Observations that are media-less but somehow verifiable (and some RG)

URLs (aka web addresses) of any relevant observations or pages: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?sounds=false&photos=false&verifiable=true

Pretty sure this one’s a real bug, not one for the pinned thread. I don’t think it’s been reported yet.

From the help page:

A verifiable observation is an observation that:

  • has a date
  • is georeferenced (i.e. has lat/lon coordinates)
  • has photos or sounds
  • isn’t of a captive or cultivated organism

But searching for observations that have no media returns 352 verifiable observations, 140 of which are RG:

This media-less observation is even in GBIF:


Coud it be the same situation as when the observation was synchronised with another website, like flickr, and photos are deleted there after the observation got RG?


This isn’t a solution, but just a note that triggering reindexing by voting/unvoting in the DQA did fix all the ones I checked, i.e. they changed from Needs ID or RG to Casual.


If I’m remembering correctly, iNat used to link out to photos hosted elsewhere, but now they’re all copied over. So for recent observations, deleting the outside photo shouldn’t have an effect.

I do wonder if these may have all had media at some point though. Every one that I checked has a non-zero number for observation_photos_count…


I wasn’t able to replicate it via the website or Android app (1.19.7 / 429) by manually removing the photo after the observation achieved RG.

  1. Create verifiable observation via website or Android app
  2. Use test account to agree with the ID, obs becomes Research Grade
  3. Edit observation via web or open obs in Android app and remove the photo, save/resync, obs becomes Casual

I checked about two dozen of them and all but one were created with the Android app and had non-zero photo counts, so possibly related to https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/disappearing-photos/13521?

I did find one that was created via the website and that has a photo count of 0.


Possible, but I doubt it, as everyone who’s reported that bug to help@inat still has all their photos on the site, they’re just not being displayed in the app. We’ll take a look.

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