I am in favor of an optional annotation and filter for gory and other possibly disturbing images (although I’ve seldom run into anything). I agree that is not practical to require input for that before you can post the observation, but it seems reasonable to have annotation available for “potentially disturbing” for people to mark and a filter for it too. I know that many observations will not be marked but I would hope that the ability to mark them and filter them would nonetheless help. I would like the filter to be on automatically because so few observations are applicable that it won’t really affect IDers who don’t care and most IDers are aware of annotations so would turn it off anyway.
Sorting just by the dead annotation is NOT USEFUL to me. 80% of the things I ID are dead seashells and that obviously doesn’t bother me. Although… that also makes my position less impactful because, as of yet ,I have never seen cephalopod guts on iNat when I’m looking at FL mollusks.
Personally, I am okay with dead vertebrates as long as they haven’t started decomposing and I can’t recognize anything more than blood. (Bugs, fish, and most mollusks don’t bother me.) I’ve had to deal with unpleasant things like when mom stepped on an American toad and its intestines came into view, I can deal with it but I don’t want to see it again. Just as an example that this is an actual problem for me: It is for this reason I am unable to get a degree in most biology-related topics. I am mentally incapable of dissection (I get very uncomfortable sometimes dizzy) which is required in biology and biology is a prerequisite for almost everything in science where I’m going. It’s depressing; I’m very happy to have iNat to make it easier to teach myself.
Concerning annotating dead things. I feel the annotation should reflect the picture because that’s all the community can see. As far as me as an IDer is concerned, it is dead and was found dead. While it may have been alive when found I don’t think it’s very beneficial to say it’s alive when the picture is of it dead, and similarly, no one would intentionally post it from the location they photographed it dead in. It feels to me like the most accurate and most beneficial annotation methods are different. It technically wasn’t dead at that location but it might as well have been. The inconsistent annotations feel more beneficial.
(my numerous edits are before anyone has commented by the way)
Until today, I never thought that posting dead animals would be a big deal. During my time on iNat I’ve seen a lot of insects with needles through their bodies, roadkill and snakes that have been killed because humans fear them. I even do have observations of roadkill and killed snakes myself. Now, I would appreciate adding some blur or something like Flickrs “Take me to the kittens” in order to protect those observers from mass flagging and (probably false) accusations of harming and killing animals.
Agree with @bonesigh. The problem is that many users don’t actually fill out the annotations at all. And sometimes animals look dead but aren’t, which means it’s ultimately the observer’s responsibility to annotate correctly, otherwise the community may not be able to accurately tell whether it’s alive or dead. A good middle ground would be an “injured” or “unknown” annotation if it’s not obviously alive and mostly uninjured. There could also be some sort of way to flag an image as “clean” or “graphic”.
Adding annotations has never been a requirement for uploading observations. Heck, adding an initial identification isn’t a requirement! (though there are many times I have wished that it were). It’s definitely useful if people annotate an observation, but I don’t think it’s a failing on their part if they don’t.
Yes, it’s not a requirement, but sometimes only the observer has the knowledge to know what the annotations are (like alive/dead for bugs) and if they didn’t mark them, they will never be. If you can’t tell the difference from just a picture, then it behooves you as the observer to mark them. Other times, only experts have the knowledge to annotate (like male/female ants, drone vs queen). My thought was someone would come across a roadkill observation (or make one themselves) and think “I know of some people who this might freak out” and mark the “potentially disturbing” category. I’d like to think if it was implemented it would by default filter them out as it does for non “verifiable” observations. It wouldn’t really affect IDers that much as it wouldn’t exclude that many observations and most IDers know how the filters work so would soon turn it off. Personally, I’m not going to puke on my computer if I see something gory, but I might skip breakfast and I know some other people who might.
Exactly @bonesigh. That’s why I think ultimately the best option would be to allow both the observer and an identifier to mark an image as potentially graphic and not rely on the dead or alive tags, that way it’s not in any way messing with data or encouraging people to assume things that only the observer could know (sometimes even the observer can be unsure about the status of what they’re looking at).
There could be a checkmark next to each image added to the observation before the observer uploads that says “Is this image potentially graphic or unsettling?”. The observer could also later on edit whether or not an image is graphic after the observation is posted. Identifiers could flag an image as graphic and maybe a human or some algorithm could decide if it actually is, to prevent abuse with the system.
Images marked as sensitive/graphic could be excluded or blurred/blanked out when listing photos of observations of a species/taxon, a user, or project. Clicking on the image from the photos list still won’t show it uncensored initially. Instead, the user would have to click on “view observation”. The thumbnails would be pixelated already but the large preview image would be censored until the user clicks the “view image” button that directs them to download the image (aka the small, medium, large, original page).
This censoring of images should be an opt-out setting and be enabled for visitors by default. Disabling the feature would remove all censorship of images and it’d look exactly as it does currently on iNaturalist. Users who turn off hiding sensitive images could still label images as sensitive either as an observer or identifier so they can still benefit users who have the option enabled. Obviously a person with this option enabled would not have their own observations censored on their end as that’d be counterintuitive.
Images flagged as sensitive could be excluded from being used for species photos (the little icon that pops up when searching for a species), example images on the species/taxon page, or comparison photos used by Computer Vision. Species or observations with only a single image, which is labeled as sensitive, would be tricky to deal with. Ultimately I personally think those observations should NOT be excluded from results or anything like that, as it’s only flagging the image, not the entire observation.
My idea of this is to ONLY affect individual images on an observation and in no way edit or affect the actual observation. Photos labeled as sensitive should still be uncensored if the image is used on third party sites like GBIF. The actual image and observation data would be unchanged. Censored photos shouldn’t be excluded from any data or search results or be any reason to punish or subtract from observations, it should be merely a user experience and safety feature and nothing else.
That might be useful for sick animals encountered, where you don’t know if they will recover or die.
Or if you later discover it died, but you don’t know how long afterward (Since the Dead annotation is meant to denote “imminent death”, where imminent is:
So we discussed this have decided not move forward with a specific way of handling observations of dead organisms or observations that include gory images. What we want to focus on instead is making better filters, including exclusion filters, in the user interface on Explore and Identify. Unfortunately, that won’t happen until Explore is rewritten. In the meantime, you can currently exclude annotations by editing the URL, see https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/how-to-use-inaturalists-search-urls-wiki-part-2-of-2/18792
Would it be possible to add a standard “Warning: This observation may be graphic” photo that we can use in our own observations as the 1st photo in something like @bouteloua’s frequently used responses?
The problem is when the observation is newly uploaded and not annotated. Like last night, when the very first page of Hispaniola had a gecko cut cleanly in half. I almost wanted to skip the whole page.
This scenario would persist to some extent regardless of any specific intervention with regards to blur (or not, since it’s been declined), because avoiding the scenario of new observations with photos of death/gore appearing in Explore/Identify would still would require the uploader or another user to designate the observations as Gory/Whatever instead of or in addition to annotating as Dead.
Yes, I understand the purpose of the feature, but the point is that it still requires an action by a user - that same first IDer could also annotate as “Dead”. It’s just that many/most users don’t. Adding another option that requires a user to take a slightly different action to annotating as Dead to reach the goal is likely to have the same issues as exist in the current system in addition to making a more complex system overall.
Meanwhile iNat is deliberately excluding that part of their target - people who observe nature - if they won’t add mangled blood and guts to their unsee burden.
Yesterday a roadkill chameleon flattened paper thin - but still IDed to species by the white stripe on its face. Unsee.
While the same people have no problems cutting meat and guts for their meal, somehow blood on the dirt makes it totally different… Learning and appreciating both outsides and insides of animals would solve their problem.
valid obs. Absolutely. For scientists.
But a dead beetle shows different colours - dead is not alive. That is what I disagree with - as a non-scientist trying to ID that ‘thing’. And the wings and legs pinned out, doesn’t represent a living and moving beetle.
You know what related feature would be nice? If the blur was also applied outside while we are observing. As I was walking down the greenway today, I came across a slain copperhead. Whoever killed it hung its body on display on the bridge railing. Blur would have been nice.