User deleting/reposting an obs to, I presume, delete a corrective ID (alongside a comment) I made

That’s true

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The vast majority of iNat users are great and want to learn. Some people are just not prepared for the community aspect of this great site or have other unresolved issues probably unrelated to being a naturalist in general, but it manifests in weird ways on here that are inappropriate. Just keep identifying and adding to the conversations and you’re golden. You can’t fix broken people.

(Mini-rant ahead). There’s one in NJ I’ve had issues with: they’ve now opted out of community taxon but also blocked me. Admittedly I’ve made a snarky comment about an observation for an extinct orchid. But they a) seemingly don’t use anything but the most preposterous CV suggestions b) upload copious cultivated species and ignore the advice to mark as cultivated and then even vote up cultivated species that have been voted as cultivated c) do not welcome or respect any kind of expert input or participate in the community. So bad data, rule breaking, and a bad attitude- exactly what not to strive to be. But thankfully this is not most users of iNaturalist!


I have to admit that I have deleted observations of my own that had previously been identified, but not because someone corrected my ID although it may have looked that way. I deleted a bunch of observations a few months ago because I realised that I’d left metedata/exif in the photos that I didn’t particularly want public, and if the person who corrected one of my IDs (if that happened, I don’t know if it did but it’s not unusual for someone to correct me, particularly with Eucalyptus) asked me I’d have just told them the truth. I’m embarrassed by some silly mistakes I’ve made, but I leave them because these mistakes happen in professional settings as well and I find the corrections valuable.
I’m not saying that in this instance the observer deleted it because there was metadata attached to the photo they didn’t want public, but who knows? :) I think the OP asking for clarification when the observer re-uploaded the observation was a good call.


In hindsight I probably should have bitten the bullet and replaced the photos and not deleted the observations. I think that might be a better way but I just wanted them gone as quickly as possible and panicked (my phone number was in the metadata).


You can email iNathelp so user can be contacted about their behaviour.


Thanks everyone for the replies! I can see that I’m not the only one who has witnessed this.

I have since politely chatted with the user, and it seems like my comment (being careful with the computer vision suggestion) did annoy them a bit, but mostly they didn’t want this comment on their iNat record if other users encounter the obs. I guess not everyone welcomes community feedback and transparency on the platform! Again, I don’t think it is a big deal, but it does show that deleting/reposting can abusively be used to control one’s own image on iNat.


On social media people forget that besides the visible engagement (observer, identifiers, commenters) there is a much larger audience silently reading along.
There are, iNatters, who saw the conversation and will still associate that comment / mistake with that observer.


It seems like some IDers expect accolades for IDing. Is there not a better way deal with folks? Maybe lead them in the right direction? Ask them a question…” do you think your observation might have some similarities with this too?….” Instead, too often an IDer blows in, changes someone’s stuff and either disappears or has a few ill words with them and then disappears feeling like the user actually owes them. Why are those people even Doing IDs at all??

Some IDers seem more concerned with numbers and recognition than community members and species identification.

Ive deleted several of my own observations and can promise you it wasn’t because I was embarrassed it was incorrect. Some were right, some were wrong. I also post duplicates, if i see it again the next day, i will log it again. So many species look completely different depending on the season. And the more you see it the more familiar you get and the more you learn. The drive by approach to IDing is good for some things, like census or bioblitz events. Most people don’t like that. Some IDers get that but too many don’t understand that most Nature people are not frantic for an ID right that second, some ponder on it and enjoy that. They are working on specific challenges from the seek app. Some are kids, sweet old ladies, lots of them way smarter than the IDer and some might have a disability. If someone has an really out there ID on their log, think about it, that’s probably why. I don’t like the hit and run conquest approach to ID. And I’m not going to just automatically take anyone’s word unless I personally know their expertise and even then I’ll want an explanation. everyone, even IDers would want that so we should never give less than we ourselves expect.

People are embarrassed for many reasons. I’ve been embarrassed myself when I’ve made an erroneous ID on something “obvious” (although I’ve not gone as far as deleting the ID). Why shouldn’t someone feel embarrassed? I cannot quite see how saying that someone might be embarrassed is related to “talking down these people and demanding they submit”. As for “talking down these people and demanding they submit”, who’s doing that? As for the “bad science” comment I’m not sure how that’s relevant even if true; iNaturalist’s primary goal is not scientific (if it was I can assure you the arguments would probably be even more heated). From

[O]ur primary goal in operating iNaturalist is to connect people to nature, and by that we mean getting people to feel that the non-human world has personal significance, and is worth protecting.


It’s your observation. Your account. They don’t own it. They don’t work for National Geographic. They are not interested in collaborating. Find some people in your own area or a local group because collaboration is so rewarding and so much fun. You do what you want to do with your observations. Edit them, repost them, delete them as you see fit. You don’t owe them endless gratitude or blind obedience. And don’t let them ruin this amazing app and community.

Because it isn’t about being right or wrong. It’s about finding the right answer. It’s about sharing and learning. Community and collaboration. As a scientist myself, I know that getting it right is more important that who calculates the final answer. Without the equation the answer doesn’t exist. There is no other field more collaborative than science and the ego, the nasty thing that gets embarrassed, has no place in science. I’ve never known a scientist who wasn’t eager to explain his thinking or who got angry when his thinking needed one more piece. Yes this is a community of sharing and learning about Nature. That is science. I think we all love Nature so much because in no other place does the spiritual and the scientific blend and work so perfectly together.

I didn’t say anything about right or wrong. The main point I wanted to make in my replay was that people get embarrassed for a variety of reasons and that there’s no point in not acknowledging that. Being embarrassed isn’t right or wrong, it’s a normal human emotion, but your message suggested that people should never be embarrassed. In my experience it doesn’t work that way and it seems plausible that a person might delete an observation because they were embarrassed. I guess what I’m also saying is that this conversation is getting a bit derailed. I agree with the hypothesis that the user may have deleted their observation and re-uploaded it to avoid embarrassment. I’m not saying that they did. And I’m not saying it to side with anyone else’s opinions. To me it just seems plausible.


When I read someone say that users were probably embarrassed…I was kind of startled. I’m wrong about 5 or 6 different things a day, every day. Making mistakes and being wrong is one of the best learning tools. Sure people get embarrassed for many reasons but its not the brain or body that’s embarrassed. It’s that person’s ego. And that’s my point. From interactions I’ve read and been in with IDers that get rude, the user deletes his own post not because he is embarrassed about gettin it wrong, but he’s tired of the IDer who hasn’t properly presented his thinking process and refuses to engage. Thus, the IDer has the ego issue, not the user.

Ad hominem, and not helping the discussion.

Some of your concerns are valid and well described but attacks on the character of other users is out of line.


“Embarrassed” didn’t pop into my head. I suggested that it was a plausible explanation without making judgement. I make mistakes every single day. In a scientific context I do not care; my ego doesn’t come into it. But this is a social website. I’ve made some comments on here that are wrong. Some I embarrassed about, some I am downright ashamed of based on further comments. I’m not going to delete my comments because even for those ones that I’m ashamed of I took on board the comments of others and learned, so they stay. As for a mistaken ID, I can’t think of a reason why I would delete the observation, but I can understand why others may do so.

Y’all want that high ID count so badly in this imagined competition of yours that you are trampling over people

I’m not in competition with anybody. I don’t want a high ID count. I simply do not care. How does this fit with your statement? I am certainly not competing with anybody and I doubt other curators are.

being so rude that you can’t talk to the person you hacked and when you do it’s snarky

How was I rude in this conversation? I’d honestly like to know how so that I can improve. Being rude is not my objective.


Um, did you mean to post this to me? I do not feel it reflects my posting, really. It seems a bit harsh in light of what my post said:

The only time I ever considered deleting an ob with ID/comments, was when I thought I’d inadvertently posted the same thing twice. I was going to message the iDer about my mistake, and apologize. But, then I realized it was okay. The 2nd ob had another, different individual, so technically it was not a duplicate.

Awkward situation avoided !

But, I would think, if one does need to delete an ob that others have engaged with, a note is in order.”

Update: @kittcoleman , I just noticed you are pretty new to iNat’s Forum, and may not be aware all of the mechanics of how to interact with the user interface and of the user guidelines:

Welcome to the Forum; I hope you will enjoy the community here.


It’s hard to get help with that attitude, we’d like to help you with your obs as it’s hard to check all existing observations when there’re many thousands uploaded each day, but when you try to offend “id people” because one particular person didn’t answer, well, the will to help you fades away, your rant only shows you in negative light, not someone else. Nobody owes you to share their knowledge and spend their time, teacher or not, every user is a person who has their life, it was your choice to sit and boil in your anger and then come here, in a not related topic, and tell us how you hate the humanity because they didn’t help you. It’s (was) summer, ids are slow as “id people” are observers or science workers, they don’t have much time to id right now, most id process is going on in winter time, and if you want ids fast you ask iders to come and help you, it’s not hard and has nothing about how iders feel about themselves, you have 100 obs out of 78 millions uploaded, just calculate what are the odds to even see them among others.


Let me try to clarify and use better pronouns.

  1. This comment is not directed to anyone personally in this forum. By “ID people who have become a little egotistical and rude”, I mean “those” ID people “who have” become a little egotistical and rude. Not anyone in this forum personally because I’ve never interacted with you on the app so I have no idea how you communicate there.
  2. I’m not speaking of anyone “here on this thread” “at this time” but “on the app”, such as the way I have seen others who ID get a little snarky when questioned or asked to engage or present their case.

And this is why I’m here saying all this. I hav a huge problem with seeing someone talk down to another person. It makes the other person feel bad, dumb or worthless, it creates a nasty environment and makes the person who does it look like a mean and selfish person who thinks they know everything. People pick up on it immediately and people don’t like to be cut off or talked down to and they will respond, likely in a negative way.

These are general actions from a particular group of IDers that I have seen and not directed at anyone here personally