"Duress" and "Contest" users

Maybe offer a webpage or version of the app tailored specifically to handle cases like these?

Maybe if there’s something that could do the heavy lifting of presenting the website to a group setting where there’s going to be tons of observations, teachers will spring for that versus something that involves a lot of their downtime being spent on trying to curate too many observations. It could be tailored towards advice like 'if you don’t know, use general suggestions like ‘plant’, ‘animal’, etc, as well as giving people an understanding of how the AI works, and to not treat it like a magic 8 ball.

The downsides I could see with this is 1. Making sure it’s available in several languages, 2. Yet another thing that needs to be synced up if something changes on iNat.


Just adding a cross-reference to a related discussion in a feature request (now closed). See the last post in that discussion for some of the ideas that staff are considering.


You know, in addition to how it could help alleviate the issue of duress users, this could also help users in general. I know when I started using iNat, it took a while to find resources on some of the routine processes. Having a tutorial could make sure that relevant info is at least delivered. Especially in educational settings, it seems that teachers aren’t doing this well enough anyway. Translation probably would be important as duress projects seem to be popping up more globally now (see the Ecuador and Penang events). It would also be something that could be tied into the considerations of a trust system from the above-linked thread.


Good to hear some of the ideas are moving forward. I still like the idea of the student accounts but it just may not fit within the programming and website development framework, and in the least it’s worth trying out the new Seek and seeing if that can take up some of the demand.


In many (most?) cases I think this would be at least as helpful for the teachers as for the students – unless the teacher is already an experienced iNat user.


A tutorial may also help reduce multiple-species observations.


I know other threads about the Computer Vision are on here, but I think it’s also an issue here. I have been trying to help out on what may be a class today–a class that seems to be trying–and sometimes it is very hard trying to type in an ID. For example, someone has an “Unknown” with description “spider.” I try to add an ID of “spider” and the Computer Vision keeps interrupting with a drop-down list of other unrelated things. I finally have to type in the scientific name instead. This is probably unavoidable where multiple organisms are in the photo. I can see how these students would be frustrated and just leave their IDs at “Unknown” though.


@graysquirrel If you start a feature request for this, I’ll vote for it! :wink:


Chiming in as a “Duress” user turned frequent-casual user -

As soon as my teacher introduced INat. to our class, I instantly fell in love with it. I love taking pictures of wildlife, and this is the perfect place for me to post them (I love science too)!

“Duress” is a good way to introduce the site to people who would be interested in it, but I agree that many classmates probably aren’t as interested, and some seemed to have dropped the class when asked to make 14 observations with “full” descriptions. My teacher did devote a lesson to using INaturalist, so she did her due diligence.

Not saying people weren’t thinking it’s a good way to get the word out or anything, just presenting myself as evidence :D


Very helpful perspective @tmandalios, thank you for chiming in, and glad you stayed with us!


yep, thank you! All the more reason to have separate student accounts, and those who choose to stay with us can change to a ‘regular’ account. Though i doubt it happens, i think it’s challenging to code and enforce.

As an ethnobotany instructor who has students use iNaturalist I think a student account, potentially with some linkage to the instructor who then has some responsibility for vetting the observations, makes sense. That alone is probably difficult to code. The student account also ought to have a path to accommodate those such as @tmandalios who go on to use iNaturalist beyond their experience in the classroom. This is my hope as an instructor: that students will use the app beyond the class. My students come from dozens of remote islands in the Pacific, they have the potential to record species in places those from outside the islands rarely visit. Thus the student account should reach some level of trust that delinks them from their instructor and establishes them as a contributor in their own right. And, yes, my over-excited students took too many pictures of the same plants during their first outing with the app. And images of each other when they discovered that the app would identify Homo sapiens.


I think it would be really easy to implement “mentor accounts”, rather than “student accounts”. If an account can nominate another account as mentor, then that mentor account could log into the students account and make (restricted) changes. For instance, they could reply to comments from others (but their replies get a differentiation to show they came from the mentor rather than the student, something like a text line under the comment saying “from mentor: kiwifergus” etc). Or they could withdraw (but not delete) IDs, Change pin locations or edit time/date on observations, basic stuff that is often problematic for new users. The mentor setting could last for a set period of time, say 6 months, and then gets automatically dropped. The student could reset it at any time, including while it is set so that the 6 mths counter restarts. That way, 6 months after the student last set it, they just become a normal account.

I have encountered times when I have a new user who is not very PC savvy, and I am asking them to split up a multi species obs, or merge multiple obs into a single obs. If they struggle particularly, then it would be great to be able to sign into their account and do some of the more difficult stuff for them. Of course, if they wanted to they could share the password and it would have the same effect, but I really cringe at the idea of having to do that.


I mentored my 11 year old grandson’s iNat account until it became obvious he was more tech savvy than I was…


lol, yes! You could set him as YOUR mentor!


how does it go? “Special kind of swap”

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This is my favorite suggestion so far. Would love to see something like this implemented.

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I’m kind of bummed about the idea of just pushing education users to Seek - I really love the concept of citizen science as building actual datasets, and kids (even little ones) usually respond really positively to that, too. It just seems like we could miss some potentially very valuable data if they’re just using Seek to ID and leaving it at that. A more comprehensive tutorial seems like a much preferable alternative. Or warning flags when someone else has to tag it as casual - “It looks like you’ve uploaded a cultivated observation without tagging it. Please try to limit observations to wild plants and animals, and mark other species as “cultivated” on upload.” Maybe there could be a system where 3 warnings where others have to tag it as “casual” gets the account routed back to the tutorial or temporarily locked.

Also, with the idea of building datasets, if the app/website were more clear about the fact that users are actually contributing to real science data and it requires human intervention to fix their errors, kids/beginning users might take it more seriously. Even just modifying the app store description. A lot of people seem to begin using iNat with the idea that they’re using some sort of Instagram for nature photos. Clarification in branding could help.


Well, it doesn’t have anything to do with age. There are some quite young people on here who are great inat users. It’s the duress users that are the issue. It doesn’t seem to help them to be here and it doesn’t help us either.


I just checked the app store description and it clearly addresses how iNat observations add to science, as does the home webpage. Not everybody reads it, but it’s there. (But you are right that many first users think it is Facebook or Instagram for nature photos.)

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