Implement Photo Blur on observations annotated as "Dead"

I agree with the sentiment of not hiding it, but including a ‘welcome’ tutorial that notifies new users that the observations may contain dead creatures, which can be filtered (insert instructions/link).


I would say that vertebrates would be a good metric for this, however I realize that it’s a complicated and arbitrary distinction. With mollusks, I doubt people would be put off by a sea shell. But what about an octopus or squid? Perhaps a better implementation and education of filtering would be a more practical solution, as others have mentioned. Or only blur observations flagged as “gore” or “disturbing”. This way, it’s on an as-needed basis.

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Should we also blur or put up warnings for images of spiders, snakes? Many people are phobic about them.
Sorry, feeling grouchy this morning.


I’m glad you said this, because I think that if there were a better solution, more people would post their dead/gory observations. I have withheld many of my own photos because I don’t really want to bother others with graphic content.


Oh, no, post them, we like it, in a good way, majority of users won’t be bothered by that in a slightest, all observations deserve to be added.


The main place I see these photos is on my dashboard, where no filters are available. There also aren’t any (user interface) filters for annotations on Explore, the second most common place I see these photos. I don’t get email notifications for friends’ new observations, but that’s another location they would appear for people with the standard email settings.


I understand there is a slippery-slope argument to be made… I think phobias are getting into a different topic worthy of its own discussion.


I think this is a real problem, and I’d like to see it solved. Not sure how, though. I agree that the biggest problem involves dead vertebrates, and any solution could be applied there first. Perhaps an optional extension to photos of spiders or snakes could be made available.

Problem: People often don’t mark dead animals as dead.

In the mean time, I think we as observers should mask much of the first photo or otherwise minimize the distress to people who see our photos. That’s just being responsible, kind, community members.


Another thing is that the types of images at issue here (e.g., a close-up of a pocket gopher with its intestines spread across a sidewalk, a rotting raccoon with maggots crawling out of its eye sockets, a road-killed desert tortoise with it’s shell cracked in two) would get a NSFW/NSFL tag on any other site (like Reddit) or even removed entirely. *for reference: NSFW/NSFL = not safe for work/not safe for life.

This is a nature site, but one of our main goals is outreach. If say, 75% of the public doesn’t want to see these gory images by default, and iNaturalist’s goal is to encourage a love of nature among those people (people new to nature), why would we not implement something to make the community more welcoming to them?


But no data are being lost, @raymie. What’s being proposed throughout this thread is just a change to the way a few images are displayed by default. If anything, it would probably lead to an increase in data like those since people would feel better about posting them. It would presumably be easy to opt out of, and wouldn’t rise to the level of “minor inconvenience” to the users who want to see that stuff by default. No big deal, imo.

If we tell people who don’t want to see gore, which is a big portion of the public, that they shouldn’t be in our community, well… I don’t think it’s up to us to decide the way new users should and shouldn’t be. Because when we start deciding that, that’s when the community stops growing :)


I was specifically referring to you saying these observations should be removed.

No one suggested that. I was referring to what might happen on instagram or something


75% of naturalists don’t want to see some intestines? Come on, who wouldn’t like to? That’s what nature sites for, to not have same standarts of what is normal and what is weird or “disgusting”.


Not too long ago I would have been (actually I have been) against something like this, but as I’ve become more aware and accepting of my own phobias and issues, and how many others are affected by these images, I’ve definitely softened.

No system would be perfect, and photos of dead animals would slip through, but I’d be for giving people an easy option to have photos of dead vertebrates covered by warning (might be easier, technically, than blurring photos). Devil’s in the details, though, as to how and where to implement it and whether it should be opt in or opt out by default.

This is something we’re exploring. Will take time to build out once we decide on a structure or platform.


75% of the general public is what I said (not dedicated iNaturalist users) – a guess sure, but definitely lots of people, the exact number doesn’t matter.

I might also have advocated against this in the past. Devil’s in the details of implementation, indeed!


No, I certainly don’t want to see intestines sometimes. I don’t consider myself a squeamish person at all either. Usually I’m the person poking the dead thing to get a better look while everyone else turns away. Let’s not gatekeep what is and isn’t being a naturalist.


No, I don’t say somebody isn’t a naturalist cause they don’t want to, I say percentage is not real in my opinion. And comparing iNat to Instagram as if the second had it right?


Opposed. I thought the site was to help people engage with the natural world. The world isn’t a kids’ cartoon. There’s danger, death, slime, lots of legs, and, sometimes, no legs at all.


You are certainly welcome to oppose. I would like to emphasize that no one is suggesting that iNat isn’t a place for this kind of content, or that it isn’t part of our natural world… Perhaps engagement with the natural world means experiencing all the down-and-dirty to you. But surely, it’s not unreasonable for someone to enjoy nature, and specifically the resources of iNaturalist, with less death and gore on their screen.

As a reminder my original suggestion explicitly stated that a user could opt out.
(Which may be better implemented as an opt-in)


I personally think this is a rather silly idea. Especially if there’s already a similar opt-out setting. I’ve posted several observations of half-eaten rodents (courtesy of my cat) and don’t intend to stop. I don’t mind this function as long as it’s extremely clear how to turn it off, because it sounds annoying. I do see how roadkill, etc, pictures could bother some people, and they even bother me sometimes, but I just ignore it and click to the next observation. Keep in mind this is coming from a 13-year-old girl, which is the group who are supposed to be most averse to dead animals!