Is a photo of entrails too offensive for iNaturalist?

I agree with you. Just out of curiosity, does iNaturalist have a ‘warning’ or ‘caution’ marker for this kind of stuff?

For me, as long as it’s not to gross I don’t mind, just as long as their’s a description about what it is exactly.

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No, iNaturalist doesn’t. I made my own sign. I think iNaturalist would prefer that you post some inoffensive part of the mangled animal as the first photo, and then put the more troublesome photos in later in the same observation.


@sedgequeen thank you so much for the thoughtful post, I’m sorry it’s taken me a week to reply!

Thanks for clarifying. I guess to me, someone who is offended by such photos would be someone who is angry that someone would post such photos to iNaturalist in the first place, and that such photos would be acceptable on iNat. Disgust, revulsion, etc., are much more understandable to me, and I think those are all reasonable and perhaps healthy reactions to such photos.

As someone who subscribes to salamanders in California, I saw the majority of these. And yes, they were used to try and spur local government to create mitigation of some type (which, sadly, hasn’t really happened). So the observations were part of a conservation effort. And yes, it was not fun seeing all of those observations. So I feel you.

I think that’s a fair solution. I do want to point out, though, that at some point we won’t know what will offend anyone and iNat can’t be all things to all people. For example, many people are terrified of snakes and spiders and seeing photos of them can be pretty traumatic, but I’m not sure it would be good to provide warnings for those as well on a nature site (although yes, one can filter them out but it takes some doing). And I don’t say this lightly, a I’ve suffered a crippling fear of vomiting for much of my life (as silly as it sounds) that’s had a very deleterious effect on me, so I understand how even the suggestion of the phobia’s subject can trigger a strong reaction. In fact I would argue that some exposure can be a good and therapeutic thing. Like most things in life, it’s endlessly complicated. :-)


Exposure can be beneficial for people with phobia, but the most important thing to remember is for it to be beneficial it also has to be wanted. I don’t think it’s fair for a site made with the ideals of education and connection to also be like “by the way, we’re exposing you to traumatic imagery for your own good” when not even a personal therapist would do that unless they had discussed it first.

Also don’t discount a simple preference not to see dead animals. What if you have an upset stomach? Or your pet just died? Or any of the dozens of reasons you might just not want to see roadkill on that particular day. Anecdotal but I recently had a bit of stomach flu and had to get off iNat after seeing a smashed moth. Generally that wouldn’t affect me beyond just being kinda bummed but that time I could feel the nausea rising… It’s interesting because I’m sure there are plenty of people who would have the same reaction seeing a live, intact moth, but at least they can filter those out to a degree.


This has been brought up before. If the imagery is distressing to the point where a therapist would be involved in “gradual exposure”, then perhaps a “nature observation site” is not something you would be just casually exposing yourself to anyway. It’s no different to what you see on a nature documentary.

But I do agree it would be ideal to have the ability to receive caution warnings on observations that others might have flagged as potentially needing such. It just needs to be something that doesn’t affect the majority of users to any significant degree, or the cost will out-weigh the benefit.


(chuckling) I’m fine with snakes, but it took a while to get used to beautiful close-ups of spiders on iNaturalist! Interesting though spiders are.


The easiest way would be to implement a voluntary flagging system the uploader or IDer could use to flag an observation they believe might be upsetting. If they don’t use it, or the filter, their use of the site is unchanged. If someone else flags their image, their use of the site is unchanged. The only thing that changes is whether or not the observation will be visible to someone using the filter.

I can’t see that bothering anyone since you don’t have to flag or filter anything if you don’t want to, and if someone else flags your observations you’ll still see them normally. People might get upset at the principle of the thing, in which case they can get over it since it doesn’t materially affect them in any way :)


I suggested very similar to what you describe here a few weeks back, near the start of this thread. I totally agree, it would be a relatively easy implement and would be minimally impactful to those that don’t need it. I think in mine I included a “reason” that would be shown instead of the image, and the users of the filter could decide based on the reason shown whether they want to click on the “show image anyway” bit.

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Oh, that’s a good idea. Something like “entrails” or “bones” so someone not so into seeing the goopy stuff but might still be ok with skeletons would be able to decide for themselves?

yes… opt in, and be able to select what they continue on to view…

They might be ok with gore and entrails, but be really uncomfortable seeing actual predation (moment of death) images. This would be me… I’m fine seeing animal bits strewn over the road, but I become a jelly mess when I see a bird hit a windscreen, and it is the “now you’re alive, now you’re dead” part that gets me. And not just birds… even flies caught by spiders… I’m fine with seeing bees being eaten by mantids, but the actual moment of capture hits me hard! Go figure…

I’m also fine with experiencing that, as long as it is not too often… I’m not going to change the channel when watching a nature doco that has that… but it does make me aware of how some might find things to be distressing.


The only problem would be people that get disturbed by vegetables getting injured and flagging all the injured plants. Of course a flagging system with a set of flags to mark what might be shown would help with that.

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just one flag type… but include a description of why (flag setter enters the description). Only people that are going to see it are those that enable the sensitive images in their settings, and they would see the description instead. Then click on the description to replace with photo.

Yeah, that’s exactly what we’re talking about. Not just a blanket “BAD IMAGE AHEAD” but like “this image was flagged due to ____” and whoever flags it inputs whatever in that spot(“guts” “dead vegetation” “crushed bugs” “predation by hawk” etc).

Of course, it also could be useful to have that feature let you filter for those images, like if you’re specifically looking for roadkill in Texas, or Red Tailed Hawks feeding.


I don’t think it’s productive to post hyperbolic, absurd stuff like this when all evidence points to this not being a real issue. I don’t think ‘gory’ observations should be banned or hidden from the site, but I understand why some people feel that way and if a flagging system is set up, it doesn’t bother me.


Yeah I don’t think they should be banned or hidden either, but having an option in place couldn’t hurt. Maybe someone starts out using the filter and slowly gets more comfortable with seeing the less-than-pretty side of nature. Maybe someone just lost a pet to a car accident and just can’t deal with seeing roadkill for a while. Maybe someone just doesn’t feel like seeing dead animals that day. There’s so many situations in which this could be helpful beyond someone’s preference or temperament that I think it should be seriously considered.


People have posted that those images disturb them on this thread. Direct your comments to them if you think they were being hyperbolic.

I see the forum as a think-tank, a place to hash out ideas and discuss problems and design solutions… whether staff or devs pick them up is another matter entirely. In my systems analysis days we were encouraged to never toss out or not bring to the table absurd ideas… it is often from derivatives of those that the ideal solution is found. By all means identify them as absurd examples, but please don’t discourage them. A forum of people that only think like Charlie wouldn’t be a bad place, but I don’t think it would be a productive one.


the difference here is the absurd example seemed to be trying to minimize a valid concern albeit one i don’t necessarily share (people being really bothered by seeing roadkill, etc). People bothered by dead plants may exist, but if it bothers them a lot to see a dead or damaged plant to the extent that they need those hidden, I doubt they will ever enjoy iNaturalist, and I imagine it’s super rare in any event. It’s hard to imagine that the concern about people being upset by cut vegetables is a sincere one.

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I’ll reply by DM…


This seems like the best solution, to me. Here is a recent example where I used that method [warning: this observation contains roadkill]. The first photo is nothing worse than many people will see on a day-to-day basis while cycling to work or school. The other photos show closer views (and yes, a photo of a paw is much more useful for training the AI than an image with a text warning).

I guess this might not have worked in the salamander case unless the observers were willing to take an extra photo of each occurrence. But “taking an initial photo from a distance in cases where the object might be disturbing to others (e.g. roadkill or entrails)” could be added to the information on how to make observations with the aim of making this a norm on the site.