User Blocked Me For Unknown Reasons, Which Interferes With Curation

Hi friends,

You’ve Been Blocked. The owner of this resource has blocked you, which prevents you from communicating with them. Most interactive features on this page will not work.

I’ve never seen this message before, but apparently a user blocked me. I have no idea why, nor do I recognize the user. Maybe I disagreed with one of their identifications and they blocked me? Maybe they clicked it by mistake? I didn’t even know you could block a user from interacting on observations.

I would love to not care about this, but it directly interferes with my ability to curate their observations. As the most prolific identifier of Cnidaria on iNaturalist, this is a significant frustration. Any misidentifications from this user seem to be impossible for me to address. I can’t comment or identify, nor can I message the user to find out why I was blocked. This in turn affects all of you, since any misidentified observations remain misidentified. I can’t even see this users observations when I click on their profile, so I have no idea what, if any, problems there may be with these observations.

What is this functionality?! Hoping for a response from iNaturalist staff on this. Allowing users to block each other in this way makes curation impossible. I’d like to see a discussion from the community on whether this is a desired feature. Blocking messages from a user… sure. But allowing someone to block your ability to identify observations seems against the community ethos of this site.

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I rely on your IDs for marine life. Hope iNat can resolve this situation for us.

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That’s a normal part of iNat, anyone can block up to three users, and mute others. I’m not sure anyone needs to be contacted about that, you can’t misclick on that, but open page by page and write down the username, so if you’re blocked, that means that person had their reason to do that, even if you don’t know which. I’d say it’s fine they finally added that message, before there was none when you got blocked.

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Here is the link to the Help page, with the section on Blocking at the bottom of the page: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/community+guidelines It says:

  • 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. You can address problems like that by opting out of the Community IDs. Each person only gets to block three people. If you feel you need to block more than three people, please contact help@inaturalist.org and we will consider raising this limit. If we (the site staff) find that you are using blocking to silence identifiers you don’t trust, we will investigate and we may suspend you.
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I think it is absolutely a case that should be investigated, also per the guidelines of iNat…

If one doesn´t even remember the person, I would think the case the “blocker” made was maybe not so severe that it justifies to block a person… maybe it is indeed because the person didn´t like beeing corrected, which would be against the guidelines.

I actually also don´t really like that it generally prevents experienced identifiers from curating taxa they are good at, but instead leaves misidentifications up there unmamanged (which will especially occur in such a group not known by many like cnidarians)… it´s a weird feature I think.

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I’ve been blocked too. Blocking is an awful, dehumanizing feature. If someone makes iNaturalist an unsafe place they should not be allowed to post (be banned). Otherwise it’s usually over ego issues.

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Have you been blocked by one user or by a curator on Inat?

Nobody would police you over what you block people for though, one user blocked me because I wrote a comment that offended him because he for some reason reided my fish observation to a gull, for him that was enough, and I didn’t even remember his name, found out I was blocked on accident and only found the reason when was checking my observations on a completely different day, I have a person blocked because he has no idea what he ids and I don’t want him to interact with my observations. You can’t really say this user blocked @joe_fish because he didn’t like being corrected, it could be anything else, we don’t know.

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Yes, you shouldn’t judge someone negatively for blocking people, or guess at their reasoning to assume it’s bad faith or to avoid correct IDs.

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I was blocked by one user from their account just because I misidentified a few of their observations. I was only trying to help, and they didn’t explain why I was wrong, just straight up blocked.
I understand why this feature exists but it should never be used for a personal attack or because you do not like them identifying your observations(disagreeing,agreeing, false ID’s).
Only people that are consistently harassing you or are maliciously misidentifying your observations should be blocked(and from Inat, not just your account.)

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Blocking is to keep people safe and avoid interactions with people you don’t want to interact with. It’s not awful or dehumanizing, someone blocking you has nothing to do with your morals or theirs. It’s possible for someone to be a jerk without needing to be banned from the site entirely. Being blocked isn’t dehumanizing, that’s not what that word means. You can be personally offended by being blocked without saying it’s dehumanizing. Anyone should be able to block anyone they want, and we shouldn’t assume that someoen blocking people means they’re doing it to break rules.

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There is a way to mute users, which prevents them from getting notifications about your messages, identifications, and comments; muting is usually better for difficult communication with another user. You can mute as many people as you want according to Inat, although this isn’t recommended.

I’m sure, even if staff is involved, they would talk to the person and ask their reasoning, not suspend them for using the feature. It doesn’t sound like a case of person blocking him mid-id session after some disagreements, we had cases like this.
@yayemaster muting is worse actually for that matter, you won’t be notified of their wrong ids.

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Thanks for that fact. I edited the comment.

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I’m currently blocked by an account that is now suspended - the person did not like anyone correcting their (ludicrously incorrect) IDs. Unfortunately their observations and block remain in place even though the account is banned, so there’s a bunch of incorrect observations I can’t fix. It’s really annoying.

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thanks for sharing that.

so I realized that I could see the blocked observations by logging out. for those wondering, it looks like I identified a handful of observations from this user, of which only a couple differ from what the user uploaded them as (using the Computer Vision suggestion, naturally). there was never any comment from this user, and on several of the observations they changed their IDs to match mine. this user has 2600 observations, so a fairly active participant on here.

summary: I have no idea why this user blocked me, but it clearly violates the “community guidelines” regarding blocking.

also, annoyingly, I do see several observations that are either misidentified or which I could improve, but, alas.

if anyone at iNaturalist wants to help resolve this, please get in touch

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I personally think that a user should have to have a staff member or curator approve it when a user wants to block another user. I’ve been blocked by multiple users, and it’s always because I voted an escaped captive animal wild (which is what you are supposed to do). Some of these users have a huge volume of observations and it really bothers me that I cannot see them or ID them.

I understand blocking has some legitimate uses but I am willing to bet that 9 times out of 10 blocking is unjustified.

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Blocking someone prevents them from identifying, although for a project or research purpose it’s still possible for any user to see the total number of observations and species diversity for a wildlife group by viewing Explore when logged out. And if you notice more Explore observations when logged out compared to when logged in it would also indicate they were obscured due to being blocked, which seems common.

Logging out (and then logging back in) is a bit of a hassle though - I would really like to able to see all the observations while logged in.

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I agree, that it would be ideal if the identification part of observations weren’t fully obscured when people get blocked, even if part of the observations would become obscured.

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