Obscene photo protocol

At the end of a long week of bs, I was presented with picture of a human penis to ID.

I could mark it as inappropriate and wait for a moderator to see it and decide, or mark it copyright infringement and take it down faster but leave no note for the moderator.

How do you want these handled? Do you think maybe inappropriate should have photo hidden until review?

Not a prude, but not expecting flashers here.


Definitely get it out of sight as soon as possible. Maybe I am a prude, but this just is not the place for human genitalia. You can also report it to help@inaturalist.com as I expect this is some kind of violation of the TOS.


Totally okay with genitalia, in theory - they’re a part of nature. But agree that such photos are generally counterproductive on this site. Our primary mission is to encourage folks to interact with nature, no matter their backgrounds, ages, etc. So being able to eliminate this sort of photo quickly seems helpful.

I suspect that there’s some legit interest, potentially, in cv being able to distinguish species by genitalia. (In primatology, there’s a ‘lock-and-key’ hypothesis of speciation floating around, or at least there was 20 years ago when I was in school.) But even in this case, we’d want something like the ‘alive’/‘dead’ demarcation to protect folks’ sensibilities.

And as @peakaytea notes, this instance wasn’t intended as informative. We want to make iNat a safe place.

[I’ve edited to better match my intent – I didn’t mean to seem dismissive.]


we have kids on here!


Yeah, don’t allow them get satisfaction they seek, flag it the way that’ll hide the photo from regular users.


Not a “human nude.” Not a piece of scientific documentation.

I’m a frustrated that you seem to have missed the point as evidenced by your discussing irrelevant cases and scientific theories.


This corresponds to “content likely to be hidden by curators or deleted by staff” from the iNat Help page. It may be justified to hide/remove content if curators/staff would also be strongly expected to. But in the event you only started by flagging, it would be best to message/email to see if curators/staff respond immediately.


Sorry…message or email whom? Thanks.

Message a curator or staff member (especially if they were thought to be online), or email the iNat help address. I think you could also use an inbox message to contact forum moderators, if you needed to reach someone and nothing else worked.

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By your description this appears to be a case of an attention-seeking loser seeking to cause upset and give offense. Flag the observation and notify staff. Irate, shrill, angry or other sorts of commentary that feeds the observer’s need for attention just gives him what he’s looking for.

@peakaytea Maybe do an edit on the topic in an effort to raise the tone of the conversation, being as how there are kids on this forum?

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Sexually explicit content (meaning, of humans) is one of the four kinds of content that are listed as Any of these behaviors are grounds for immediate suspension without warning in the iNaturalist Community Guidelines. Any Curator who becomes aware of such content should be taking that action immediately.

For non-curators, the quickest way to hide a photograph is to flag it as a Copyright Violation. Not the best use for that kind of flag, but probably justified in this circumstance until a curator/staff member can be notified. Which you should then do asap.


there should probably be an explicit content flag that behaves the same way to instantly hide it.


(I changed the topic’s title because it was appearing on the dashboard Forum widget)

Please flag the photo as copyright infringement and email help@inaturalist.org as soon as possible. We’ll take a look and delete it if it’s obscene. I don’t think it’s worth engaging in any sort of comment or message to the user that posted the photo, it’s just giving them the attention they desire.


in clear cases of inappropriate photos, i’ve seen that the users who posted those photos get suspended, and the photos get hidden. those actions seem to be be fairly consistent. but then it seems less consistent when it comes to whether the photos actually get deleted from the system. is it just that the process there is looser – it seems like you’re indicating that an e-mail must be sent, too, beyond flagging a photo as inappropriate – so it’s harder to keep track of photos that need deleting, or is it considered acceptable that these photos just remain hidden indefinitely without actually being deleted? (most people aren’t going to look at the hidden photos, but technically they’re still viewable.)

yes. it seems odd to me that an inappropriate flag wouldn’t trigger immediate hiding of photos if a a copyright infringement flag does.


Yes, we need to be notified about it so it can be manually deleted, if need be. There currently isn’t a flag that strictly covers something that should be deleted becuase it’s obscene or racist, although I do think we should add one, and probably make it automatically hide the image. Then we could easily search for those flags and decide whether or not to delete them.

The “inappropriate” flag isn’t well defined and it’s been interepreted in multiple ways - for example, I’ve seen it be used for photos of toys and such when those observations should just be IDed as human. I agree there needs to be some tweaking to this system.


Also can’t flag from the android app

on the “people” page* you can see recent activity. message one of those people who is a Curator – there will always be a few online at any time.

alternatively, you can check the recent comments page*, which is at a slower rate but might be more likely to include “power users” and thus curators.


Thanks, that’s helpful


The people who post thing like that are not necessarily ‘Psychopaths’. As a former psych nurse, that is a clinical diagnosis that takes a long time to understand. Neither is it likely that the poster is abusing animals. The point about children is well taken.
I’m not diminishing the offence, just suggesting that you have jumped to a lot of conclusions with little evidence. Most likely it is some kid wanting to shock people. And termination methods have been suggested.


I hear you.

If it’s a kid’s genital picture, there is a legal exposure.

If it isn’t a kid, there may be some other issue of concern.

I believe this person is a high school senior.