Users with 0 observations and 0 IDs fishing for coordinates

I haven’t seen this particular behavior a lot, but it came up recently. The user is relatively new, has 0 IDs and 0 observations and commented on an obs. asking for coordinates. I’m not sure how to handle this. It’s not exactly spam, but it’s also not in the spirit of the site (IMO). What’s the best thing to do?

I think it entirely depends on the user’s intentions.
What do they use those coordinates for?

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why would you give randos non-public coordinates, regardless of how many observations or IDs they had?


I should be clear. I’m not asking for guidance on whether or not to give the user the coordinates. I’m asking for how site leadership (staff, curators, whatever) thinks we should address this. Assuming best intentions, the user may not realize what’s appropriate and what’s not. But is this inappropriate? It strikes me that way, but I can’t see that it clearly runs afoul of any guidelines.

Just like when ID’ing the observations of a new user I lean on, I’m looking for guidance on an appropriate, education-oriented response.



The context of this question isn’t sufficiently clear. Was the precise locality obscured? Was it about a threatened organism? Or wasn’t there simply no locality data at all and thus impossible no provide an ID because of similar species from all over the world?


I’d recommend flagging the comment/message you think is suspect, selecting ‘other’ for the reason, and explaining your concern there. No action is taken automatically, it’s up to curators to decide if the content is actually suspect or not and how to proceed. You can also discuss your concerns in more detail on the flag for future advice on how to handle such situations.

You can’t get really get sufficiently nuanced advice about this on the forum because it isn’t allowed to reference specific situations on the forum.


i don’t think asking for non-public coordinates is any less appropriate in iNat than following another user, asking for help identifying, asking for clarification of an identification, saying thanks, faving an observation, etc.

generally, i think these actions are fine, unless they’re done in a way that is deceptive, annoying, harmful, etc. so if there’s no reason to believe the user is trying to deceive, annoy, harm, etc., then i don’t see any reason for concern, and i would just ignore or deny the request politely if you don’t want to provide the coordinates. but if there’s reason to believe that the action is malicious, then you can notify the appropriate authorities.

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It’s fine to simply ask for more info: ‘Please, say more about this request?’

You don’t need to say why you ask, much less, what info would make you amenable. Put it on them to come up with validity.

Then, wait to see if they give a justifiable and valid reason , plus bonafieds.


Unless the person is a scientist I recognise (but no obs and no IDs, not likely) I would refuse. I get twitchy when someone says ooh tell me where you saw that?! We have good detailed maps on iNat, so with a small effort one can get a very good idea of WHERE.

We hunted for this last week. One of my hikers went back for a second look and found it. Zoom in to the Cape Peninsula and you can see the two main (damp!) places where it is found. Going to the second one this week.

The only vaguely relevant article I found on the new Help

No wait. It IS there


Discussion of specific flags or individuals are best had on relevant flags, or sent to . Maybe in the Curators section.

You can try replying, but please be firm. Scammers, stalkers, bots, and poachers are skilled in looking innocent or finding easy marks – it’s their job.

in general, if you think someone is behaving problematically, you can ask a Curator / another Curator for a second opinion. through direct message or by making a flag.

pretty much. personally I’d go directly to marking as spam, but that’s just my inclination. and I’m not the last word on the matter; I’ve acquiesced to others on flags plenty of times.


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