Multiple observations from the same time and the same place

I have noticed that the practice of reporting each photograph from the same place at the same time as a separate observation has trended. I am no computer expert, but possibly eight separate observations, each with one photo, takes up more storage capacity than one observation with eight photos.
It is probably technically possible to combine separate observations that converge in time and locally into a single observation through official action. It would save storage capacity and improve the scientific usability of observations.
I have also noticed that iNat aims to avoid any restriction on user activities. The website reinserts on instruction and advice. In this respect, however, the results have been poor. The practice has not decreased, but on the contrary has increased.

If they are new to iNat - they may not realise that many pictures of one plant, can and should be combined as one observation. I leave a comment (duplicate of obs no …)

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… and also flag the duplicates so they get pushed to Casual.

Unless they are exact copies of the same photo, they are not technically duplicates, just different observations of the same plant, taken a few seconds or minutes apart, that should be combined into a single observation.


Also, it’s my understanding that we’re not supposed to use flags to push duplicates to casual anymore (too many flags were overwhelming). That doesn’t leave a good way to deal with duplicates other than commenting/messaging the OP to deal with them be deleting/combining.

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That’s what I’m talking about. The photos are not duplicates, but different images of the same object.


Yes, so as @dianastuder mentioned, it’s best to encourage the observer (especially newer users who are still learning) to combine the photos in a single observation, by leaving a comment on one of them and including links to the others.

If it helps, the iNat curators maintain a page of (English language) Frequently Used Responses to issues like this. The section on duplicates and “near duplicates” (this case) is here. Feel free to modify the language to fit your personal style and the experience level of the observer.

Note that it is not mandatory that problems like this be fixed. So if the user pushes back, or ignores you, or expresses a reason for wanting to post separate photos of the same organism, then I would just leave the issue alone.