Why opt out of Community ID?

I know one can opt out of Community ID in iNaturalist. To me, this is opting out of one of the most useful, engaging features of the resource, but maybe there are some good reasons I haven’t thought of. Why do some folks opt out of Community ID, and if you do, how well does that work for you? Just curious.


I don’t like this feature and the only use of it I see in using it instead of reuploading, e.g. a user ids a different organism than one you wish to get ided (and who knows when/if they will retract it).


I haven’t been clear on why someone would use the opt-out either, except perhaps if they are the expert on a certain species and don’t want to have to deal with possibly dissenting IDs from those who might know less.


Here some previous threads that address this issue/question that could be worth reading through:

One of these could potentially be reopened and these posts moved there. If that’s desirable, let a mod know.


I’ve opted out in just a couple of cases, when someone has identified the wrong organism in a photo and didn’t respond to my comments, or when they’ve put in a blatantly wrong ID that knocked the whole thing to a high-level taxon (like when someone decided my lichen was a plant instead, and it was then stuck at “life”).

But yeah, I’ve never understood the people who opt out on an account-wide basis. There’s a lot of potentially great observations languishing in the casual bin because someone misidentified it and opted out.


On one hand I find it incredibly annoying, it always seems like the people who opt out are also the people least likely to keep an eye on their observations and watch for dissenting ID’s.

However, I did have to opt out once. Some put an absolutely ludicrous ID on one of my observations and went inactive. I opted out and waited for a couple of experts to include their in put. Afterwards I opted back in.


Good advice. I did the opt-out just now on a single record of mine that’s been in limbo for a while because one reviewer IDed the wrong subject in the photo, despite my notes indicating the correct subject. Seems like a useful tool for those occasional records that are screwed up by wrong IDs.


Aha, so if an observation has several IDs and you then opt-out, that removes those IDs and you start over with a clean slate? Just want to make sure I understand how that works.

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They don’t disappear, but they no longer affect the leading ID at the top of the page.

If I say bird and 3 people say tree, the community ID is tree and the opted out ID is bird. If anyone checks the “No, it’s as good as it can be box” then the observation will now go casual.


Sort of. Like egordon88 said, it just doesn’t factor in what other identifiers say on the title. Also worth noting that observations can’t move in either direction when opted out. I’ve run into observations ID’d as Bombus, and it can’t move down to species unless the observer changes their ID.

In my example, the other guy’s disagreement meant that my observation languished in Genus limbo for months. Opting out meant that it was showing up as a species in the Needs ID searches.

So they do have their uses, but if I really want to correct a wrong opted out observation, I have to tag enough other identifiers to flip that one to casual, but the ID stays what observer wanted.


We have made 3,235 observations and opted out once. We identified an observation to species. Two users ID’d it as a different species. They had very little ID experience and no credentials: one has 13 total IDs in 1 year on iNat and the other has since been suspended. We tagged other users we respect. One, a well-known naturalist, teacher, and author, disagrees with the two dissenting IDs but never made an ID. He asked someone else to take a look at it, but that person did not participate. Our ID isn’t confirmed as accurate, and the two disagreeing IDs are likely not accurate. So this one is in limbo. Haven’t been tempted to opt out any other time.


I’ve thought about it a time or two where I knew what a species was but it wasn’t diagnosable from photos (some of my Nerodia records in particular). The pictures I managed to get weren’t really diagnosable but I saw more of the animal than I got in a photograph. Other than that, I don’t really get it either. And even those, if I have it in notes or if that’s the ID I put down…even if other people bump them up to genus I still know what they were

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I rarely do it, but when I do it’s because people have identified it to subspecies I don’t want attached to the observation. Not that the subspecies IDs are wrong, taxonomically, but they’re ones I personally don’t agree with.


For that once, I would be tempted to copypasta the relevant comment. Delete the obs. And upload again for a fresh attempt at Needs ID.


I’m curious now, which subspecies?
I’m not a fan of subspecies that are identified mainly by range - if it’s not dramatically visually different, the “it’s in X place so must be Z subspecies” just seems like a massive assumption.


I opted out for all observations temporarily once because a lot of my observations were getting knocked down to phylum by one person (unjustifiably, in my opinion. Some of my observations definitely would be fair to be knocked down like that, but these ones were pretty high quality, so it felt a little like sabotage.) and the person was unresponsive when I asked to talk about them not doing that, but continued doing so. I felt a little cornered and also wanted to avoid an uncomfortable confrontation so I opted out for maybe like a day or so, just so the situation would briefly halt. In hindsight, I wish I blocked before opting out, but again, I was worried about tensions raising if I blocked. It ended up being fine and I think more of a misunderstanding than anything. Opting out was somewhat helpful I guess but definitely not the correct route, nor was it what I ever really wanted to do. I just was looking for any solution.

I’ll opt out occasionally for individual observations if people ID the wrong thing and won’t remove it after I ask them to, or if someone suggests species level when I know it isn’t appropriate for it to go to that level due to quality or lack of features. That’s probably the only situation I ever find it needed in now, though.


I can understand more knowledgeable or experienced users opting out of ID because it sounds really annoying if someone is incorrectly identifying observations that you know a lot about or if they’re effectively being trolled.

I really don’t get doing this in any other circumstances. It feels like forcing the site to accept blatantly incorrect IDs, which just doesn’t seem helpful to anyone.


I would like - opted out of CID - to be on a banner up top.

Obs with a row of IDs from skilled identifiers, all wondering WHY the **** ID refuses to cooperate - till they realise opted out. As you say, not helpful. Those identifiers could have put their effort where it is accepted.


I also wouldn’t mind a filter in Identify that would filter out observations that have been opted out of Community ID. To me, opting out sends the message that the observer doesn’t care what others users think, so I’m not inclined to spend my time IDing those.


I have very few observations where I opted out. They are pretty much all cases where I’m trying to track phenology on something I’ve observed and identified before or later, and someone insists on knocking my species ID back to genus because “you can’t tell from a picture at this life cycle stage.” If I point out that I’ve seen it in this exact location at different stages and know what it is, some people insist that you can’t base on ID on anything other than what is in the actual observation. That sort of defeats the purpose of tracking phenology including stages where it may not be so obvious, such as seedlings for example.