Is a photo of entrails too offensive for iNaturalist?

to be honest the non-bloody did look more like gore to me than the bloody one, the non-bloody one gives more space for imagination.

That’s kind of the point… how is the observer going to know if it’s distressing to others? If they are considerate, and thought to themselves “this might distress others” they could put the flag on themselves. Many of us would do that! But yes, in grey area cases it would take someone to actually be distressed enough to consider putting the flag. It’s kind of like having encountered something on a trail, and being distressed by it, sending word back along the trail to others to be careful not to look as they go past. No one is going to know it’s distressing until someone actually is distressed by it! If something is so distressing that even the observer doesn’t want to see it, then they wouldn’t (one would hope) be uploading it anyway!

So far…
gore is a difuse definition
dead or alive button produces interessting data
flag system is a idea, may connected to a taxonomic range
there must be a solution to prevent false flaging

Yes we all know nature can be brutal.
So its not a tv show with happy end.

to make the best out of your post what seems to be a bit random.

I also think its brutal, all species eat an other species, the serie could be a bit more documented. As it is, it just shows a bloody bird, interessting would it be if the injuries would be a bit closer documented.
I think it would give a bit more scientific value to the set.

If the injuries are documented closely it gets some scientific value
what can we get from the serie?
there are birds, he could have took a picture from a living species.
because of that i would agree this is gore.
if he would document the whole fight or at least every bite or close up of the injuries i would say it is scientific.

I understand why he shares this. It was traumatic to him and he has to some how get over it or he want us to know or remember about the brutality in nature.

I think it may more belongs to a spectacular site. But if it would be woerse but also a bit more documented i would say it gets scientific value and belongs to this site.

i think its a bit a grey zone.

interesting would be what happened before and after this serie.
as it is, it is just spectacular.

i may would accept the gore flag in this case.
but not if he would have documented how this happened and how he did die from this, because this would be science.

May i can make the point more clear…

if you have a picture of a snake using its teeth on a rat it is scientific, it can help to identify the snake, its a documented case where this type of snake uses teeth to kill a rat, and it does not strangulate its victim. this is informative.

if you have a bloody picture with specific wounds by a species it is informative and can help to identify the species which killed an other one.

if it is just a bloody bird… this happens all day in the chicken industries… the wounds on the photos ar not realy specific, it could also have been by a ship or human or any thing biger than the bird

in the other had the same pictures would be scientific if it were in example some bacteria, in that case it could help to identify the bacteria ot it could help to identify what happens to such birds if they look like this one.

but just a bloody bird for the spectacularity … i think it is gore in that case

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I’m temporarily closing this thread, as it’s been dominated by a few voices over the past few hours.


This topic was automatically opened after 10 hours.

I trust observers on this site to be courteous, since the only topics I’ve seen about this have been from people concerned about other people’s well-being on the site. It’s not going to be a perfect system no matter how we implement it, so it would be important to make it easy and accessible for the observer uploading the picture, and also for anyone who IDs or annotates.

Some will slip through yes, and there will probably be some arguments, but this idea will help more people than what we have currently :)


Sorry - tried to make this a new thread but don’t know how to quote to it.

I can’t say what animal left the entrails so surgically excised, but my cats regularly leave mouse, vole, etc., entrails behind. Sometimes they are in an intact pile, sometime it appears that the odd kidney had been pursued across the floor. One time I saw my calico throw up a set of rabbit entrails (intestinal tract from stomach to large intestine) that was so big I’m baffled how they came out, let alone how they went in! And they were completely intact - not only the organs still attached to each other, but no punctures. I’ve never seen the cats eating their kill beyond the head, so I haven’t seen how ingestion happens.

I asked a vet about this once, and they didn’t know. Apparently large cats in the wild typically go for the belly first, the hypothesis being that it is the most easily accessible and has material that is very nutritious and partly digested already. I’m not sure I buy the last bit, but in any case, it doesn’t appear to hold across the feline family.

I don’t know where you are, but maybe your remains were left by a bobcat or something similar.

(BTW, there is already a thread on culling outdoor cats to prevent extinctions, so I’d respectfully request that we not go there here :-) I’d post tnhe link but i’m on the phone)


Thanks. There are cougar in the area.

I do the same (post a warning note as the first photo):

This thread already has 71 comments, so I’ve not read them all. However, I have found that sometimes roadkill is the only animal I can find, as was true for snakes when I spent four weeks in rural China recently.

Posting a note is a bit tricky because the GPS wants to provide that as the location. So, I post a gory animal photo first, then post my note, then take down the photo (so the note is now the first photo but has the GPS of the animal), and then re-post the photo some might find offensive. This method posts the warning first, but captures the correct GPS location as well.

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While not a direct quote, I think iNat wants all media evidence attached to an observation to include the organism depicted. Signs with words that don’t depict the organism are really not the best way to handle this although the intention is good. I think @charlie suggested a zoomed in shot of a paw or some fur or other less potentially gruesome evidence as an alternative to the first photo being gory.

I know there is some concern in the community about the training of the computer vision possibly being affected by the addition of photos with words and especially, without the organism. I wonder if this is also an issue for other databases that import observation data from iNat. I don’t know.


I think you can get the location correctly listed by posting both photos at once (gory first), then go to “edit” and “re-order photos.” It won’t change the location when you re-order the photos. Saves posting twice.

I think the problem with these kinds of warnings are
1: It probably screws with the Vision/AI a bit
2. It isn’t a picture depicting an organism, but it’s going to show up as if it were.

I think if we must have some sort of warning or obscuring of the photos, it is best done on a separate layer from the photos themselves (I like @kiwifergus’s suggestion in that respect):

Reiterating what @mira_l_b wrote, please post only photos of the organism in question - that is what the images of an observation are for. Adding a warning graphic isn’t a great workaround, for the several reasons stated in this thread. Adding a zoomed in photo is probably the best way to not have these gory photos show up in search results, currently. I’m working on a dead/alive annotation that might help users filter out observations of dead animals by default.

I’m actually interested in hearing from someone who is offended by roadkill/gory photos. And I mean offended rather than disturbed - some of these images, like roadkill, should be disturbing. If you’re on iNaturalist and are offended by these images, I would love to understand why. Personally I find them disturbing but they also remind me of the impact everyone (including me, as I have inadvertently hit some animals, and those were terrible moments) have on wildlife, and I think they have value both for that and for providing spatial-temporal data that can be used for conservation.

Over the past few years, I’ve only fielded a handful of complaints on, and most people understand the importance of these photos and data once I explain to them how they can be used, so I’m wondering if it’s a widespread problem or something that is more of a phantom problem.


I have a suspicion that it is just us, as a caring community, looking out for and mitigating “the potential” to offend. There was one post in the old google groups that may have been from an actual offended perspective, I’ll see if I can find…

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this thread. O/P seemed fairly certain over emotional harm potential. It was raised about the possibility of adding annotations for dead/alive, too!

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I used to collect roadkill and process the animals for a museum, so I’m not too sensitive about it. However, sometimes I’m sitting at my computer happily identifying flowers or puzzling in frustration over inadequate photos of grasses, and SMUSHED FURRY GUTS AND BONE FRAGMENTS. It’s disturbing. Somewhat shocking. I’d rather have had some warning. And believe me, among my botanist friends, I’m the tough one when it comes to mangled animals.

(Last year, somebody documented lots of flattened, torn newts killed crossing a road. Important!! But after a while it got sickening, even for me.)

So I’ll continue to act with kindness toward other iNaturalist users and post rotting or mangled animals only with some kind of warning. I’ll probably just continue to use the text warning sign, though I’ll take under advisement the recommendation to use some useless, zoomed in, little fragment of the animal with a warning laid over it.

By the way, I consider training AI to be the responsibility of iNaturalist staffers, not of me. Great work, keep at it, but not my circus, not my monkey. (And is a bit of a paw or tail tip really more useful than a text sign?? Hard to imagine, but my ignorance of this topic is vast.)


Personally, I think the kindest thing to do would be to help the people of concern to learn to use the large number of filters available on the site (e.g.: filter out mammals, or even just ones commonly killed by motorists, other objectionable material, insects, whatever) . I also consider it a kindness to the community to follow shared rules and guidelines including following the requests of staff not to post text in lieu of potentially useful photos of actual parts of an organism. This promotes mutual respect and consistency which I personally value more than altering a system to anticipate an individual’s (or relatively low % of individuals) potential offense.

I actually find relevant detail shots quite useful for ID in certain species and any image with decent clarity can teach you a lot if you’re a beginner. Our export partners probably would prefer text-less observations too. I want to look at photos of wild organisms, not warnings. I see this as a potential “sensitivity-slippery-slope.” Without exaggerating too much I think it would follow that others might want warnings about snakes, spiders, maggots, something else. I think there is so much value in getting comfortable with the gore or fear that is unfortunately, a part of life. For example, I’d rather learn to cope with a photo of a deceased animal than watch a gratuitously violent movie,

I followed the google group post last year and while I do feel for anyone experience suffering and would like to take reasonable steps to prevent suffering, generally, I also believe individuals have a responsibility to protect themselves and do their due diligence when using the internet, attending public places, travelling etc. I’ll disclose that I am someone who can’t always emotionally handle gore in photos or real life and have to physically remove myself from certain places because of such stresses but I don’t think that, beyond some very reasonable accommodations, others should alter reasonable rules, systems or guidance. In this case I would encourage the use of filters and promotion of self-care over ignoring the guidance of the website that brought us all here in the first place.