Why some people insist on repeating giving ID under an observation of an obvious species?

I have seen this phenomenon for so many times.
Generally, two or three correct ID will make an observation “Research Grade”. But still someone continually giveing ID under that. But I don’t even understand why they give ID again and again under a Research Grade observation.
Do they expressing their love or admire to the fantastic species by that? But they obviously can do it by giving their comment or fave the observation. Or do they just do it to get more ID to get good place on the rank of Top Identifiers? Imagine that everyone can also be a top identifiers by just agree the ID again and again, but without even know anything about the species.
I am wondering if we can set a limitation that once a observation is on Research Grade, same identification can’t be made or can’t be agreed any longer, but people still can give comment to express their thought or give a different ID in case it is wrong.


You can add those iders to ignore list, it won’t affect their ids, but you will not get notifications about them. It’s a hard question, some people like rechecking RG observations (though not always they do it correctly), some as you say wanted to get higher in leaderboards (as I know now it’s not counted as ids in profile, though I could be wrong), some don’t want to fave observations and add their ids instead.
You can’t set limit on ids, cause in hard cases of wrong ids there’re “wars” of 20 ids from each side, if you set the limit such observations will never get RG and setting high limit won’t help the problem.


Yes there are a few on the Asia leaderboard who only agree to RG observations and never id non RG observations. Unfortunately we can’t do much about it unless there is a point system to differentiate original id and those who just agree.

I don’t mean setting limit all the time but exclusively when it is RG, same ID can’t be made but not different ID, so that one can give a different ID to reject the existing ID or agree his side. When a observation is not yet RG, you still can do what you can.

I think it is impossible to generalize in cases like these. Some of the cases I have seen or personally experienced are as follows:

  • former IDs load slowly
  • individuals want to be high in the leaderboards
  • users add IDs to a unique or interesting observation in lieu of hitting the follow tab (e.g. observation of the day, regional variation, aberrancies, vagrants)
  • users add IDs to a species that is likely to be split or changed in the near future as a way to easily come back to follow up on the observation once the taxonomic change is implemented
  • a species that is frequently misidentified by the AI and users is liable to have a second incorrect ID disrupt the community ID by agreeing with the initial incorrect ID (e.g. spinybacked orbweavers in the Americas are often misidentified as black-and-white spiny spiders even after reaching research grade; adding agreeing IDs to corrections can help bolster the correct ID)

For the most part, none of these are very disruptive, but as mentioned above you can add IDers to ignore lists or unfollow observations for which you don’t want to be spammed with notifications. Putting limitations on agreeing IDs, though an understandable impulse, would do more harm than good.


Let me give an example for the limitation.
Suppose an observation was ID as “Tiger” and in RG, so that others can’t give a “Tiger” ID any longer. But if I don’t agree it is a Tiger (Or it is not in fact), I still can give a “Lion” ID. Untill it is RG “Lion”.

There are many reasons why this can happen.

Some users do it to help learn a species
Some users do yes do it to easily move up the leaderboards
Some do it because they feel no observation is truly properly identified until they do an identification
Some do it feeling adding more ID’s adds additional weight that the community supports the id
Some do it when they are on the identify page and it gets identified while they have the page open and just proceed anyway

And likely more reasons. None are against the rules on the site.

Rather than unfollowing people which can be very time consuming, if you are worried about getting notifications sent to you, under Account Settings is an option to turn off being sent notifications for ID’s which agree with yours. That will globally silence the notifications (note you will still get a notification about comments)

EDIT - was obviously composing this while the above very similar list was being done and got beat to the post button…


Mostly what I see isn’t the first reason. Because people still agreeing ID under an observation which have been RG since a few months ago.
For me, usually I won’t use agree to take the place of fave. As a user with over 15000 ID and make dozens of new ID everyday. This way just like a grain of sand dropping in the sea and hard to be find again in the ID list.

In my experience, there are a lot of fly observations that are Research Grade, but have been identified incorrectly but unknowledgable users. Going through Research Grade observations, agreeing with the correct ones, and disagreeing with the incorrect ones, is helpful to everyone.


I thought I have expressed clearly.
If a RG observation is in fact wrong or you disagree others idea, you can still give another ID on it. But same ID can’t be made.
Or else if a RG observation is given too many same wrong ID, it will require much more right ID to cover it. Sometime it might even marked as “Maverick” even if the new ID is actually correct.

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So iNat staff actually tried something like this last summer, and backlash was huge. People were so upset, I was amazed. https://www.inaturalist.org/blog/38475-less-agreeable-observations-more-agreeable-text-formatting


Just to be clear, they did not remove the ability to add additional ID’s, they simply removed the Agree button. Adding additional ID’s was still possible.


I really don’t see the problem here. The competition in who makes more IDs isn’t the primary point of iNat, or is it? I for one am happy for each and every ID given to my observations, because it reinforces my trust in the ID. There are plenty of “Research grade” observations here that are wrong, because it takes just one person agreeing with the initial guess to reach this level. Especially for things I have not much idea about, I do not feel very confident when just two people tell me the species - I know it very well from birds, where I have much more knowledge, that even experienced observers can be wrong for tricky photos. So I am really happy when some of my observations that I see as “unsure” get extra IDs. I just completely fail to understand how does it cause even the slightest harm to anything but some random competition …


Personally, I add repeat IDs under certain species, even if there are a lot of agreeing IDs:

  1. When it’s a taxa I’m learning to ID so I’m practicing
  2. When it’s a taxa I know well but the AI sometimes give wrong results (edited to add: yes I know that adding additional confirmatory IDs does not improve the AI results. I only mean that sometimes species are commonly confused and sometimes that’s related to the AI suggested identifications, and I go through commonly confused species and agree when I agree, and disagree when there’s a mistake. I know I could use ‘reviewed’ but I tend to use that function for ones I’m not sure of but I think someone else could be. I then go back through reviews periodically as my ID abilities improve)
  3. When I’m actually adding annotations (phenology, life stage) and the confirmatory ID is just an afterthought

I don’t love getting tons of notifications either, so I turned off alerts for IDs that agree with mine.


Maybe you’re not one of us getting 200 notifications about crow observations instead of actually useful ids? They don’t id hard taxa, they choose the most basic species.


There have been several posts on the forum before asking why people engage in this behavior and implying it is a negative issue.

I totally agree with @opisska and don’t understand why this is something to get upset about. People will interact with iNat in ways that they want to and for their own reasons. @cmcheatle gave a great list. There’s no rule against IDing as many observations as they want.

If getting notifications are an issue for people, you can turn them off, but otherwise I feel this is just a live and let live issue. Trying to artificially restrict interactions with the site with no clear benefit is likely to frustrate many users and turn them off to interacting. If anything a change to limit agreeing IDs might make things more of a competition! Be sure to get your ID submitted before the ID limit kicks in, etc.!


Just to be clear, doing so in no way impacts the behaviour of the AI. Once a certain number of photos are available, the ones used for the training are randomly chosen in order to ensure a realistic set that matches what gets submitted are used. Photos used for the AI are not chosen from records with more ID’s or any other criteria.


To elaborate, any id entered by a user is supposed to be something they can identify based on their own knowledge and skills. Blindly mass clicking the agree button to drive up your numbers is against the rules. If you can however do the id and want to agree to 10,000 blue jay identifications, that is permitted.


Yes, I just mean that sometimes I go through both RG and needs-id for a species I know is sometimes confused (like Lygaeus and Oncopeltus), so if I see that the ID is correct, I’ll just agree so it stops showing up in my checks through the commonly confused species. I know I could check ‘reviewed’ but I typically use review for “I can’t tell, but I think someone else could.” And while confirming the ID won’t change AI behavior, correcting incorrectly RG results for one taxa to the correct taxa could improve the results for those two taxa and improve the differentiations for these species by taking out errors.


I do not understand what is problematic about this.