Reuploading someone elses observation

i was wondering if it is allowed to repost someone elses obsevation if they use a Creative Commons license. The background: Sometimes when i ID observations i find very rare species in the background that have very few observations so far or that have not been observed in the region. Usually i ask the observer to upload a copy for the second species. But sometimes the observer doesnt respond or hasnt been online in years. Would it be ok in that case to crop te photo to the wanted plant and reupload it with a new ID (assuming its a CC observation or similar and you stick to the terms, gice credit, etc)?

Even if that is legal, it doesn’t follow the iNat policy of observations representing users’ personal interactions with nature. You could always try overriding the ID, although that isn’t always great if it’s not what the user was intending. I’m also guessing that if users are inactive, they probably didn’t get around to changing their license to CC.


As said, you can’t post observations of things you haven’t seen yourself.


You’re kind of out of luck in this situation. The only thing you can do under iNat guidelines is try to change the ID to the rare plant, but of course that isn’t ideal because it goes against the observer’s intention. I personally think attempting to override the ID would be fine, since an observation of a rare plant is more scientifically useful than one of a common one, but others may disagree. Uploading the photo as your own observation would not be acceptable, although I see the appeal.

First, I’d try to get the ID changed. Write a comment explaining the problem. Tag or message others who may help. Deal with the observer if the/she comes back.

Only if this fails should you even consider uploading the observation again, and if you do be careful to credit the observer who originally posted it, as a note.

I strongly disagree. If it was my observation, I would consider it akin to vandalism if someone knowingly IDed a different organism than the one I intended.


Agree, if user added initial id, then iders shouldn’t reid it just because there’s something else on the photo.

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Thanks for your comments

Yes, I understand the intention. But there’s some philosophical issues with this kind of thinking. I do not believe that personal interaction means that you have to be there in the flesh. For my own pics: I spend a lot of time at home going through them and often discovering something new (underwater cave walls). So my personal interactions with nature are hugely extended beyond my outdoor trips by using digital technology, an ever growing library and my eyes&brains.

When I entered iNat I realized immediately that the observations of others give me the opportunity to interact with other peoples nature obs. Usually I interact by IDing or commenting, but yes, there have been the occasional interesting finds on other peoples pics. I tell them, they respond and reupload, this is how I know it so far.

My point is: if I ever find a (rare) critter in the background of someone elses pic, I do believe that I found it, not the person who took the pic. It becomes my interaction with nature, my observation within another observation. So yes, if I really think it is an important observation and the uploader never responds, I might get the idea of re-uploading it as “my observation that I found in someone elses pic”.

To me this wouldn’t be an issue in this specific case. But of course, if someone kept uploading my pics just to point out everyday organisms in the background of my observation, I’d find that unacceptable, too.


It’s in iNat rules, so no matter what you found on photo, you wasn’t there and you haven’t actually seen that, you can’t know if user didn’t see something, as well as there’s no difference in seeing one object or another on photo.
In my own opinion it’s ridiculous, ability to id things on pics is not equal to being somewhere physically.

Yes, I’m with the rules. Just said it might be tempting, but I really wouldn’t do it.

Other than that, I do not see why it is ridiculous. Our ability to travel with the mind is incredible. As an experienced snorkeler/observer/naturalist I feel the pics of others. Especially when someone posts pics of “my” area, it is like being there in a way, I anticipate the next move of those animals I love and observe so much, I literally see the way certain algae wave with the water movement. I feel the touch of the sponges surface, read the expression of the crabs or fish, wether they are agitated or not, taste the salt on my lips. My brain that I trained to see those tiny details is ablaze with explorers delight when searching those overgrown underwater cave walls on pics someone else posted - or I took, it doesn’t matter really. When I say it is my observation I did not mean it in a possessive way. But it is my self that at this moment spots the evidence for this species, the existence of this specimen, this sweet little crawler.
Being there does not mean to observe. I snorkeled by many a miracle completely unaware, being overwhelmed by the sheer abundance of life. I was there, and observed a lot, but I did not observe this specific little miracle hiding in plain sight. I found it years later when re-re-rechecking my pics! While sitting at home, at my PC, 1000+ kilometers away from the island of my heart. Silence, the sort of shocked bliss when you suddenly spot something where you thought there isn’t! Happens a lot with those cave walls. All senses alert, maybe even recognize it at first sight, having looked out for this species all those years! Happiness, joy, jumping around, doing stupid dance moves and “yes! yes! yes!” …
This is the moment “observation” happens.

I got carried away. Do not upload other peoples pics remains the message. :slightly_smiling_face:


Because even though it’s your experience, it’s not a physical one, if I go look up Google maps and find birds there, they don’t go to my life list, even though I may be the first one who found particular specimens there, it’s my or yours knowledge, but not real life thing, it’s the photo, which isn’t a real living organism, otherwise we can all watch some documentary and tell others we saw tons of lions in our lives, we saw recordings of them, but not animals themselves. I know some people are quite radical and even say that if you see things from viewfinder it’s not like you actually saw it, I disagree as it’s just some glass between you and object, as if you was in a car and looking at reflection, it’s still more real than looking at photo, you may feel how it looks, but most likely you don’t really know how it felt at the moment for the person who took the photo, so many things can’t be recorded on it, and even if it was 4d video, it wouldn’t be real.

I think both is right depending on the context.
After all, my brain is physical, and it’s reactions are, too.
The observation always happens inside the brain.
Of course, actually being there physically is preferable, makes the experience even more enjoyable.
Or not. The water can be very cold after a few hours …


Well, it’s not a physical contact with organism, but with how matrix captured photones from it, plus you saw it from your house and at current time, so maybe you’d be able to upload them as casual obs with those settings, question is why.)

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