@ mention notifications months later

I’ve been having notifications come through months late recently. For instance, this user tagged me in their observation in June, but I just got the notice today. There have been a couple other instances of this as well recently.

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sometimes I edit an existing comment - a new @ tag on an old comment will cause a new notification


I discovered recently that bulk-edits can cause this too. A user bulk edited some pin locations and it caused a small flurry of re-sent alerts.


Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve got 2 notifications that were 3 months late…

I got this one this morning from March 27th

That’s not quite right – dashboard notifications sometimes have a disconnect between the content and the reason for appearing, if that makes sense. In this case, the time of 1:46 AM in the upper right indicates this notification was triggered by ewoutknoester’s recent ID (in the screenshot below the minutes are the same, the hours are different because of timezones). The bug is that the notification appears to be for an older mention.
I’ve been assuming the notifications revamp will fix this issue.

This appeared on both the dashboard and as an actual notification for me

And the notification didn’t say it was for the ID? You should have gotten a notification for the ID unless you unfollowed this observation.

The notification wasn’t for the ID, it was for the @mention in the description that I originally wrote when I posted that observation myself

But did you also get a notification for the ID? That is, the one in the dashboard appears to be for the mention, but was triggered by the ID. If you only got one header notification, it may also appear to be for a mention, but was triggered by the ID too.

I only got one notification, so I assume it was meant to be for the ID, but the text in the notification said ‘valerie_taylor mentioned you in an observation’ rather than ‘ewoutknoester added an identification to an observation’. So I guess rather than being a delay issue, it’s that the notification was somehow erroneously labelled

@jwidness I just got 4 more:

These are all cases where someone added an ID, but it’s saying the notification is for the @mention. Also, for these 4, I hadn’t commented on or followed those obs in anyway, e.g. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/40804768

New IDs shouldn’t be generating notifications for me at all for these last 4 because I’m not following those observations in any way

That’s true – the mention should not have subscribed you to this observation. Can you confirm in the upper right that you’re not subscribed? Just to see whether the bug is that you got subscribed to something you shouldn’t be or whether you got a notification for something you’re not subscribed to.


Definitely not subscribed

Then I would say there are at least 2 separate bugs: the unmatched dashboard content/timestamp, and a notification for an observation that you’re not following. Possibly also a third bug for the bad header notification on an observation you were following.

Unfortunately, I kind of doubt the dev team will want to put a lot of effort into these if they’re about to rewrite notifications anyway :/

just to clarify, the thebeachcomber isn’t subscribed to the observation, but he does follow valerie_taylor. i don’t follow anyone, but i assume that when you follow someone you’ll get notifications for their observations… i wonder if it’s possible that the unusual situation of a user follow + mention in the description text can somehow trigger a mention notification whenever an identification is added to such an observation?

When you follow someone, you get their content in the dashboard, but not in header notifications.


I’m also suspicious this might have something to do with it…

This is a known bug. Mentions only exist as updates, and updates get erased after about 3 months or so. So when a record with a mention gets saved, iNat looks to see if that user has already been updated about it, and if there’s no update, it makes a new one.

As to whether it’ll get fixed in the notifications revamp, I’m not sure. A fix would be to make mentions persist permanently in our database, so that would create a lot of new records.


I think that would explain both types of bad header notifications (for followed and for not followed observations). Any idea on whether the dashboard timestamp/content mismatch is getting fixed in the revamp? I’ve always just assumed it would be, but maybe I shouldn’t.