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

While going through this identify URL, I came across an observation (https://inaturalist.ca/observations/46656357) that is marked as Casual, yet everything is fine in the Data Quality Assessment except for the

This observation was identified as a dicot, then got identified as a horse-radish. The observer did not opt out of the community ID, but the community taxon is stuck at “Dicots”?

The Community Taxon says

The taxon showed at the top of the page is

I’m a little bit confused here…

The community taxon/ID is only dicots (class Magnoliopsida), so since that taxon rank is pretty coarse, it goes casual.

Observations will revert to “casual” if the above conditions aren’t met or the community agrees […]

  • the observation no longer needs an ID and the community ID is at family or above

In this case, the community ID (right sidebar) and the observation ID (the ID displayed at the top of the page) are not the same thing. This is not obvious and a common source of confusion.

The community ID is the lowest rank at which at least 2/3 of the IDers agree on (the horseradish ID counts as agreeing with the broader dicots). A second horseradish ID would take the community ID to species.

By contrast, the ID displayed at the top of the page is the lowest ID for which there are no disagreements (more or less).

I don’t fully understand the motivation of whomever clicked the “ID cannot be improved” button, since this is usually used when a species ID is not possible.


Or when an observation has multiple agreeing identifications to species and is only at “Needs ID” because someone previously marked it as “can still be improved.” That is a much more frequent reason when I am doing IDs.

But not in a scenario where the observation only has two IDs and there is no “still be improved” vote that needs to be countered.

What would stop this post from getting a research grade?


more than 2 members confirmed it.

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Someone ticked this box. If you tick “No”, it will go to Research Grade


Thank you very much.

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We can see this observation isnt in the species rank, but rather on the genus part, but it has the research grade level, why is it?

Someone must’ve checked this box, which makes an observation RG if the community taxon is at subfamily or below, but makes an observation casual if an observation’s community taxon is above subfamily level


Thank you, i did not know that

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I just had something like this happen to one of my observations. Well, I say “just,” but it actually happened awhile ago and I only just noticed it now. I ID’d it as superfamily, then someone ID’d it to subgenus within the same superfamily, then they ticked the “based on evidence” flag. I knew all that happened when it happened, but I didn’t notice it made the observation casual until I was double checking my casual grade observations.

I ticked the “yes” box, which put it back on “needs ID,” and I also know to do that in the future for now, but I think it’s actually a problem that needs fixed and not something people just need to be aware of. Imo, if the box is ticked “no,” then it should only take affect when two people agree on the finest taxon. If it takes two IDs to make an observation research grade, then why does one ID get to decide it’s casual grade, not even because it disagree with someone else, but because the IDer genuinely doesn’t know a finer ID?

It kind of frustrates me how many casual grade IDs are probably sitting there with everything they need to be research grade just because someone was looking at the “Observation ID” instead of the “Community ID,” and now they’re so far behind all the potted flowers and missing locations that no one will ever notice. I also think it’s unrealistic to make everyone or even a significant portion of everyone learn how to use it for this specific flag; I really do think the actual system itself needs changed, even if in a different way than I suggested


I believe the iNat programmers should make a search term for every single line of the DQA. Terms do exist for some lines but not others. For example here it would be useful if you could search within Casual for observations that have this box checked.