Masked Marvel's picture

Time wasters...

A couple of observations have turned up recently which I'm pretty sure aren't genuine, both from the same user.

This one has a photo from the wikipedia page for the same species: - and seeing as wikipedia says it was only discovered in 2003 it would be a surprising observation!

and this one has a photo from a travel website:

I don't think this is what iSpot is intended for and could be a bit irritating if you spend time trying to identify observations like this. I quite like seeing foreign observations but only if they really have been seen!



Gill Sinclair's picture

Inappropriate postings on iSpot

I'm not saying I would classify the users concerned as time wasters, but can I add a comment here about the growing number of photos and videos being posted on iSpot that just shouldn't be there.

In recent weeks there have been several instances of captive/zoo animals, farm animals, pets and even photos which I suspect were not taken by the iSpot user but just copied from the internet. I have tried to contact the iSpot team using the 'Report content as inappropriate' link but, with the exception of one message, no-one from the iSpot team seems to be trying to gently correct this inappropriate use of what should be a valuable tool for identifying genuine wildlife observations and building up robust records of species distribution.

iSpot is gradually losing its credibility and we seem to have reached a new level today with someone posting a video of a pet dog being walked along a beach.

The strap line of the website is "your place to share nature", but I feel that, at the start of the process of creating a user name and password, there should be a very clear indication of what the site should and should not be used for.
As the number of users grows, the iSpot team also needs to take a more active role in moderating the quality of the posts and removing any that should not be here.

Since joining iSpot I have made time to check the site most days and help others with their IDs as well as posting a few myself, but I don't have a lot of spare time and I'm starting to get quite frustrated with time spent scrolling through and opening postings which turn out to be inappropriate.

If other users share my sentiments could you please contact the iSpot team, and let's get a lobby going to get iSpot back on track and back to it's former standard.

Gill Sinclair
OU Certificate in Contemporary Science
Twitter @Gill_Sinclair

Masked Marvel's picture

Breach of T&Cs

If the photos are from the internet it is a breach of iSpot's terms & conditions as they state that images uploaded should be owned by the user, which they clearly aren't if they are taken from the internet.

I would say they are time wasters if an expert (or other user) spends a lot of time checking an identification for them, when they already know the answer.

Fenwickfield's picture

Feel frustrated too

I have stopped even looking at all the foreign stuff as I do feel that this was supposed to be a site for the British Isles.I have seen a lot of inappropriate images on the mammal section.I joined the site as I was interested in flora and fauna of the British Isles and wanted to contribute to recording our native species.I do not see the how you can stop people from putting photo's on that are not there's but they are the ones loosing out,so hopefully iSpot will sort it out and we will be back to normal.I think we have to remember this site is still relatively new and there still sorting problems out.I think we have to just be patient and with a bit of luck it will be resolved.I do think it is a minority and most are people are wanting to learn and enjoy the site,as for rubbish photo's well there is a simple answer just ignore it, As on expert suggested to a user please send this to pixel
heaven The photo was a blur.I take great pride in my pics.

Don't give up we need to keep the experts and knowledgeable non experts


Refugee's picture

The report button does work

I came across an advert for a shoe shop in a forum a while ago and i reported it. It just got deleted the next day. I think the Ispot team ask the owner and delete the ones the owners don't want on here. Perhaps there should be a place set up for pet picture sharing or a link to another site.


the naturalist man's picture


I agree with most of what is said; it can be very difficult to separate legitimate owned photos from ones taken from the internet and that some postings are not observations but people mis-using iSpot. I also understand your frustration when you realise this, especially if you have spent time identifying a photo only to realise it is not a real observation - very annoying.

My approach is either to completely ignore it and let it disappear into the depths of iSpot (things disappear very quickly with the volume of observations coming through) or, if I think it is someone genuinely not understanding what iSpot is about then I'll try to explain what they should do in the future.

Where I'm not wholly in agreement is with subject matter, currently there are no viable alternatives to iSpot for foreign observations for some groups - birds are the obvious exception - and I'm also aware of the long term aim to set up a global network of iSpots around the world (South Africa being the first). Therefore, I'm happy to have a go at foreign species if it keeps the observer faithful to iSpot - and it is a legitimate observation of course.

Also I am happy for people to post without pictures or even to use a copyright free picture as long as they make it clear that it is not theirs AND the posting is an interesting observation. As an example, I once posted an observation of three otters whose behaviour was interesting, basically a young otter was pestering a female (mum?) whilst she was 'courting' an adult male. I did not have a camera and so could not include a picture yet I thought it worth sharing - I included a photo of the river taken later and made it clear what I had done.

Finally, as far as mammals are concerned, I think livestock are a legitimate observation; they are an integral part of the British landscape. In addition, some breeds are rarer than many wild species and deserve recording. There is also often a conservation story to be told.

HOWEVER - I draw the line at PETS!!!!! Dog prints are acceptable as easy to mistake for fox etc. BUT NO DOG BREEDS! or cats, or guinea pigs (hope my wife does not read this!) or any other pets. I either ignore them or direct them elsewhere on the internet.

This is purely my own approach to the issue, everyone to their own. I think the advice given above is the best I could suggest - if in doubt, ignore it and move on. I think the example observation given by Masked Marvel is a good illustration, if it is foreign but is placed in the wrong part of the world, consider ignoring it as a fake record.

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'