Option to make an encounter private

I occasionally get pictures submitted that I do not want the public to be able to see. For example, dead sharks on the beach or photographed out of water during tagging by researchers. We do not want to encourage citizens to post pictures of sharks out of the water, especially those associated with illegal fishing activity. We also do not want those photos to show up in the rotation of counters and examples.

It would be great if there was a way we could select pictures to be private or hidden if they are location or content sensitive.

Thanks and keep up the great WildBook work!

Hi Carol! Thanks for posting this! I have a couple of follow up questions, just to really dig into the nature of the problem you’re trying to solve for.

  1. With regard to the images related to activity you don’t want to encourage, would it be beneficial to have the encounter still visible, but not the image?
  2. The location example sounds like it could be useful to share with other trusted organizations or individuals, but be private from the general public. Is that accurate, or would you want this hidden in all scenarios?
  3. Would you ever need to catalogue the hidden/private photographs separately from the rest of the content? For example, if you were doing an analysis of illegal fishing activity, would it be beneficial to have a way to filter to just these examples? Or is the content rare enough that it wouldn’t be particularly beneficial?

Thanks again!

Hi Tanya - Thanks for the quick response. Here are my thoughts on the questions you sent.

  1. Right now we only have a few of these encounters - maybe 10 out of almost 1000 encounters. So, I don’t think there is any need for the encounters to be visible to the public. There is also no reason for it not to be though. So, I would say either way is fine. It is just the images that we want to keep private. If people see images of sharks out of the water (alive or dead), it may encourage unwanted behavior. For example, people may even accidentally catch a sand tiger shark while shore fishing and instead of releasing it quickly may try to get pictures to upload. They may also start sending us pictures of non-sand tiger sharks they catch. Even if those are legal fishing events, we are trying to limit our citizen contributors to divers that see them underwater, not anglers.

  2. I do not have any sensitive locations. Colin mentioned that for other WildBooks it may be an issue. Perhaps where there is a particularly vulnerable population of other species being mapped? All my location data is fine to remain public.

  3. So far, the out of water content is very rare. I am working with one scientist at this time that has sent in some out of water photos of sharks taken during research tagging activities. None of the 5 sharks I mapped showed up as a match, so I think this might be a bit of a long shot anyway. I do not foresee needing to analyze the data from these encounters separately. But even if we did, I think we could easily use keywords or Excel search functions for the comments section to pull those encounters out for analysis. I do not think this would need to be a separate feature for me. Other WildBook users may have other needs though.

I hope this helps. Thanks a bunch for the warm welcome to the forum (and WildBook!).


Hey Carol,
Thanks for answering. We have been discussing this and per-record security is something we could definitely look at incorporating into our new security model that we’re evaluating. I wanted to let you know that this is still on our radar, but we need to evaluate it holistically with other security considerations we’re looking into right now.