Pop up to warn users not to post location info on obscured records

Sometimes when a user uploads a record of a sensitive species (like Wood Turtle) that would be obscured for most viewers, they will add location information into the Notes section, which could potentially lead collectors right to the location, defeating the purpose of obscuring the lat-longs on the record.

I’m wondering if there’s any way to add some sort of warning or pop-up if you begin to enter a record that would be obscured. For example, if the computer suggests that your record is a Wood Turtle (or other sensitive species), it would add a pop-up or text that suggests you not add any location information in the Notes field (and explain why).

welcome to the forum :) (remember to vote for your own request)


Well, I voted. I am generally for any tool tips or pop-ups that help users understand aspects of the user interface that may be less obvious.

Welcome, @kkelly01 and thanks for the topic.

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While I appreciate the goal behind this suggestion, I think it could get very annoying very quickly. There are a lot of species that are obscured (some for better reasons than others), and this could lead to a lot of pop-ups for some observers. This would be especially annoying on mobile I would think. It might even discourage people from posting observations of those species at all.

I personally rarely see folks posting location info for obscured specimens in their description (or at least very specific location info for those specimens), but then again, I only really ID lizards…


I believe this would be a very helpful feature. I have previously uploaded an observation of a species which I found out afterwards was listed as vulnerable. I almost added a tag to the observation of where I found it, without thinking about it. I only caught myself because it occurred to me that I had seen its location be obscured on the map, so I refrained. But a pop-up would certainly inform users who are unfamiliar with the issues surrounding conservation status and the features of this site to protect the organisms.


I feel ambivalent about this. If it were a feature, I’d like the option to turn it off. Same for existing pop-ups, eg the one that appears when you make an observation with a lot of photos.


I love this idea. I agree that there are different reasons for locations being obscured, such as poaching, collecting, or crowding. It would not be too annoying, after all, most obscured species are pretty rare.


I think this is a great idea! And if people are concerned about a popup being annoying, maybe there could just be some sort of “warning message” that is displayed in red on screen above the description box when a rare species identification has been selected. It could be brief with a “learn more” link that explains all the reasons why the location should not be posted.

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As one who works a lot with obscured species this will very quickly become incredibly annoying. If implemented it will have to be unobtrusive and non-invasive, but to be effective it will have to display every time an obscured taxon is commented on. This will be a challenge to get right!


I agree. I’d prefer if pretty much all pop-ups had the option to disable them.


I think it is a good idea - with the option of turning it off.

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If it will be possible to limit the pop up warning only to the really endangered taxa, then I think that this solution will not be too boring for users and, actually, a way to learn more about what they were going to upload.

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With a Do not show me this again box for those that want that option.

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i think i would rather have this implemented as part of a new user tutorial that includes information about obscured observations. i think new users often don’t understand how obscuration works in the system in general.

from a workflow perspective, you may not be the one actually identifying your observation to a taxon set to be obscured. so a pop-up wouldn’t work in such a situation, in which case such a situation would be unhandled in terms of delivering your message to the observer, or else you would have to create some other means of delivering your message the observer in this case.


I agree with @josh_billings that a warning message or other indicator of “rare” or “vulnerable” would be very helpful. When choosing a species ID, how do I know which taxa are vulnerable unless I am experienced with that group of organisms? It was a mystery to me at first why many cactus observations had a big yellow rectangle for locality, and a randomly placed dot on the map. A helpful fellow user explained the obscured locality feature.