I found a “project” called Island County, WA Organisms, created July, 13, 2018, that has freely added observations to the project, without either the observer having listed the observation as included in the project, nor the observer having given any other consent to have their observations added to the project. It now lists over 719,000 observations, from all over Washington State, most of them not in Island County, or in the broader “Puget Sound” area the project refers to, and invites observations from. I checked with one of the observers, and my asking about it was the first he learned that his observations, that weren’t even in Island County, were included in the project.
The administrator, “nafod” aka “SNM”, hasn’t made an iNaturalist observation for over a year, though he did make an identification a month and a half ago. The project has a vague delineation. First it says its name seems to indicate that it is for observations within Island County, Washington, then it describes its location as being in Island County, and 2 adjacent counties, San Juan, and Skagit Counties, then it wants observers to add observations from throughout the “Puget Sound”, then it wants people to include captive, and cultivated plants.
My current theory is that it was created by a young man (or could be a woman) who was enchanted by the idea of getting the most observations of the most species for his project, in his area that started with Island County, then expanded to 3 counties, then to the larger Puget Sound, then the whole state of Washington, not clearly mentioned in the project page.
I found a tab of the observations pages, as either map, grid, or list, to the upper right of the map, grid, or list, labelled “export observations”. I don’t quite know what it means, but I had to wonder if the administrator clicked on something to export some large number of observations from within Washington State into his project. It is hard to know how much the administrator knew what he was doing when clicking on all of the choices when setting up he project.
I then assume anyone administering a project on iNaturalist has the ability to do the same, putting a substantial flaw in the whole “project” system.
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Step 3:Check their map of observations