Obscuring observations now obscures the date of comments and IDs

I like your idea and also the whole thing of making observers knowledgeble how their actions affect what they upload, there’s always will be people turning off commuity taxon without reason as well as those who obscure locations or make them private, because that’s what uploader asks them - if location is private. But again with making all of this optional you’ll also have all those who wants to participate but not disclose precise location.

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I haven’t seen too many instances of folks turning off community ID. As I understand it, this will result in the observation becoming “casual”, and we already exclude all the casual observations from the data we get from iNat. I guess it could mean I’ve wasted time trying to ID an observation that will be subsequently excluded, but as I said, it rarely seems to happen with the observations I work on. That’s my main concern really - wasting time on observations that nobody can use. There are only so many hours in the day that I can devote to this, and I need to pick my battles. I’d like to be able to put my time towards the observations that, at the end of the day, are going to be of most use to everyone. Currently, I don’t know if there’s an easy way for me to filter for only observations where geoprivacy = open.

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No, it won’t become casual, it just means you need tons of people to id it to change the id it has if is wrong, often it has the right id, but if not, it’s just really painful to move it out of the map as you can’t just vote in DQA to make it casual unless it has enough ids to mark it as good as it can be.

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Oh, maybe it just doesn’t go Research Grade if you opt out of Community ID? That has the same result from our point of view. We only use Research Grade observations in our Atlas.

If the Community ID and the observer’s ID match at the species level (or higher, depending on the DQA votes), the observation will be research grade. eg https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/89843718

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Not as easy as checking a box in the Filters panel, but you can manually add this parameter to your existing search URL. See this tutorial topic for the details.

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i did realize that a bunch of links to my work database from iNat are now kind of broken. I link my calendar page to some of our surveys and sometimes obscure a bunch of observations if they are on private property. Too bad, but i am not saying i don’t support these changes, just any option has downsides

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Ok, thanks. I’ve been using various custom filters via the URL, so I could add this one as well. One problem is that I would then be skipping observations from the observers who have already given project curators permission to see their obscured observations, so it’s not a perfect solution.

On second thought, maybe it is. Currently, there is no “cost” associated with obscuring one’s observations. I suspect there are at least some folks out there who believe that since obscuration doesn’t cost them anything, why take any chances? Perhaps our project should only work with folks who are willing to leave their geoprivacy open. Folks who find that the experts won’t look at their observations anymore can then decide for themselves whether they really need to obscure their observations.

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For whatever it’s worth (since observer preferences matter sometimes), in the rare cases where I’ve obscured the plants at a site to hide the location of one of them, I’ve intended to obscure the location, not the date and not my number of observations.

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If obscuring the date seems important, how about treating it like the obscuring of locations and fuzzing it out over 7 or 9 days? Make the date, June 28-July 6, not just “July.”

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I would prefer that over the current system.

note that this comment about my links breaking wasn’t entirely true. They still work for me just not for others.

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I don’t like the current system and I wouldn’t like a system that obscured the user name, either. I want as much open for us to see as possible. (I don’t go out and poach plants or anything.)

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For plants, an obviously high quality observation with like 7 pictures showing relevant features the username shouldn’t really matter, but obscuring the location still might, but I agree that if I’m looking at a single photo of something odd looking and see that its the user’s second observation its a good time saving clue that I should just ask if/assume its a non-local garden plant and move on. I don’t really have a strong opinion on whether an option like that would be net positive or negative.

It’s good as an option, but not for all obscured obs, and observer comments and ids should be anonymous too or it would force them not to communicate at all.

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Wow, long thread - I admit I haven’t read every single post above. I like the fact that iNat now obscures the date as well when location is obscured. I already did that “manually” by taking off the EXIF date from the photos and posting for a slightly off date but only for plants highly susceptible to poaching (e.g. ginseng).

Maybe making it an entire month is a bit broad and a week would do, but that depends on how active observers are. Not everyone has time to go out more than once a week, so that wouldn’t obscure much in that case. It would be nice if dates could have accuracy ranges, like there are accuracy circles for locations, but that’s probably another concept again. It also seems from scanning the comments that this impacts usefulness of data for some species (e.g. insects), while it probably does not matter much for others (e.g. trees).

Does obscuring prevent researchers from getting data? That depends on how responsive the observers are and how much time the researchers are willing to invest in following up. I’ve gotten asked and shared locations in several cases where the person asking was either doing research or a ranger/steward for the area. I’ve even met with park officials to guide them to location so they could get a precise GPS marker for their records. I understand there are a lot of other observers on iNat though who have just tried it out and since given up on it, or just simply don’t respond to messages. Some kind of mechanisms for researchers/park rangers etc. to demonstrate their “need to know” to iNat in order to unlock relevant obscured observations to them might be useful.

This raises the question though whether those obscured for privacy concerns should still be excluded from being made available, and how to tell those from the ones that people may have obscured due to the sensitive nature of the species rather than their own privacy. Maybe there could be a question/options when observers manually obscure an observation asking them for the reason. When I first started out with iNat, I used “private” for things with privacy concerns until I quickly figured out that this renders observations pretty much invisible to others. Anonymizing observations where privacy concerns are present might be an option, but I don’t think it should be used for observations obscured for sensitivity of species. I would hate to miss out on my chance to talk to people involved in research or plant conservation! I enjoy those interactions that result from my posting of sensitive species.

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Is there a way to see if your data will be obscured before the end of filling the observation? Or is it I havent noticed yet the change…
Should I put down my observation and obscure straight away because of the risk of seeing crowd of mad photographers wanting to make the scoop, or can I rely on the system, and for some cases like here adapt to local considerations e.g. mustela nivalis is uncommon in Switzerland but almost never seen in Geneva…

i wouldn’t support username obscuring rather than date, for a lot of reasons. it would create a ton of problems including with copyright, and would make it really hard to do data quality control or ask questions about the observation.
Exact date is rarely if ever meaningful to me. I wish there were an option to submit observations with only month as a time, anyway. maybe it is more useful for some insects but isn’t identifying insects only by timing kind of circular (like subspecies-by-location stuff) and totally excludes the potential to collect data on phenology changes due to climate change, etc?

Welcome to the Forum @vbe01. These are good questions!

At least if you are using the web site to upload, you can first look up the taxon page for the species you will be uploading, and click on its Status tab to see where it is given taxon geoprivacy and why. For example, on the taxon page for Ophrys apifera, you will see that the species currently has obscured taxon geoprivacy in Austria, Croatia, and Switzerland, but has open taxon geoprivacy in Sweden (and anywhere else not listed as obscured).

If the taxon currently has obscured taxon geoprivacy where your observation is located, it will be obscured automatically by the system when you post it. But, sometimes taxon geoprivacy can be changed later if the community has a discussion and agrees that obscuration is not necessary because any threats to the species are not from knowledge of locations. So, if you are concerned about revealing the location of a particular observation, you should obscure it yourself (or consider not posting it at all), and not just rely on the system to do it for you.

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That said it is a good thing to obscure geoprivacy, as you mentioned O. apifera, I did post last year some observations: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/49737121
This site I went to visit this year and found on the more than 70 plants, none… all have been removed… The same with the one nearby my home, explanation : people posted on FB knowing where I usually go for walk, and took pictures…
So for plants, yes it is dead important, insects we can discuss as its hard to keep them in a limited area if they wish to move, birds is important during nesting period etc…

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