"No need to delete" - really?

Recently, someone complained to me because this observation, which was marked as a portuguese millipede in Antarctica (it was even research grade) that kept appearing in their project, that also takes casual observations into account.

Edit: link removed

The observation was clearly silly stuff, and could not be removed because it seems to be original content (a scribble of a face made in MS paint, but original still) and it’s not spam because it’s not trying to sell anything.

The observation was classified as Homo sapiens, and apparently “there is no need to delete”. What’s the point to keep such content? What’s the benefit behind it? Not only is silly stuff, also it can actually harm serious projects with people commited to the platform in a developing community as the one we’re trying to establish in Argentina. Things like this can be very sensitive… and to be true it seems unfair that the best option to remove something like this is to mark it as an Human.


Looks like it has been rendered down to Spam from Human.

Please remove the link in the post, one of the guidelines on the forum is that we don’t single out users or their observations.

I don’t think this should be something to make such a big deal about, hundreds of these observations are made every day, and there isn’t a simple solution to stem the flow of these, staff deleting each one is excessive, and most users won’t delete them as they just don’t care.

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It isn’t spam, so I’ve resolved that flag.

For anyone wondering: iNaturalist’s definition of spam is specific: anything that is clearly intended to make money, which could be links to spurious sites or attempts to manipulate search engine indexing through lots of text or links to weird places. https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/help#spam


If we cannot consider it as spam due to the Inaturalist definitions, it would be good to be able to start marking these observations in a different way so that they stop being displayed, in the same way as the copyright images. Identifying these observations as “human” is not the correct way, even though it is the simplest, since in this way apparently a human was seen in Antarctica as the case in question when that is NOT true.


It wasn’t spam when I published it.

How do you know the scribble was made by an human and not a robot? Edit: or a monkey

It might not be a great deal to you as a curator, but it is to me as an admin for a national node who gets complaints from one of the most important contributors that literally added thousands of new species to the platform, because an observation that is clearly a joke kept appearing on their project the day they’re promoting it just before the CNC. And I can’t take down an image just because is not trying to sell anything and it’s not a stolen picture?


I know little to nothing about site administration, so all I have is your word, and I can tell that this is distressing to you. If we had the ability to remove images and observations, I think this would make sense to, but we don’t, and that’s just how we have to deal. You could make a #feature-requests asking for site admins to be allowed to remove images, but it’s not likely to be accepted…

I hope you don’t feel like I’m disregarding your emotions on this, although I can see how it might feel like that from my previous reply. I just don’t think there is a clear solution to this.

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This is a great idea, maybe there should be a separate flag option that automatically hides observations like this?

Edit: Nevermind, that already exists, Casual grade is the same exact thing.

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It’s not my project, and I can’t seriously ask someone to change their rules to a project to exclude an observation of a scribble! And actually, it includes observations in Antarctica, so it even might be useful to have human observations.

Thanks for the comment, @zdanko! I don’t mean to argue, I’m just bringing up serious concerns about how to deal with unwanted content, specially when it can be harmful. Perhaps it’s not the place.


Yes, me neither. I think the best way to get a direct and exact resolution is to email help@inaturalist.org.


I actually can ban users - but that does not remove their observations. It’s a different subject, and can be a big deal. What I want to point out here is that spam (selling stuff) and stolen content are treated as super serious transgressions to what can be uploaded, and can be easily removed, but there isn’t a way to remove content that is not an actual photo or sound and it’s clearly made with no serious attempts, even when it can be harmful. I don’t want to say that curators need to be bound inspect and remove all this kind of stuff, simply that it would be good to have the possibility to get rid of it without marking it as Homo sapiens! I know that my question about the possibility of being media produced by a monkey may sound tricky but shows why it can be unfair to solve “non-commercial spam” by marking it as “Human”.

I don’t think much more will come out of this topic, besides repeated opinions. My recommendation, as I’ve communicated on the flag and here, is to contact iNat staff and go from there.


The drawing been made by a human does not imply that that human was really there… the same happens with this case and even if one, two or twenty users mark the location as not correct in the DQA is still being incorrect.
The dialogue with the observer is understandable when it is an account that can make an error of use due to ignorance, which does not apply in this case that were several accounts of school children uploading observations as a kind of “game” (apparently the teacher said to use the platform but not how to use it).


I’ve enabled slow mode to encourage everyone to take a breather before reacting to others.


It seems like a straightforward and sensible suggestion, that will help them avoid all such observations appearing in their project. They may not have the experience of iNat to know they can easily do this, with no adverse results I can think of…?


That is a subjective opinion… as I care for what happens in the community of my node, it can be harmful. Let’s say the people who complained about this because they can’t remove this from their project get too frustrated with iNat and chose to leave the platform (at it has happened with other non related incidents) we would lose some of our best contributors, just because we put them in the same level of someone who uploaded an observation of a scribble of a portuguese millipede in Antarctica. It’s okay to be just but you have to care for those who help you a lot, specially when their complaint is fair.

In developing nodes as is our case, where the portal has being around for just a year and a half and where everyone goes back to you, these kind of incidents are sensitive can be quite a thing! You don’t want to see my Whatsapp today :cry:


If I’m understanding correctly, the origin of the concern over this particular case is that the observation is showing up in someone’s Project.

It is the responsibility of each Project administrator to set up their Project to include and exclude the desired observations. As has already been pointed out, it is easy to exclude observations of Humans from a project. If the project allows Casual-grade observations, then I strongly recommend excluding observations identified as Humans. Observations like the one that prompted this thread are usually identified as Human within a short period of time.

This is the best solution we have for new users “experimenting” with posting observations, in addition to

Other than the clear cases of copyright infringement or spam (as defined by iNaturalist), it would be a very slippery slope to allow curators or other users to arbitrarily hide or delete content that they happen to find disagreeable.


I’m of the opinion that if it’s not wildlife it should just be removed, but iNat has decided that they would rather not remove anyone’s posts unless they have to. Presumably they feel it’s better to tolerate junk observations than to scare away users who may add real ones at some point. Or, since so far they are not causing significant problems, it’s not worth the effort, so ignore them. It seems counter productive to me for a site about wildlife but that’s how they want to run the site.

You’re not the first to bring this up, but they aren’t interested in rethinking their position.


But as been addressed before, the observation in question is not of an human: it has been arbitrarily defined as an human, because it’s the easiest way to solve the issue. In other words, those identifying it as human are assuming the image of the observation was made by an human (in an Antarctic island, according to iNat) with no proof at all.

I can’t see how the most fair solution can be to talk to someone to exclude humans or casual observations from their project (which they might want to include), simple because it’s not possible to get rid of very very evident non-serious observations if they are not selling something or not being an original work.

As said by @zdanko we’re repeating opinions over and over and the topic is closed for me, even when I do not agree with a lot of what has been expressed. Definitely will bring this issue to the next iNat network meeting. Thank you for your comments! Peace.

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