Allow staff to grant users access to other users' inactive projects

Platform(s) All

Description of need
Often times users create projects. Often times users become inactive. If they were the only people admining the project and don’t reply to messages this could cause problems to be lost forever.

Feature request details:
Allow users to request via an inat admin process to become project admins to help continue the project moving forward. You cannot make projects with the same name as another one so without this some projects are truly lost.

staff can already do just about anything in the system, but the question is whether they would want to get involved in that sort of process?


Interesting suggestion. I’ve created dozens of projects, and I’d be perfectly OK with someone else taking them over if I become inactive for say 6 months or more. Just having a way to indicate that to staff would be nice.


I’ve had periods of inactivity up to a year or 2, but never abandoned the site or thought I was done with it, so I would not want people to lose their projects over a
temporary inactivity


True, I wouldn’t say just from a temporary inactivity. For example, if you contacted them and got no response and saw the they haven’t been on iNat for a while you would send in a request to be the new “head admin” of the project. Then, the admins would send the user a message saying if you would like to regain admin status please reply to this.


On your profile you can see the last time a user was active.

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I support this although as @pisum noted this probably doesn’t need to be a feature request as such - iNat staff can already do this kind of thing if necessary. There are quite a few projects that were started earlier in iNat’s life, and have gained some popularity over the years, but the creators (and sole admins) have disappeared from iNat. I’m talking 5+ years. So I think there should be some policy mechanism to allow for adding of interested admins to “abandoned” projects. For collection projects it’s not a big deal, but for traditional projects where 1000s of observations have been added by hand over the last 10+ years, I don’t think “well, just start a new project” is a great answer. I don’t think there are that many of these projects (so probably not a huge workload for staff), and in cases where you have a traditional project that’s been abandoned by the creator for 5+ years or something, it seems like a reasonable ask.

NB: I don’t think anyone is asking for removal of the creator, just adding an additional project admin.


One reason I could see for doing this with a Collection Project is if there is enough of a community around the project (identifiers, observers who prioritize contributing to the project, etc.) that losing the ability to coordinate activities/provide updates through project posts might be a problem.

It does seems like there would need to be a sort of “general notability” criterion for adding a new curator/manager to a project, but I assume people wouldn’t be asking for access to projects that were set up with closed member lists or very clear time/member criteria (like projects for courses or trips)

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if you allow this, please do not transfer visibility of obscured observations by default. I may have allowed viewing of those by the initial project user because i trusted them specifically, and if i didn’t know the new person i wouldn’t want to by default trust them with that.


We consider a project to be “owned” by the account that made them, just like observations, etc., and won’t interfere unless the project breaks the Terms of Use or Community Guidelines, so I’m going to decline this request. It’s up to the project creator to take responsibility for their project and any form of succession or transfer, there are existing mechanisms for this.


Would you (staff) consider emailing the owner of an account who created one of these projects, to let them know someone would be interested to take over their project? One project I have in mind, the owner has not logged into iNat since 2018 and may not have even supplied an email address when they created their account. It’s a traditional project with thousands of obs. added manually by hundreds of users over the last 10+ years. People are still using it but likely don’t understand that the project is effectively abandoned forever. It’s not really a big deal, but it would be nice if there was some kind of “solution” for this situation.

Would you alternately consider putting a note in the project description like “NOTE: This project may have been abandoned by the original creator. Please consider adding your observations to a different project”


More projects than that cause problems. For example, if someone created a project and it left iNat after doing so and this caused the project to be forgotten, but it was an important category, say for an entire state, you cannot create a project with the same name as another one thus causing that project to be “landlocked”.

There are two projects titled Biodiversity of Mississippi. They don’t have identical content. Both are collection projects and I can’t really see a problem. Maybe you can’t make two “traditional” projects with the same name?

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In that case either let that project be, or make a new project with a slightly different name if you feel that it’s necessary to make the project.

One has as period at the end of its title.


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