Personal statement in Profile, does it weight?

I saw somebody putting this quote

It is my wish that all of the content I have contributed to iNaturalist (Observations, Identifications, comments, medias, etc) remain on the site in the event of my death"

which sounds great, and i decided to put it on my profile as well, but after thinking on this, i wonder how useful is this statement? Does it have any weight? since we align ourselves with the internal policy of iNaturalist.

2 Likes

I believe the only way your content disappears is to delete your account, so this message is best directed to your family/estate/last will and testaments.

I see Tony is also replying and he has the official answer.

4 Likes

No, it carries no legal weight as far as I know.

I’m not sure where this comes from - iNat accounts are not deleted if the account owner dies.

9 Likes

There was a long discussion about both of these issues (death and account deletion) that may be of interest to link here: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/the-vanishing-of-a-fellow-inatter/38221

5 Likes

I think such a statement may be directed at family or friends who may take it upon themselves to clean up the deceased one’s on-line presence. By the time the will is read, some well meaning individual may have deleted the iNaturalist account and then it’s gone, even if the will says to leave it.

6 Likes

That’s a good point.

To clarify:

  • accounts are not deleted by iNat or iNat staff if they are dormant. So if a user passes away, the content will remain there unless someone gains access to the account.

  • making that statement has no legal weight. It might let your next of kin know your wishes, but that’s it. In that case I’d let your next of kin know your wishes beforehand in a will or some other method.

  • iNat’s legal counsel has told us we don’t really have the means to confirm that a deceased person owns a specific account, so we don’t really investigate these claims unless they’re brought to us by next of kin, and in that case we’d consult our lawyers and discuss next steps. We have written some blog posts about deceased users, but in those cases they were known to us personally.

7 Likes

I included iNaturalist in my will. I put a lot of time into it and it pains me to think that if I were to die, I wouldn’t be able to explain my thoughts on what to do. So better to do it now. And they better take it serious or I’ll be a really mean, cranky ghost and haunt those who disobey me.

But in all seriousness, I definitely recommend putting this type of thing in an actual will if you care about it enough to put it in your bio. Make sure people are able to follow your wishes.

7 Likes

I am not sure who first used that language on their profile, but the first time I took notice was jacqui-nz. She knew when her end was near, and @jon_sullivan posted a wonderful tribute to her in a project dedicated to members of the iNat NZ community who have passed.

To follow up on what Tony said, I’ll just add that we are in the process of getting legal guidance on how staff might best advise the community to incorporate your wishes for your iNaturalist account in your will. In the meantime, if anyone wants to start looking into it, advice on documenting “digital assets” in wills is generally applicable.

11 Likes