Deceased observers - and a deceased symbol on their icon

Is there any chance that we can please have a way that curators can mark observers that have died, so that it shows on their profile (a simple cross would be OK)?

We have quite a few in our southern African community, and I suspect that they are getting messages, in addition to the requests on their observations as comments. (I have inadvertently added questions to some users that I should have known were deceased, but was kindly reminded by other users).

As time progresses, there are going to be more and more “ghosts” on iNaturalist.

Ideally a date (year only) of deceased would be nice too on the profile, and just a cross on their icon on the observations.

I like this idea very much.

I like this as well, though I’d just suggest a different icon - cultural connotations.


“When placed immediately before or after a person’s name, the dagger indicates that the person is deceased.”


I like this idea but we’ll have to figure out a protocol for how to determine the user has passed. I’ll look into how other social networks handle it (if they do).


Yes, I agree that this feature is needed, and I also agree that there should at least be dual confirmation by curators, if not stronger vetting.

I also think there should be a short waiting period before it goes into effect. (Not too many communications should accumulate after a week or two…) Over the years I’ve received a few “false alarms” in my email, and a short waiting period would avoid disturbing folks whose reported deaths have been greatly exaggerated.

You will probably also need to figure out where you stand if an heir should come along and assert ownership over the old account.


Good idea… I agree with what maybe a issue with icons or maybe one could be offered
Per cultural preference


They know the people.;u=2618

I support this (but would rather not use a cross, unless we specifically know that person wanted it). One of my friends from grad school had unfortunately passed away and i’d been hoping to get something on her account saying that she was deceased, but there’s no way to do so now. It could just say ‘deceased’ though we’d need to make sure any translations are very careful.

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We also have a case where fans and followers create an account in honour of someone. (
So a “dead” account is not necessarily closed - it might still be in use for various reasons (e.g. uploading unfinished observations).

If someone wants to continue an ancestor’s account and has the password, it should be their choice to remove the “dagger of death”. Or explain their use in the profile. If they have access to the account via the password.


That article also says “The dagger should not be confused with the Unicode characters “Latin cross” (:latin_cross:, U+271D), …” if that makes any difference to this discussion.
I don’t see an issue with having (deceased) or something like that instead though, except that it would be something more that needs translating.

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dagger and double-dagger are literary marks, in a similar way to how postscripting works…?

Sometimes people give a list of their social media and other passwords to the person designated to take care of their affairs after death, with instructions to end their online presence at that time to keep their accounts from being misused. I’m just bringing this up because it would seem to tie in to the whole “deleted accounts” discussion and the disappearance of all of their previous observations and IDs, and those may be unintended consequences. I don’t have any suggestions, just thinking that an option of making previous observations and IDs anonymous may become more important as people age and die.


I think a symbol based on either religion or culture is a bad idea.

I much prefer this idea.


Don’t know if this has come up on previous threads, but would it be possible to give people the choice of whether they want their obs to be deleted, set to anonymous, or left attributed to them? And whether they want their obs to continue to be updated and improved? Both for people who arrange their affairs prior to deceasing or those who choose to leave?

It seems like a terrible waste of precious data to make it all unavailable, and over time we will all die or leave, meaning that the database would continually lose its history…

I’d test it to see what it currently does but don’t want to delete my account by mistake.


@KitKestrel, I think this is covered somewhere in here:

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Many thanks.


Flickr recently introduced an “In Memoriam” account type, posting here for reference.


do they delete dead people’s photos if they don’t posthumously pay for ‘pro’?


From the link Tony posted:

In memoriam accounts will preserve all public content in a deceased member’s account, even if their Pro subscription lapses