Community responses (n = 925, response rate = 71%) of a series of eight photographs of pigmented skin lesions were compared against those of general practitioners (n = 114, response rate = 77%), considered to be the most relevant gold standard. The eight photographs included three melanomas, two potentially malignant lesions and three benign pigmented lesions. Over the pool of lesions examined, the average probability that community members thought a lesion was likely to be skin cancer (0.68 [99% CI = 0.66-0.69]) was higher (p < 0.0001) than that of the comparison general practitioners 0.58 [99% CI = 0.55-0.62]. This reflects a general (but not consistent) inflated propensity to over-diagnose among community members. The average probability that respondents indicated they would seek medical advice for a lesion was 0.71 [99% CI = 0.70-0.73]. As expected, this was strongly associated with their perceptions of the skin lesion. These results suggest that the community can play a valuable role in assessing the need for medical evaluation of pigmented skin lesions.