Extremely negative initial experience

It’s my first day on this forum. I came here to report a couple of bugs, and make a couple of feature requests. Instead, this has been my experience:

  1. One bug report, I cannot even describe, because it requires linking to some things on my profile, and the forum refuses to allow me to include links to inaturalist in a post. I think maybe I have to wait for higher reputation on this forum software, but the fact that it blocks even links to inaturalist seems over the top.

  2. Made a simpler bug report. 15 minutes later, I get a message that my post has been flagged as spam and hidden! It was not spam, it was a legitimate bug report - https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/life-list-shows-withdrawn-id-still-not-fixed/14048 - who would just quietly flag it as “spam” without comment?

  3. Made a feature request - https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/add-radius-option-to-search-filters/14049 - and minutes later, a moderator closed it and converted it into a comment on a 100+ comment thread, where any individual request is buried. The moderator points me to a document showing that this is actually policy, so they acted appropriately, but the policy seems wrong. The point of specific individual feature requests is so that people can see them, and vote on them, and maybe comment on them so there can be a discussion of a specific request.

If it were just the third item, I would make a post here on #forum-feedback about that, and ask that the policy be reconsidered because it seems counterproductive. But given my other two experiences just before that, what I actually feel is that this whole forum is a toxic trash heap that is designed to intimidate and reject new users, I’m not welcome, all it will do is make me angry and feel like I’m hitting my head against the wall, and I might as well leave.

While the iNaturalist discord has given me a positive feeling towards inaturalist and a sense of community, this forum does exactly the opposite. It makes me feel bitter and rejected and gives a very negative impression of iNaturalist as a whole. So I’m going away, but leaving this piece of feedback here in case the people who run this forum care and want to change it for the better.

What I expect is more likely, is that this post will be hidden for some policy violation I cannot guess at yet, nobody will see it, and the forum will continue making people feel shitty but hiding it from everyone else, so those who have passed their initiation here won’t know how yucky it is for newcomers.


Hi @cos, sorry you had a bad experience on the forum. As noted below, some of the forum settings have been updated to address the issues you encountered.

I think I’ve changed the settings so that posts are allowed to link to forum posts, iNaturalist, and some of the most frequented iNaturalist network sites (inaturalist.ca and naturalista.mx).

It was automatically flagged by the system, not by a person. I think I’ve changed the setting so that it won’t automatically flag new uses for posting links to approved domains (as above).

This is correct, and not a judgement on the merit of the suggestion, but just a practical approach to managing feature requests related to observation search. We won’t tackle any of those items independently, so it makes sense for staff to have them in one place when we’re ready to tackle that.

Lastly, I’ve moved this to the forum feedback category since these are all about the forum.


Hi @cos, hope you do stick around. I’m sorry that you had a negative experience and I hope we can get that fixed in the future (what Carrie did seems like a good fix).


I agree with you dude. Welcome to Inat.

This forum is a pretty unfriendly place complete with tyrannical mods and curators. Believe me, it doesn’t get any more pleasant then you already experienced. A lot of my posts here, even though I don’t post much at all, gets hidden and forbidden and just like yours gets moved to a mass dump thread.

This site is hugely policed and censored and seems to be going in the route of favoring certain people of certain popularity and work / job / professional status and treats anybody else like garbage. They don’t seem to respect citizen science anymore.They should be showing more respect for nature, wildlife and the environment and all users that are interested in that. Which is what this site is supposed to be about.

My advice. Enjoy the Inat site as it is a lot of fun to conduct wildlife studies and post them here and post on the forum as little as possible as the forum is just a really cold, bitter unfriendly place.

Watch now, my comment will be hidden and forbidden no doubt.


I can not even begin to guess why you would get negative reactions.


Which forum and who are “they” do you refer to? That is the most welcoming place and you’re the one who’s not respecting other users now.


How am I not respecting? I mentioned no names at all, no users at all. You ask, who are they? I am not mentioning any names out of respect. Then you say I am not respecting?

I was merely explaining to @cos my experience. Which sounded similar to his.

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You say people are getting treated like garbage, I’d like to see any examples of that. OP problems were: 1. redirecting one post to another, which helps stuff to do their work. 2. not allowing new users to post links to prevent bot spamming, I see nothing that would trigger such a responce.


yikes. not my experience here at all. I think you’ll find that with continued use and contribution, the forum is a very warm and welcoming place which encourages interesting discussion. what have you been posting that needs to be censored? If you have an issue with the actions of a moderator or on the site, don’t hesitate to bring the specifics up (whether through messages or in a post as OP did here). I don’t think any of the mods have vendettas here and I think you’ll find them to be quite understanding if you try to initiate correspondence (and don’t immediately go into the defence).


I’m very confused by this. I link iNaturalist all the time with no problem. Was the setting in question regarding new users or the bug report category specifically?


I am all the time. By mods even. One mod even insulted me and called my college diploma a certificate and insinuated that it was worthless and unimportant. That was after viciously attacking me on a fish post of which several other mods and professionals were attacking me. Which I reported and the mod I reported it to was friends with her, so he took her / there side.

I can’t even post a picture of a fish on here with out being viciously attacked. So I don’t even post many fish pictures any more and just keep them to myself.

You can’t report them. They are not hired by anybody, have no bosses and are free to do whatever they want with no consequences. That’s why tyrannical behaviors exist sometimes and also because mods are friends with other mods and curators, they always just back each other up.

Policing without supervision results in lawlessness for the powerless.

That is sad, is that thread still on? That sounds like something personal, would like to see the conversation to decide if there’re right or wrong sides. I never saw anything like this and I check all the posts (I have a lot of spare time).


You can’t report them. They are not hired by anybody, have no bosses and are free to do whatever they want with no consequences.

talk to them. they’re human. if you feel that a mod is abusing their power then you can bring this up to staff. I’m sorry you’ve had such a negative experience. I know it sucks to be in a forum where you feel unwelcome. just remember that what you bring to a discussion will be similar to what you receive. your response to this thread was pretty unprompted and combative and didn’t have much to do with OP’s concerns; I suggest making another topic if you have specific things you’d like to address.


Yeah, see “new user tried to create multiple posts with links to the same domain”, so just new users.

Unfortunately when the system detects spam, it’s not correct all the time. So there are a lot of false positives that staff and moderators have to manually reject.

Meanwhile, the post is temporarily hidden, and there are not always staff or volunteers watching the incoming flags 24/7, so it can take some time to unhide the auto-spam-flagged posts. Hopefully Carrie’s tweaks to the settings will help prevent this happening in the future.


@cos @jameson_nagle I’m sorry you guys have had a bad experience here. I must say that this is a wonderful community though. I was welcomed, and not one person has ever insulted me. They always answer my questions very nicely, and in detail, (even the stupid ones, which I now realize were pretty obvious), and are very informative. I really hope you don’t develop an opinion of the community here based on only a few people. There will never be a perfect community, with everyone always nice, sweet, etc, that is impossible. But the majority of this community is very sweet, and understanding, and I hope you will give them another chance.


Gosh, I’m sorry you feel so badly about things. There have been surprises, in my iNat experience, but pretty much they were good surprises. There seems to be a kind of a learn-as-you-go progression environment. When I started, I did not know that certain usages were not in my privileges, until I received a notice saying I had earned them (for completing a tutorial, for reading a lot, etc.) I’ve always been treated with respect and understanding, though I have ~no~ credentials.
Anyhoo, I hope you will find enough value to stick around… give it some time…


So I’ve read all the posts that appear on your profile and can’t find the “fish post” you refer to. A link to it would help clarify what you’re describing and seems appropriate, especially given the nature of your denunciations.


Hmm…I am really sorry (and surprised)to read about your negative experiences. Yes, there are quite heated arguments sometimes on the Forum, bur nothing outside normal. Unless, of course, one uses inappropriate language, I suppose. Never seen that on the Forum, but maybe because such examples are removed by the moderators. Could you repeat here some example of what was hidden/forbidden or dumped? So that the forumers could judge by themselves?


Sorry to hear of such a lousy experience. Its not been my experience in general, though of course there are some frustrations, but there is also a lot of helpful explanation, assistance, and, at the very least, commiseration. I hope you give it another go, though I can certainly understand why you might not.

If its any consolation, i just had a week like that, but on unrelated matters. Fortunately the previous week was sprinkled with surprisingly good outcomes in various endeavours, so I keep telling myself this is just a rare bad patch. I hope the same is true for you with this forum.


I think you may be conflating forum moderator and site curators which are two different roles, but that’s just an aside.

This is simply not true. The site has removed curator status and even banned the accounts of multiple curators for what they consider to be inappropriate behaviour over time. All curators on the site are required to follow the terms of use an curator guide and know failing to do so can result in consequences. I am not a forum mod, but assume they are required to do the same.