Make it more visible throughout the site when a user is active (within last week)

yeah… i’m not sure of going beyond day, because i don’t want it to be like AIM or something and i don’t want people to get harassed.

I would be OK with some sort of visual indicator that says the user has been active in the last x number of days. EG, a red dot next to teh username lets me know that at least they’ve been active in the last x days. What period do you think would sufficient? 30 days?


I’m not sure if you have metrics on how long a lapse usually means a user may not come back or at least not consistently. But i guess 30 days is what is used on the stat tracker so it might be a good choice.


image ?


If I can make a minor request, not just here on this specific topic but in general for the site. I hope it is something the iNat designer follows anyways, but please try to stay away from colour based indicators in favour of some kind of symbology (even the italics as Cassi suggested above).

Assuming normal distributions, 10 percent of men (including the one writing this comment) and a smaller percent of women using the site are colour blind and colour based indicators are useless for us.


i thought the grey italics was supposed to imply someone was dead! Hopefully we won’t assume all the lapsed users have died.


Is black/grey colorblindness a thing? — inability to distinguish dark and light colors of the same shade? If so, it can’t be very common…

And right, the purpose of a visual signifier is to indicate inactivity, which could be because someone’s dead or just doesn’t log into iNat in a while.

One week (in the title of this feature request) or a month seems pretty recent, I’d aim for like 6 months or more probably. Some people just don’t have many observations/high activity, but if they do have email notifications on, they might log in once you interact with their content again.

For taxon pages, you’re referring to the top identifier and last observer?


Colour blindness is not a single spectrum, there are different kinds. The majority are red/blue problematic, a smaller percent are blue/yellow, a small percentage are total, effectively seeing in monochrome etc.

For example if you asked me to differentiate between something that was dark blue or light,blue, I’d be able to tell you. If you asked me if it was dark blue or dark green, I’d have no idea.


I like Cassi’s idea… subtle but there if you look for it. Another possibility is in the flyover hint on the profile pic


although now that I’ve uploaded that pic, maybe just “last active 1d” or “last active 3w” etc…, same format as the time since ID made


Maybe, for purposes of privacy, make it be something that can opted out of. If someone opts out, they’ll have a grey dot, or something to that effect.


it doesn’t have to do the ‘active now’ thing that inspires harassment on some websites, just indicate if someone hasn’t been around for several months


like this?
the time frame is less than a minute here:

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i suppose, but i think it’s more the blinking light or whatever by the username, as trying to monitor that page for one user out of many thousands is unlikely to yield consistent results for even a dedicated stalker.

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I like the idea of using words instead of symbols, so it’s more widely understood. It might even encourage people who see these to become more active themselves. If possible, I would like to see it not only over the profile picture, but the name too, in case that’s where someone clicks for information.

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Why is this important? I guess you could argue that you might not spend as much time on leaving them a comment or something if it seemed like they were never coming back to the site, but you never really know if someone’s never coming back to the site or not.


Well, I want to leave a thoughtful response if I disagree with an ID if the person will read it but I’ve spent way too much time doing that for fled duress users and such. 95% of the people who’ve been gone for more than 6 months won’t come back, id guess. Whereas most active users would read it


Thoughtful responses are valuable even if the observer is gone forever. I’m much more likely to stop and look at an observation which has comments, and I think this is mostly true of other people doing identification. So if your goal is to get a correct community ID, you should just leave a thoughtful response 100% of the time.

The flip side of this is that users who get little feedback are more likely to go inactive and never come back again, while users who have an early experience where they learn something are more likely to stick around. So I think it’s never a waste of time to respond thoughtfully.

So, I think making it obvious whether a user is active or not will just make it easy for people to slip into the habit of ignoring observations made by now-inactive users, even though those observations are just as interesting as any other observation.


well, of course it is up to you how much time to spend on each observation, but i guess i am referring to things like the random IDs ‘duress users’ drop on their observations which they then promptly abandon. Given unlimited time it might be worth leaving notes on even these, but given i really never see any additional comments on them after adding my IDs, to me the time does not seem worth it, since for each time i write a response i probably lose the time to do 3 or 4 other quick IDs.

of course, if the observer is inactive, but other have left IDs that I disagree with, i’m much more likely to leave a comment.

Ultimately the situation is very different in different places and with different taxa, but to me, this seems like it would both be very helpful, and also reignite some of my lost interest in ID help due to my frustrations with the duress users and such. Of course, if no one else would use the feature, iNat staff shouldn’t waste time creating it. It does have five votes and a lot of comments so it seems like there is at least some interest…


Just to be clear, I’m not opposed to making it easier to see if a user has been active recently, but I agree with Jeremy that detailed and thoughtful responses help everyone, not just the observer, and probably encourage genuine new participants to engage and improve their future observations, and level of activity isn’t really a great indication of how “genuine” someone is.


i don’t know… consider this observation, one of which i’d see dozens of similar ones in any ID session (except when i filter for my curated observers list):

it appears they wrote in ‘lettuce’ with their blurry photo in 2014, resulting in a nonsense ID that a single glance at any ID resource would contradict, mapped it sloppily to a huge 5 km uncertainty circle (they can’t find their own house? maybe they wanted to obscure but…) then left the site after adding just 7 observations, never to return in 5 years. The point isn’t that this is a bad person or something, but they clearly didn’t make iNaturalist a priority at all, either in making their observation or being a part of the community later to see if anyone had any ID help. I did leave little comment blurb there, but i just don’t think it’s worth anyone’s time typing out a detailed response to why a photo of a blurry wet plant is not Claytonia parvifolia.

I get it that maybe i am too much of a grumpy ‘old’ man about this stuff, or that i am not supposed to care about data quality as much as I do, but I am just having a hard time imagining how spending my limited time on something like this helps anyone ‘connect with nature’ or advances conservation in any way considering there are almost 7 million observations in need of ID (not to mention research grade ones with 2 IDs that could benefit from a third) and they are piling up far faster than anyone can review them.


It has nothing to do with level of expertise, but i do think it’s worth reserving extra effort for those who actually care to be a part of the community.

And on that note, I should stop here, because I think it’s pretty clear where i stand with this and in the end, if this feature request isn’t implemented, it won’t be a big deal. Thanks all.