Which observations should be flagged?

I was looking at the resolution of the copyright flag as tacit approval of the observation, but you are right; the flag resolution only indicates that staff believes the image was not infringing on copyright.

Definitely agreed that the submitter did not have an encounter with the organism in 1870, but didn’t want to get into that.


Yes, I agree that for that specific observation various DQA fields could be used.
There are two conditions for using the copyright flag based on the text of the popup:

  • an actual copyright violation (which this isn’t since there is no current copyright) and
  • “created by someone other than the observer and lacks attribution” (which this isn’t since the pictures are attributed and documented correctly).

We just have to outnumber them


Fighting back. It is a useful data point for 2 projects.



Idle curiosity. If you set explore to by date observed and ascending … there is a long long list, before you even get to… observed in 1923 so it is tipped automagically to casual? A hundred years is a random number meant to exclude fossils.

4 long pages to wage DQA wars on. Have fun!



Maybe? Not to sound flippant, butin 100 years I’ll be long dead and past caring if mine or anyone else’s observations are automatically flipped to casual.

For a “random” number meant to exclude fossils, 100 is too small. Why not something like 10K in that case? 100 is recent enough to knock passenger pigeons, bison, even dodos off the list, so it doesn’t seem like it was chosen just to exclude fossils.

None of current users have seen something 100 years ago, all of those observations are not theirs, our own observations won’t just become casual after 100 years, that is not the point, if someone in 2400 finds a thing from 2200 that’ll be casual.


Agreed that the main issue is that the submitter did not have an encounter with the organism, or direct evidence of the organism (tracks, trail cam footage, etc).


Some, and most, certainly can. This is a pointed and exact example, so I will watch what I say, and know that this applies to multiple people and not just any which one, but there are some people who do not follow the rules very well and often avoid the rules while implementing their own. There are a few people who are even widely known for doing that. Most people are not like that. If that flag didn’t exist already and that discourse was not there, I would certainly flag it, and you should flag similar things. Sometimes people will have rebuttals where it is easier to just drop it, but like others said, the DQA is there still so we can show when we don’t agree with the decision reached on the flag.


All images posted to Wikipedia Commons including artwork, and then used/found on any of the different language Wikipedias have a Creative Commons license (CC0, CC-BY, or CC-BY-SA) that permits their use elsewhere (such as on iNaturalist) without any copyright infringement. The image does not have to be uploaded by or used only by the artist themselves to be shareable.

Now, whether they are desirable for use on an iNat observation is another matter…


I’m not sure if anyone else feels this way, but in my opinion posting observations like these feels disingenuous, lazy, without effort. I feel like in order for change to be made we need a petition of some kind. Something that will show the staff that we want change.

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See my other comment for clarification about why this might still elicit a Copyright Infringement flag on iNat. This flag is used for two related issues:

  • an actual copyright violation and
  • “created by someone other than the observer and lacks attribution”

So even if the image is available for reuse in regards to copyright, it needs to be acknowledged properly. Some of the licenses that allow reuse (CC BY, CC BY SA) do also require attribution in and of themselves. So an otherwise available image could still be flagged under iNat’s guidelines.

There are also potential incompatibilities depending on what license the user is posting the image under on iNat - for instance, a user could post the image from Wikipedia under an all rights reserved license on iNat which I think would violate some licenses (though I am not totally sure).


Just throwing out a general reminder that discussing general issues with flagging on iNat is fine, but we should avoid posting links to specific observations or flags for scrutiny as they could be seen as calling out individual users. I have removed the link to the specific flag being discussed in a lot of this thread (would have been better if I had done this earlier!) in the interests of this. Happy to have the conversation continue in the interests of discussing general issues with what observations should be flagged.


Straight up copyright can be perceived this way, for sure, though sometimes it’s accidental and people just don’t know how the site works yet. I think when it comes to illustrations of what one saw, it can be nice to have that diversity. I’ve seen a fair amount of illustrations by children who had their parents post the images for the observation. I think it’s nice. Even if it wasn’t nice, it is not an overwhelming issue to my knowledge. I think it’s important to remember there’s many, many people on the site and many, many, many different reasons people use the site.


Someone posted lots of photos of stuffed animals from a hunting/fishing chain store so I marked a few as casual then realized they had photos of everything there. Many of them were likely raised in hunting reserves in the U.S., far from native habitats so of no biology research value. Except for social research purposes (not a thing here) they are a waste of space and time.


I tend to agree. I don’t understand the amount of energy spent to stamp on this observation. The species was documented there at that time and place in the recent past, and while it’s not exactly how iNaturalist was intended to be used, a rare record like this seems entirely consistent with the mission to connect people with nature. There are plenty of observations that don’t exactly follow the rules, and some have even been selected as observation of the month. Records like this can raise awereness of what biodiversity we have lost in the recent past, and for that reason are valuable imho.

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So, your argument is others break the rules, so it’s ok to continue breaking rules? iNat staff many times said iNat is for observer’s experience, and while they can overlook uploading your grandma’s herbarium as your own, posting something not connected to you in any way clearly is wrong and adds nothing to people’s knowledge, casual users don’t browse explore tab to find extinct species, just add a list to Wiki page list of extinct mammals, that’d be greatly beneficial vs. faking your records.


Now this makes me wonder. With some of these observations of extinct animals they surprisingly aren’t listed as casual (this also goes for other some other types of observations I’ve noticed need to be made casual). Is there a way for one of us to reclassify certain observations as casual, or is it something only available to the staff? If not I believe it should be a new feature that should be added. iNaturalist can be pretty accurate sometimes. However there can be some goofs that occur. I feel like there should be a feature where we can correct errors such as these.

These should be identified as what they are, which is evidence of humans. You can flag these as a way to get help to get the ID to human. You can also feel free to tag me if you come across stuff like this because I try to go through observations that are only evidence of humans regularly. My tag on the site is dallonw. It can be frustrating to have to go through and fix stuff like this but its important that they do get fixed so they show up as human and not like an animal it was improperly IDed as.


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