Forced merge if no response

In which Wildbook did the issue occur? All?

What operating system were you using? (eg. MacOS 10.15.3)WIn 11

What web browser were you using? (eg. Chrome 79) Chrome latest

What is your role on the site? (admin, researcher, etc) Researcher

What happened? During training of a new user, a match between two wild dogs was presented where one of the dogs did not belong to the users org. From the online manual we understand the following will happen if the user checks the match box

** If the annotation is on an encounter for which the ID has been set and the candidate annotation has a different ID set, selecting the checkbox will display a new button in the upper right Merge individuals. Click Merge individuals to merge the two Marked Individuals into a single record, assigning all encounters from both previously individuals to a single individual.*

However, if User 1 does not own the Individual targetted for the merge the following applies;
if a user doesn’t own any of the previous encounters of the individual they want to merge with, they need permission from someone who does. Those owners are sent a notification in Wildbook to approve or deny the request. If nobody responds to the merge request after two weeks, the merge is completed. In order to cancel a pending merge request, you need to contact the owner of the encounter and ask them to deny the merge.

See example here (#1 in list of match candidates is case in point)

What did you expect to happen?
We believe this approach is undesirable as it is common for our users to be off the system for weeks or months while in the field. We plan to poll our users on an alternative solution but suggest that until another solution is found, the merge does not take place automatically after two weeks. Please make that change on these systems (ACW, Wild North, Whiskerbook)



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I would go further to recommend that the merge cannot happen unless and until the other user agrees. Just like a collaboration request, there should be no automated merging of data between 2 non-collaborating users without the explicit acceptance of the other user.

The additional concern is that a user who is unfamiliar with how this functionality works could initiate this kind of merge without understanding the full implications and then find their individual falls under another organization’s ID catalog without a means to undo the error.


I’m switching this from a bug report to a feature request because the feature is working as intended and this is a request to change its current behavior.

Hi @Anastasia, while I understand the switch of category, I’d like to highlight that this contradicts the siloed security model in that it allows non-collaborating users to effectively edit each other’s data through this security loophole, and worse, it can be done without the knowledge of one of the users if they happen to not log in for a couple of weeks or more, which is very common in our user community.