Motivations -- we don't know them

Keep it up. sedgequeen was explaining that the various motivations are good. I agree with her. It is amazing to have this amount of participation on such an open system with few rules, and as a bonus we end up with information and data that was never before available to anyone.


To be fair, the person you are directing this to has already said he misinterpreted the original comment.


It might be a reference to a recently-closed thread, where some of us felt it was rude to monopolize many pages with the same broad taxon (e.g. mushrooms), without room for anyone else on those pages. And yes, it was a gripe, in that it makes things much more difficult for IDers who do not know that taxon well.

Well, the thread I referenced was closed for a reason. As I see it, the reason behind the gripes, and behind the behaviors people gripe about, is the same as what you see in a grocery store every day: someone blocking the aisle you want to get past, not because they are intentionally being rude, but because they are so focused on the item they are contemplating that they don’t actually notice other people. We all tend to live in our own worlds, largely unaware of the ways in which we inconvenience others.

1 Like

That’s interesting, I hadn’t seen that thread/comment. As an observer I have been DM’d by an identifier and asked politely to refrain from observing large numbers of X at once for similar reasons.

I think, as with other things mentioned by the OP, these are design considerations in reality. I don’t see a user observing en masse as equivalent to someone unintentionally blocking a grocery isle. A user observing en masse is actively encouraged by the existing design of the platform.

It would be good if the design of the identification portal supported you in having more control over the taxa/geography you were looking to help with though. If you like to identify taxa X but not taxa Y can you not just use one of the URL hacks to filter the observations?


What a weird encounter! Some iders find problems in nothing, discouraging good posting is the last thing to do on iNat. I know people who refuse to participate in bioblitzes because “childern” post “too much” and always end up first, like if that was a bad thing.


Actually, without going into details, I think it was well-meaning and good advice from this identifier in this instance. They were very respectful. Also, this is an identifier I would be lost without, so would rather they tell me if I am doing something which makes their life difficult tbh.

But yes, in another context, I can imagine this being pretty inappropriate and annoying.


It’s nice you didn’t feel that way, made it easier, but I’m always sorry for potential “lost”/undone observations because of how ider feels about them. But yeah, with so few iders and especially major ones, we have to stick to them anyway, no matter what they say.


I’d like to apologize for the last couple sentences in my post, obviously not clear. Other commenters took care of that, though, with explanations. I truly am saying, people do different things with different motivations we don’t know anyway, so don’t fuss.

As someone who sometimes posts large numbers of observations with large numbers of photos each, I’d be a hypocrite if I objected to lots of similar observations. (Mostly I do that with species I’m interested in but don’t know enough about to know if I included the right information. Sometimes just because I really like the organism. So now you have motivations to ponder!)


Pardon me, but DM’d mean dismissed? I don’t understand the reference. And that is all I want to know!!

DM = direct message

1 Like

Ahh, I understand now. Thanks.

1 Like

Yes, I already wrote further up that I misunderstood it.


My friend and I were discussing this very thing awhile back. It wasn’t long after iNaturalist had changed the format to reflect a leaderboard (it was not originally this way). When asked to vote and comment on this change, I had mentioned these very issues, because its been my experience that some people are just very competitive.

It wasn’t long before my friend and I had noticed a number of observations had some very wild stabs in the dark identifications on them and we concluded that it had to be some people’s numbers game.

At first it bothered me, just as it bothers me when people are new to an area and fall in love with non-native plants to the point of defending those invasives, or people on social media bs their way through an argument by picking and choosing data points which reinforces their view point, not reality.

I admit I sometimes struggle with issues like these because, to me, it diminishes the experience and can lead to the spread of disinformation and that can cause real harm without meaning to.

A little over five years ago I reluctantly had a photography exhibit. I agreed to it only because all of the proceeds went to an environmentally oriented non profit. There were a couple of things I really struggled with and had to come to unsettled terms over one aspect in particular. People photographing my photos while they were on display at the exhibit and while they were online.

To me it was paramount to theft and disrespectful as well. I spent a ton of money on camera gear, printing and mounting equipment and transportation costs, blood sweat and millions of bug bites were endured. My time and expenses were just dismissed with the click of an iPhone and it made me mad. Few other professionals have this problem with their craft. One person said “well, it’s in the public domain, so it ought to be free for the taking”.
To me, this was rationalizing theft. I park my car in public and expect it to be there when I return, I don’t leave it in a public place expecting it to be taken, that would be considered theft and I equate the two with the same value. I had to wrestle with seeing people at a private preview of my work snapping away, it bugged me to no end. Did these people feel entitled? If so, why? Didn’t they care or consider my position?

Finally after ruminating on this for a week, stopping just short of removing my work from the walls a couple of times, I finally got to a place of resolution.

There is nothing I can do about any of it and I need to just accept that not being able to fix stupid nor impart all data to any person hell bent on validating their bias with picking and choosing facts and ignoring information in its entirety, being super competitive over embracing a more educational awareness, the theft of my art or my car is just a reality of being human these days and I can not in all good consciousness diminish the positive impacts because negative ones sting with injustice, disrespect, greed and callousness.

People will be people and I can just hope the negative impacts are few and the damage is minimal and some day soon things will change for the good.
Bottom line pick your battles. Energy wasted on things that you cannot change is just energy wasted


I’m sorry, but you’re picking at people who came to your exhibit and liked the photos? Of course they’ll be taking photos, to look at them later or to show their family, it’s not a theft, as photos of paintings in a museum is not an art crime. You call appreciation of your art dismissing your work, while it’s certainly not true, unless anyone decided to claim the authorship it’s not. And calling anyone stupid shouldn’t be happening.


Calling anyone here stupid would, of course, be too impolite to tolerate. However, developing tolerance by realizing that one cannot fix stupid seems like a different thing, to me.


It still means someone is stupid, right? Not a simple calling names, but there’s always someone who was called indirectly, you know.

I’m pretty intelligent, but I’ve done phenomenally stupid things, at time. Stupid can be me.


I hope it wasn’t you! :D But really, stupid part is not the main issue for me, I’m just sorry for people who liked something and were called thieves for that.

I am new to iNaturalist and have no idea what leader boards are or where to find them. Until I was told about iNaturalist I had no way to learn about the living beings around me except a few naturalist led walks when on yearly vacations.
I now go out to the weeds in my alleyway and the flowers planted along the sidewalk each day and record what I see (flowering weeds, pollinators, the occasional bird that I want to identify or is showing interesting behavior, like the starling doing the broken wing routine to distract me). As a result, I have many entries waiting for ID and am often wrong about their ID.
I realized I take a lot of time and effort from other members. So I have taken a species at a time that I am confident I can usually identify from pictures and have been going through the backlog of unidentified pictures. I always look and make sure the pictures look right to me, and then check the suggestions to be sure they are in range and that no local species might have been mistaken. When in doubt, or no location, I go to the next one. Occasionally I find a very likely alternate id, and depending on how confident I am I leave a comment or make an alternate ID.
I only happened on this comment because iNaturalist sent me an email. I think I found the forum once before because I was looking to report a problem with the suggestions list. It told me to go to buttons that I don’t see on the iPhone app, so I never pursued it further.
Anyway, in my case, there is no intention to impact the leader board, or mechanically enter IDs.
Beth Schongar (elschongar)


You sound like a very positive addition to the iNaturalist community!