots of what you are seeing (instructions for taking a screenshot on computers and mobile devices: https://www.take-a-screenshot.org/):

Description of problem (please provide a set of steps we can use to replicate the issue, and make as many as you need.): The observation has three agreeing species-level identifications and no disagreeing IDs. There are also three higher-level identifications but none are in disagreement with the species ID. The DQA looks fine - all options are checked “Yes”. Do the higher-level IDs keep it from RG?

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:

Hi @suecar - this is due to:


It has 7 IDs but still shows as NEEDS ID. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/55808707

Moderators, please move this to the main “why” topic.

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The reason it’s not Research Grade is that someone went down to the Data Quality Assessment and marked the community as can be improved. Doing this can keep an observation at Needs ID regardless of number of IDs. To make the observation Research Grade, use the Data Quality Assessment to mark to the observation as can’t be improved.


thanks. Not something I knew.

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Hi, I wonder why this observations does not update to the suggested IDs?
Shouldn´t it have updated and even gone to RG before my ID even?


Because there weren’t yet the required amount of IDs to override the initial two incorrect species IDs. More than two thirds of IDs on an observation need to agree with each other for that ID to be displayed. Immediately before your ID, the ratio of correct to incorrect species IDs was 3:2, ie 3/5 which is under two thirds. With your ID, it was 4:2, ie 4/6 which = two thirds, which is still not more than two thirds. Now it is 5:2, ie 5/7, exceeding the required ratio, so it’s RG


Oh, if course. Thanks for solving my riddle😆

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