I just want to say that flagging posts for direct image links, no matter the host, is counter-productive and unnecessary

I got only a notice that my post was flagged for “spam” with no indication of why, and I had to deduce that it was the image host. HOWEVER. My links are direct links to the images. At no point is a website loaded, thus no advertisements are ever served to anyone using these links. There is zero reason for im_g_ur or any other host to be prohibited as long as the links posted lead directly to an image and not the website itself. I shouldn’t have to go through this process of trying to determine why my post was flagged.

Having to redo this is a barrier to constructive posts based on an arbitrary rule that is designed for people who don’t know what they’re doing.

Do you have any links? I doubt image hosts are flagging posts on iNat, but if you’re posting photos from external sites without permission, that counts as copyright infringement and is quickly flagged by regular iNat users.


Or are you just linking to external photos? That is normally allowed, but I also don’t think image hosts would be flagging those. Either way doesn’t sound like a bug to me.


They talk about this post probably: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/all-updates-tab-only-showing-one-recent-update/30303


Are you referring to your posts on iNaturalist, or on the iNautralist Forum? I see no flags on your account on iNaturalist, but two here on the Forum. So I’ve moved this thread to the proper category, #forum-feedback, since #bug-reports is for reporting bugs with iNaturalist.

The iNaturalist Forum is run on Discourse.org software and servers. We use Discourse’s default setting that if a new user links to the same domain in three posts, the system considers them spam. That’s what happened here. I honestly don’t remember this ever happening in the three year history of the Forum, although I may be wrong.


The forum website can host your pictures without issue. It’s quite easy to upload images in a forum post or comment if you’d like to reconsider and try posting the images again.


I’m not sure if the problem is the external links, but they do load full screen ads when clicked. I got a full screen McDonald’s ad.


I’d like to say that it can be very, very difficult to interpret tone through text. This is true across all platforms… And the iNat forum is no different.

[Insert image listing internet tone indicators]

That being said, a few things:

First of all, from what I can tell, you seem like a nice user! You might have joined recently, but your observations are of excellent quality, you’ve contributed many identifications, and you have identification knowledge that is valuable (and often underappreciated on the site). I could not be more happy to see another new user making meaningful contributions to iNaturalist. The concerns which you’ve posted on this forum are reasonable; it looks like you’ve figured the first one out (or sort-of figured out?), and that the second post is making some progress as well.

Second, while iNaturalist and the iNat forum may have problems and are definitely not perfect, I’d like to bring your attention to the many good things about this site. We have more than 2 million users on this site, and observations in numbers that I cannot quantify. Not to generalize, but the fact that this site is still doing well on a performance perspective is an immense achievement! Of course the performance of the site probably varies between people (software and hardware and internet connection), but if there are any major performance issues or bugs right now, I’ve never heard of them—though I’d be happy to be corrected! I’m sure there are plenty of other things on this site that we take for granted.

Last of all, I think the people who responded to this thread didn’t do so out of bad or malicious intent. It’s probably more due to the difficulty of conveying and interpreting tone in just words… one of the woes of modern communication. A question to specify may come off as an accusation, but it’s probably not one. They’re just trying to help solve your problem. I personally find the second part of @tiwane’s response a reasonable explanation of what might have happened:

The iNaturalist Forum is run on Discourse.org software and servers. We use Discourse’s default setting that if a new user links to the same domain in three posts, the system considers them spam. That’s what happened here.

And this is an issue dealing with the mechanisms of the forum rather than with iNaturalist itself (though if I understand correctly the images show parts of the iNat site, don’t see anything wrong with that).

The problem is that a lot of people don’t spend ten minutes carefully considering how to respond to someone, or an several hours writing a lengthy response and checking to make sure they aren’t misunderstood (speaking of which… well… :wink: I have). There is only so much time, and so many more people to help. I mean… there’s only a grand total of 8 staff members on this site. Think of how many bug reports appear every week… and then everything else they do that I probably don’t know about :grinning: That’s a lot of work.

[Was going to put an image here of some person holding up the Earth or something but I decided not to because copyright]

There have been times on this site when I have felt like an idiot, when I’ve felt treated like an idiot. once, I remember excitedly posting what I thought was a certain plant to the site, only to be quickly contradicted by one of the identifiers (In respect to the identifier, I didn’t link them on here… no offense to them). At first I was very upset. I felt offended by this… maybe even betrayed.
But I realized that the user was not necessarily trying to cause me harm, that they loved the outdoors and nature like I did, that we shared the same love for the wonders of the natural environment. took that negative energy and quickly looked for evidence to distinguish the two. I figured out that I was indeed mistaken and added an ID agreeing with theirs, and thanked them for correcting me. They responded with a comment that was a bit insensitive at first… but they edited it later on a better note. Ever since then, I have never mixed up those two plants :grin:

I do see some skepticism and some dismissiveness on the problem. But to disparage people and the forum just serves to create more alienation. Turn off the all caps (akin to internet shouting, I usually use italics instead) and give them the benefit of the doubt… if you don’t find a solution, then at least we can all end this on a more positive note. Personally, I’d recommend taking a break from online chaos to make some observations before jumping back in… iNatting always helps to calm me down.

As I’ve said, you seem to be a nice person; you’ve contributed much to the site, even as a new user who might not be as familiar with it (new user struggles… I remember being there). I hope that my response was helpful and not too wordy (Looks like I failed that one :man_facepalming:). I hope that it does not come off as disparaging or condescending or asinine. I hope you have and will continue to enjoy your time on iNaturalist. And most of all, I hope that I am not wrong about you.

Lightly edited for readability and tone
4/28 corrected the link to iNat staff members. I only notice it’s the wrong link after like 3 weeks RIP


@tiwane has already explained the reason for the forum software flagging posts, there is not much point continuing to speculate.

BTW Discourse is far better and more hands-off at detecting and flagging spam, and instances of mistakenly flagged posts are pretty rare. (I manage a separate Discourse community elsewhere). In any case a forum moderator normally gets to look at them and clear the flags within a reasonable time. But I guess we’re more and more used to instant gratification.


I’m going to close this discussion - the point was made and the reason for the spam flag was given. Spam flags for the three-domains-by-new-user have pretty much bene non-existent. If incidences rise, we can consider changing the settings.