Hiding/covering sensitive observations

Hi everyone,

I’ve stumbled upon a Harbor porpoise washed up on the beach, and would like to INat it as I think it could be useful to researchers (?) but I don’t want someone scrolling through to maybe get upset by the image (not graphic, just a little sad). Is there a way to hide the image either from the general public or put a “explicit content” screen over it?

Or, should I just avoid posting it as it could cause more harm then good?

Thanks for the help!


Related https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/implement-photo-blur-on-observations-annotated-as-dead/21214


I agree with this! Sometimes I like to look through species tags just to see cute pictures, and while I get that dead animals are important observations, it can still be pretty sad to see dead animals.


For right now definitely put it up and then add “dead” to the annotations on the side.


I post some mangled road-killed mammals, and I agree they can upset viewers. Therefore, I make the first photo as harmless as I can, one of two ways. (1) Crop the photo to show only a small, undamaged part of the animals. Don’t worry that it can’t be identified; it’s just a protection for viewers. (2) Mask the damaged part of the photo with black squares, leaving only a small undamaged part showing. Then post the whole, unmasked photo as the second photo.

Either way, I write something like “Gross dead animal” in the notes.


What I do sometimes is putting the first picture in greytones, as I think it takes away a lot of the gruesomness, like in this observation (carefull, fitting to the topic it is a dead animal and the 2nd coloured picture is ot nice



I have seen people put a warning message as the first image. ‘Warning! Image of dead animal’ or such like. Personally I would only do this if it was a particularly nauseating image.


Problem with that approach is that the message image then becomes a part of the image pool for that species (or other taxon), and potentially available for CV training etc. I think cropping and/or masking parts of the first image is a better approach.


Yes, you should definitely post it! These types of data are definitely valuable (as someone who used to do marine mammal stranding work). Some of the suggestions here are good approaches:
Cropping out gore on the first image.
Posting a photo from far away that still contains the organism as the first image but has less gore.
Adding the “dead” annotation is also very helpful as then people who don’t want to see dead things can filter for only “alive” (that’s not a perfect strategy for them, but it helps).

I would echo @jdmore’s suggestion not to post a text warning as a picture as this doesn’t technically meet iNat’s guidelines and also could cause problems if it is used to train the computer vision model. This could also be a problem with significantly edited pictures (like adding shapes or boxes to block out gore).


Yes I agree, not the best approach, but I can envisage situations where it may be the least worst. I don’t think it would affect the CV training though as the image would be such an outlier. It would end up going to GBIF etc which is not great, but also not the end of the world unless it happened very often.

If it’s just an image of a dead animal I don’t normally do anything but apply the ‘dead’ filter tbh. If you have a particularly stomach-churning image you may need to do something that will prevent a user clicking in to the observation at all, I think - obscuring part of the image with a message is a good idea if possible. I think images of live animals suffering is more likely to require that than dead animals. A comment in the notes is likely to be missed I think.

No matter how disgusting an image of a dead animal may be you should always upload them because these observations can be very valuable for research.


Please don’t post any additional pictures with warnings, if they have no organism involved they shouldn’t be added. Choose a pic with less details or distant shot, but honestly most people will be fine with seeing whatever you saw.


There’s an observer in my region (who is in the top 6 in terms of number of species and observations) that probably averages about 75% dead animals, mostly roadkill–and mostly snakes and turtles.

Mostly in a rural area along a fairly busy road so I suspect it’s just his home location.

Not exactly heartwarming, but hey, all valid observations.


At first, I used a first photo that was text warning of the grossness to come. I’ve shifted over to cropped or masked photos.

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Another way is to show first a zoomed out picture from a distance: it’s not showing sensitive details and it is useful for the context (location of death, predation, roadkill…).


as a squeamish person, i definitely feel there should be some “explicit image” feature on inaturalist for situations like this


Did you vote for that feature request, linked in an earlier comment?

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