Observations too-hastily marked as inappropriate - How do you deal with them?

As written, I was referring to plants photographed at home after bein uprooted.

Maybe another ‘response to flag’
To prevent misunderstanding the observer should leave a note / comment please.

Weeded out of my garden / conservation rehab
(In hand!) Rescued from the road
This obs is for the frog, not papyrus.

Identifiers do our best with what the observer gives us.

Benefit of the doubt? Hunting for old comments / obs to flag, may - have bubbled up around the ID moving.

I would note that holding an animal or even potentially illegal activity (like handling a protected species) is not one of iNat’s reasons for something to be flagged as “inappropriate”, see: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/help#inappropriate
Education via polite comments will probably be more useful in changing behaviors here than flagging.

There’s been previous discussion of handling of observations with potentially illegal activity on the forum including a feature request that’s been closed:
and there are probably others.

I think one important point is that these observations do have value (see this WWF project about the wildlife trade for instance): https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/wildlife-trade-markets-in-s-e-asia-inaturalist-monitoring/16350

One bit of confusion here might be the popup language for inappropriate which says:
“Misleading or illegal content…” So some users might be giving this flag because they think that something depicted in an observation is illegal. It might be worth clarifying that wording to help in this situation.


I put this statement in the description for a photo of a bird (Henslow’s Sparrow) in hand:

Capturing songbirds (except non-native species) in the US requires a permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. This bird was weighed, measured, banded, had feather and blood sample taken, and examined to determine age and percent body fat as part of a research project. Read the thesis here: https://digitalcommons.lsu.edu/gradschool_theses/41/


Honestly, I don’t think this is necessary except in the case of National Parks or known sensitive areas. In general, I think discouraging a person from picking a plant constrains that person’s ability to interact with plants. Or worse, it may make them overly sensitive about how others interact with plants. This could cause them to want to police behaviors that would otherwise help people interact with plants they encounter. Further, since sap is a useful identification feature, picking the plant may be useful for an ID.


Is there a way to filter our observations to see if any are flagged? I have many bird-in-hand photos uploaded, all from banding under permits.

On a mildly related note, is it possible to filter all our observations to only show which ones someone has disagreed with our ID?

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I suspect many users may simply think it is the intended action in these cases to forward the offending observation to “moderation” action via flagging, as this is how interactions work on the majority of websites. It is actually a little surprising to me to read that users are expected to investigate these cases themselves, when on other sites I have been a member of, it might be considered inappropriate to do so.

I mean, I don’t think it’s wrong or bad to ask this of users - it even makes sense for a peer-education sort of platform like iNaturalist. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there are users jumping to flags first because they don’t know any better, or because they are too anxious or nervous to confront a user with questions that may seem accusatory. Frankly, it would be discouraging to me to have to initiate those kinds of interactions myself every time, as iNaturalist is a hobby for me and I don’t always have the mental bandwidth to debate on here. But it doesn’t mean I never have concerns I think should be addressed.

Fwiw, I’ve never had any reason to use any of the flags myself in the taxa and regions I ID for, but I can imagine appropriate situations in other cases. For bird-in-hand photos, I almost always see a comment on having appropriate permits in the notes section, or a reference to the user’s profession/volunteering on their user profile.


Replace my name with yours = where the CID has moved on despite your ID

If you join the Pre-Maverick project first - you can see where you are the one against 2, and reconsider. Or remain a Proud Maverick.

It’s often difficult to tell why someone has something like a songbird in their hand.

As an example there are numerous instances where I’ve had them in my hand because I’ve had to rescue them from where they got trapped inside, or because one has hit a window and I’m moving it to a safe place.

When I post something like this I include an explanation, but not everyone does and assumptions about capturing are always going to be a bit questionable.

Broadly speaking, my policy is that if an animal is shown captured in some manner it’s a good idea for the observer to post a simple explanation along with the image.


I think this is a good point, and I think I have absolutely no problem with a user flagging something that is against community guidelines or universally acknowledged as wrong on the platform, and I would never expect a user to be the one to have to start a conversation with the observer in cases like this.

I am specifically concerned with users flagging content that they may dislike, but has a good chance of being perfectly innocent or have a perfectly acceptable explanation (which is what I meant by too-hastily in the title). I have trouble with finding the boundary between an “I don’t like this” reaction, and a “Oh, no, this is a real problem” reaction. For example, a photo of a person with a plant in hand (i.e. I take and upload photos of plants in my hand that I collect as part of my work in a Herbarium, with every permit under the sun, of course), vs a photo of a child being bullied, maybe taken by someone else in their class, and probably without consent. I think the extremes are obvious, but the gray area is large.

I also find some people seem to interpret someone flagging their post as a form of attack or punishment, and a comment can be gentler and clarify the issue more quickly.


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