What exactly does the forum authorization mean?

When I select the option to log in via my inat account, a popup window is shown with the following message:

Authorize iNaturalist Forum to use your account?

This application will be able to:

Create, update, and delete your observations, identifications,
and other content on your behalf, and access your hidden
coordinates and any other information you can access on the site.

Access informtion relevant to sign in, like email address,
username, name, and user icon

I don’t quite understand why the forum application would need to do any of these things on my behalf (whatever that means). Anyway, I decided to create a new account instead. Still, I’m curious to know what this authorization really means, and what difference (if any) it makes if it is by-passed by creating a new account.


hmm, yeah i didn’t really think about it but i don’t really think non-inaturalist staff who run this website should be able to see the locations of obscured coordinates. And i am guessing they can’t but it would be good to clarify that in that text

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Thanks for the reply. I can understand why linking the accounts is useful, but why is all that other functionality accessible as well? Surely the forum is a completely separate application to inat itself? Why would anyone (including the user) ever need to modify observations via the forum?

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I balked at the same warning, and also created a separate account. If I understand correctly, “linking accounts” means anything you can see or do with your iNaturalist account, could also be seen and done by anyone with access to your Discourse account. I’m not sure how this works, technically, but it would obviously be useful for diagnosing bugs if an administrator could view a page on iNaturalist as if logged in as you. Also, obviously, requiring a lot of trust.

I’m fairly certain the warning is about what is theoretically possible at any time in the future, rather than anything that can currently be done without being tiwane or ken-ichi.

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With the move to forum.inaturalist.org you should only be asked “Access information relevant to sign in, like email address, username, name, and user icon.” now.


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