Rules for thee, not for me: blocking is a broken mechanic on iNaturalist

Hi friends,

Blocking. Blocking is an extreme measure for situations where efforts to resolve differences through discussion have failed and the offending party refuses to stop contacting you. Blocking someone will prevent them from interacting with you on iNat, including through identifications and use of the DQA. You can block someone by editing your account settings and using the “Blocked Users” feature. Blocking is not a way to stop identifications from people you don’t like or trust.

I recently made a post about a user who mysteriously blocked me. I had identified a few observations for them without controversy or comment, but found myself on the receiving end of a block. Turns out, this user had done something similar to other users and these blocks were reversed upon my contacting iNaturalist. They had clearly violated the “rules” regarding when a block is warranted, and so justice was served.

Alas, the story does not end there…

I happened to stumble upon another user who has blocked me, again without any indication of why. As with the previous user, my only interaction was identifying some of their observations, so presumably the block is some sort of retaliation on their part. Again, this violates the “rules” listed by iNaturalist, but in this instance there is no justice being offered by the all-powerful iNaturalist mods. The explanation I was given is as follows…

I don’t know why that user blocked you but I don’t see the same pattern of the user blocking people for just IDs. Unless it’s pretty clear-cut, asking someone why they’re blocking another user is not something we usually do.

It is also noteworthy that the user who blocked me is a “curator” on iNaturalist.

My expertise is in marine invertebrates, particularly corals. This is a poorly studied group for which there are very few qualified identifiers on iNaturalist and for which misidentifications are rampant without attentive curation. I have logged thousands of hours on here to keep this group’s observations in good order. But I can’t curate observations if I am blocked… so this ultimately affects every other user of this site. Misidentifications may exist, but I can’t even see them if I’m logged in.

My question is this, why does any one user get to have this unilateral power on a community driven website like iNaturalist? Why is there absolutely no oversight when it comes to blocking? Shouldn’t this be a last resort that is directly administered by iNaturalist staff/mods in extraordinary circumstances for users who abuse this site?


29 posts were merged into an existing topic: User Blocked Me For Unknown Reasons, Which Interferes With Curation

A post was merged into an existing topic: User Blocked Me For Unknown Reasons, Which Interferes With Curation