some folks here have mentioned implementing some sort of draft mode.
in one suggested implementation, there would be a DQA flag that would indicate draft. i had started thinking myself that this would be a logical way to do it, but i think there would be items that would never get taken out of draft mode, and that would cause a different kind of consternation.
in another suggested implementation, there would be a more distinct publishing workflow. because of forgetfulness or unfamiliarity with workflows or tech unsavviness, i bet this would cause a lot of observations to get stuck in a draft zombie state, too, though no one but maybe the iNaturalist development team might ever be able to see the problem. so a publishing workflow might create a hidden problem.
i think a compromise solution, which might carry other benefits, is to provide a “give me [x time] before you ID this observation” option. in this workflow, you could add some time, say, up to 1 week, to an observation or group of observations (only) at upload time. after upload, you would not be able to add time, though you could reduce it to 0. these observations would be excluded from Identify until time expired. in a timeline view of observations, there could be a box checked that allows you to still see (but not act on) observations with unexpired time. if the box was checked, the timeline would be sorted based on the upload date. if the box was unchecked, the timeline would be sorted based on the date at expiration of this time. (or something like that.) the extra solo time could provide people something like a draft mode, or it could provide the observer first dibs at trying to ID an observation. (sometimes i want to go ahead and upload interesting stuff for people to see, but i want first dibs at trying to use my ID skills before other jump all over it.) and because the solo time would expire at some point, that would prevent observations from getting stuck in draft mode as a hidden problem.