Data could be kept anonymous.
Visible only to the author of the journal post.
How many people have seen this?
Won’t happen - but I would also like to know, how many have already looked at this obs, and quietly abandoned an ID attempt? Is it worth me trying, when ‘so many’ have despaired already? Especially when clearing the 10 year old backlog. Enquiring minds do want to know.
For the journal, maybe the same could be achieved with a “favorite” icon at the end of the journal entry. We don’t really know how they got to the journal entry (forums/external link/inat website/…) so there wouldn’t be a link where clicks can be tracked like that. But I often look for a way to favorite/like a journal entry I read. I will add a comment sometimes if I really want to let the author know how much I appreciate it, but if there were a favorite icon underneath I’d click that much more readily. And the number of favorites (not names) could just be displayed next to it for everyone to see.
People vary. Some will chase vanity metrics. That’s the same argument which is regularly rolled out against leaderboards - which I use - to find suitable @mentions each time.
But authors would like to follow trends. I use StatCounter for my blog. I check which pictures are downloaded - then check if and where they appear again. I check which of my links are clicked (any?) I check which site my readers come from, and get a steady trickle from iNat or the Forum (and vice versa since I include relevant iNat links in my blog posts) It is useful information to the author.
I have a link to the City Nature Challenge and am interested to see where the clicks come from. If the iNat journal were outsourced as the Forum is (to Discourse), we could have analytics.
i tend to agree that collecting raw view counts and/or allowing folks to see who has viewed their stuff is a bad idea. i wouldn’t mind iNat saying generally how many people look at an average observation or an average journal post, but i don’t think most people would be able to do anything useful with those kinds of metrics on specific observations and posts.
that said, people who really want to track that kind of data should be able to do that on their own. for example, you could just add a small image file in your observation description or journal post, and if you control the image file, you should be able to count the number of times that image file is served up, which should be roughly equivalent to views of the particular observation or journal post. i think there used to be a free service that would serve up these image files for you and keep track of how many hits, but i forget what this service was called, and i don’t know if they are still active.
This is not a feature we’ll be implementing. It’s not data we really keep, and not providing users view stats for their content is a choice iNat’s made for a long time, for the reasons others have brought up here.