Eliminating Monthly and 2020 Individual Observation Leaderboards During Coronavirus Pandemic

I joined iNaturalist to make this comment. I enjoy the site and would like to contribute in the future. I noticed that iNaturalist keeps leaderboards for monthly and 2020 total individual observations. Making these statistics public might encourage unsafe behavior among certain observers. They could possibly place their own goals ahead of their own health and their community’s health. I don’t think it would hurt iNaturalist to eliminate the publication of these statistics during this terrible health crisis. I’m not referring to the cumulative observer leaderboards by taxon and location. These should remain.


Welcome to the forum!

@moderators - this might be better served as a feature request.

1 Like

Keep in mind people can make observations from their own home without interacting with anyone. Take Vic Fazio III for example: almost all of his observations are from moth nets set up at home (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&subview=grid&user_id=vicfazio3)


Welcome to the iNaturalist community. Why not give that community the opportunity to behave responsibly, in accordance with each individual member’s own specific circumstances? :man_shrugging:


I think that’s great.


I understand I’m coming in as an outsider. Everyone has the opportunity to behave
responsibly and should. What I think is a problem is the possible incentivization of
bad behavior. I think most of the great observers on the site will behave responsibly,
but I’m worried about some people who may be thinking more about their statistics than
their neighbors.


I was going to reply in a similar manner as stephen220, but then I thought about it and I agree with you. It’s not a suggestion to stop observing, just to take away that incentive to get that one more observation to beat so-and-so by sneaking out to the local park, or popping down to the beach and getting a few intertidals. I think a message to “Stay safe and follow your local Covid-19 guidelines” alongside the leaderboard would be sufficient, but if anyone sees activity that might suggest there is encouragement of risk behaviour then full removal of them would be prudent.


They should delete all of the leader boards and top contributor statuses completely. Permanently. They do nothing but create elitist behavior.

It’s not a video game so therefor leader boards are unnecessary.


I have to disagree with you here, seems like an unnecessarily extreme action. Leaderboards are a useful tool for people to decide who to tag to help with IDs.

Also, I don’t think I’ve observed any elitist behaviour from any top users for pretty much most taxa.


I disagree. iNat mission is to encourage appreciation of nature, and if the leaderboard encourages some to participate then it is very much on-mission. The “competition” it creates is of an amateur form rather than professional, so it helps to build community as well, another of iNats core objectives.

I personally don’t like leaderboards, but I appreciate others do…


Honestly, I think anyone who is going to act like that, on iNat of all places, will be doing it no matter what with many other things.

This is not a community like other social media platforms and the sort of behavior seen on those isn’t really representative of the behavior of the iNat community as a whole.

You said you joined iNat specifically to make this comment, but that also suggests that you’re not enormously familiar with the community (I may well be wrong on that though).

I agree with @stephen220 and @thebeachcomber brings up a good point.


I don’t know how effective this would be, or whether the message should be more prominent than just alongside leaderboards, but if the message reflects iNat’s principles, I think it should be stated.


Just joined on April 1st, just to recommend something about the leaderboards that he happened to know existed? ? ?

What day is it?


Neither going to the local park nor popping down to the beach are against self-isolation guidelines. You can certainly go on long hikes and never see a soul.


Lol. Got a point there. Might have heard it from a friend.

This is a sincere sentiment. I’m a nature enthusiast and have enjoyed and learned from the observations and identifications on iNaturalist for a long time. I live in New York City, which is undergoing a horrible ordeal.


That really depends on where you are. If you are in an urban area like NYC, or where I live in the suburbs of Washington DC, local parks and trails are often very crowded, even now. In some places (from what I understand), people are not even allowed to really leave their property. It really just depends on what rules and guidelines have been put into place where you live.


I think it probably would be a good idea to remove the monthly leaderboards for the next few months if they seem to be encouraging unsafe/irresponsible behavior (with the thousands of people using iNaturalist, that’s not unlikely to happen), but I think the data should still be accessible elsewhere on the site.

This has become an issue here in NZ. Our culture here is very “outdoorsy”… fishing, hunting, surfing, mountain climbing, bungy jumping… we have a terrific search and rescue service, not to mention surf lifesaving and police and all the other components… if you go out and get “stuck” (and remember we are heading into winter here in NZ) then you are exposing rescue services and their families to risk. If you are 1km from home and get a flat tire and the spare is no good, you can walk home… but if you are 15km from home and crash, then you are likely to need assistance. Even if you don’t get stuck yourself, you are “setting an example” for others that it is ok to go out and take risks. Here in NZ the rules are “stay home, don’t travel any further than you need to and only for essential needs.”