Topics removed are they partly moved somewhere?

A couple of days ago a topic was started asking users if they had any grievance concerning iNaturalist. A few people had added posts to it, which incidentally were very mild as far as I remember, and then the topic disappeared – apparently within a few hours. What happened ? Why such a full removal ?

When I had seen that topic, it was very late in the night for me, I was just awake enough to add a like. Not finding it the next morning was very surprising; I even wondered if that had been a kind of dream. It took me quite some time to remember who started that topic so that I messaged him to be reassured of that thread having been a reality.

Now I wonder : is it true that such a thread has left no sign of its short existence, whatever the strength of the reasons leading to its removal ?

Or perhaps is there a “cemetery” section of the Forum, where users can find partial, moderated, even censured descriptions of what the fully deleted topics (or even the deleted posts) had been about ? That would be very hepful, and reassuring, for the standard user to know.

Thank you in advance for your time and understanding.


It was closed, then likely set to be not seen, basically yes, hidden from general public (I guess seen for curators), iNat stuff does it to prevent holywars, but imo it can be a way to hear what people wouldn’t say otherwise (not every problem gets its own topic and not everyone is ready to do that at all), and yes, nothing spicy were there.


Keep in mind that the forum guidelines explicitly say " The iNat Forum is also not a place to…post unconstructive complaints/grievances. Posts should aim to start a productive conversation or resolve problems."

There is nothing wrong with airing grievances, but you should also offer constructive solutions rather than just complaining for the sake of it


Concerning that topic, maybe a request to make its point as specific as possible would have been appropriate.

But my topic here is about deleting a topic : that should not make it disappear completely. At least a mention of it should appear somewhere.

The topic wasn’t deleted, but rather unlisted. When topics get unlisted on Discourse, they are

  1. No longer included (for non-moderators/staff) in any of the lists such as ‘latest’ or ‘unread topics’
  2. Are only accessible via the direct link for that topic

I am sorry but I do not see how, for a standard user, keeping the content of a topic intact while making it inaccessible is different from just deleting it.
While there is no need to keep it intact, fully visible except possibly for other reasons, a minimum amount of information about it should be made available to anyone.


Please let me quote this in full from a topic on account deletion. “iNaturalist will always allow users to entirely delete their content from the site , both as a matter of principle and because laws like GDPR. So to reiterate, this isn’t just about laws, it is also about principle. We’ll work on an anonymization option for those who want to delete their account but want to leave their contributions here anonymously.”

In short unsatisfied users willing to quit iNaturalist should avoid deleting all their content at once from the site, and anonymization was seen as a possible solution.

But then conversely, there should be a way to prevent iNaturalist staff or moderators from completely deleting content - notably if from the start that seems quite relevant to users - like a topic in the Forum.

As mentioned above, content of inadequate topics could be trimmed, even down to minimal information, and perhaps anonymized.

Such a “cemetery-like” Forum section could simply be called “Deleted topics” and include simple archival data such as, in this case :

“A topic asking users to share generic grievances on iNaturalist was started on date June 26th,2021, had N replies,was unlisted after X hours. Justification: the aims/scope was unclear or practical consequences were not specified (or … ?)”

This does not seem very cumbersome to implement. Yet it will provide a minimal recognition of the time and efforts spent by the users involved, whatever the degree of inadequacy they showed to the eyes of iNaturalist.

And all the users of the Forum will be reassured that what they see in the Forum or contribute to the Forum is respected and protected by more than just the daily assessment of a few interpreters of the Law (sorry, but this is the impression).

Please let me say that all this is about making iNaturalist (Forum) a solid thing, rather than something quite ephemeral. And in my opinion, users’ efforts will adjust quite proportionally.

Ephemerality and its emulation may be the best explanation to the underlying question of the account deletion topic :

“…why people leave and which improvements can be made to reduce such occurrences…” ref

1 Like

And why was the following similar topic closed insteaf of removed ?
“I’m going to close this topic, as this Forum is specifically not meant to be a place for complaining or airing grievances, even if they’re small ones. If there is a specific issue bothering you, start a discussion that seeks to understand the issue and perhaps make it better.”

1 Like

And a related question : is it correct that about 2/3 of all the topics in this Forum have been removed ?

Indeed, I used a script to check how many topics are numbered from 23852 through 24551, which means the last 700 potential topics.

The script found only 226 active topics out of these possibly 700 (that is 32%), which raises the possibility that 68% (two thirds) of the topics were deleted.

The same script found a similar fraction of only 30% topic assignments for numbers 1 to 700 (dating back to 2019).

Here are two examples :

  1. The very first numbers (2019)

  2. Numbers for the very last topics tested (from today July 7th)

Why are so many numbers not (or no longer) associated with topics ? Are there different explanations or were they all deleted ?

Does “inactive” include closed topics? Because far less than 50% of topics are still active=open.

1 Like

Topic numbers also get assigned to private messages and to topics in private forum sections for staff, moderators, node admins, etc. If you don’t have permission to view the topic/message, it will look blank to you. For example, topic number 11 (which you’ve marked as nothing) is a getting started message from the Discourse software.


OK then how many are in the category relevant to this topic here, that is how many were deleted ?
By extrapolation from the two 700 samples I took, we have approx. 8100 topics that are visible (24552 * 0.33) and 16450 topics that are not visible (24552 * 0.67), and some of the latter were private, yet some were deleted/unlisted. How many of the 16450 were deleted/unlisted ?

Closed topics are visible, and are included in the ~8100 mentioned above.

This should be straightforward to count: how many “unlisted” topics are not accessible to anyone except moderators yet were not created by moderators ?