Thinking about all of the new and existing feature requests, the recent huge project in Malaysia, and the continued issues with students being assigned to use iNaturalist, I thought it might be helpful to have a broader discussion here.
In my definition:
Duress Users are users who are assigned to use iNaturalist for a class or something similar. They aren’t here because they want to be. Their grade often depends on getting a certain number of research grade observations. Some teachers do zero curation. Some of these users are very young and aren’t even supposed to be on the site without adult supervision, and these projects hardly count as such. Duress users almost never become power users or long time casual iNat users, though there are exceptions.
Contest Users (I just made this one up recently) are users who join as part of a contest like a big nature challenge or bioblitz. Often these projects involve many thousands of observations, with little or no curation. Since there’s often a contest to see who can get the most observations, their observations get very ‘spammy’ - 12 photos of the same cat, things not tagged as not wild, other data quality issues. They are less of an issue than duress users perhaps, but i think still very few of them stay here long term.
I feel like a lot of the issues iNat is facing now would be solved or decreased if we had a better way to manage these users, though I don’t know the best way to do that. A few ideas that have been thrown out there:
-Changes in how research grade works
-Direct them towards Seek or some version tehreof
-Tweak iNat outreach to discourage this type of use and move twoards more sustainable user base (though that may be hard).