Ability to click on top identifiers

I hope I am not doing this wrong but when I have an observation that I would like help identifying I currently type in one of the names of the people listed as a top identifier on my observation for some help. I was thinking today how nice it would be if when you wanted to “tap” a specialist identifier on an observation it would be cool if one could simply click on their icon in the list and they would automatically receive a notification of your request in helping with identification. I imagine they could receive a message stating “you have been tapped to help identify an observation made by user (fill in the blank)”.

Welcome to the forum, @aggie_wildlifer!

This sounds like you’d like to make a formal feature request. We can leave this here and see what happens in discussion but then, if you want something actionable, I’d suggest checking here for more info:

I think the consensus is that provided you don’t tag experts in every single time you make an observation it’s fine to call out for help here and there. Generally, you’ll find that many top IDers are already following different related taxa and you providing as refined an ID as possible on your observations will usually attract IDers as is.

Keep in mind everyone isn’t the same in their iNat use and there are some prolific IDers who do a huge service here but do not wish (or have the time) to interact with folks much or respond to @mentions and comments. Others will relish the opportunity to teach and respond. It can be variable by taxa or by personality.

Personally, I think the tagging system in place works well as it is and I wouldn’t want to completely overload the generous IDers. I think a compromise could be an opt-in system where folks could opt to be auto-tagged or whatever it would be called.

Hope that’s useful.


I find your response to be on par for what I have experienced so far. I can see how the extra effort it takes to @mention someone can cut down on the number of notifications any particular identifier gets. Thanks for your thoughts about it and I apologize if I posted it in the wrong category.


I think the tagging system as it is is just fine.
I’m top identifier on turtles and tortoise and have about 50-150 notifikations every single day ( absolutely not just taggs but still).
If everybody could ask for help by a single click there would be absolutely no way keep track of the flud of incomming requests.
And I’m just a little guy with 14k IDs. What about the big identifiers with 100k+ IDs?

The Lerad


50-150 notifications a day seems a bit much unless you have the “Notify me about confirming identifications” box checked. I usually get up to about 50 notifications over a couple days and I’m in the 83.4k ID range. It helps a lot to uncheck this box. Though, you won’t be notified when people agree with you, you will still be notified about disagreeing IDs and tags.


No problem! You didn’t do anything incorrectly, I just wanted to make sure you knew this would be a discussion as opposed to a formal request which gets intentionally monitored and discussed by staff. I didn’t want your idea to get lost in a pile of “General!”

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I had that box checked. Thanks a lot for that tip. That actually helps a lot!


Possibly also worth remembering when you’re looking for help that just because someone is at the top of the ID list for a taxon, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the expert. There are a number of threads on this forum discussing so-called ‘power IDers’—people who want big numbers of IDs but aren’t always that knowledgeable. Especially in smaller regional groups or in the case of rare species, being the top IDer can be just as much about how often someone clicks the ‘Agree’ button as about how much they actually know about the taxon and how to separate it from similar taxa.


That’s absolutely true.
If I’m taking me for example again (sorry for that). As top identifier of turtles I’m often getting asked for help with Asian or African turtles or even tortoise. But my competence are north and central American freshwater turtles only.

Because they are really common there are simply a lot to ID. What makes my ID count go up really quickly.
And I don’t have a Ph.D. or something. So there are other experts out there with a lot more knowledge than me. (But still I would consider myself a expert on IDing the taxa I know)


I would like to second that. I am the top identifier of Noctuid moths in Canada, and several species as well, but do not consider myself a power IDer. I am not formally trained in moth taxonomy, nor do I consider myself an expert. I like the identification side of things, and moths are what I like best. I’m well versed in their identification, and am glad to help out folks, but if I’m unsure I will call for help. Recently I identified a moth rare in the East (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/34482739), got some help, and am now the top identifier (2!). If someone wanted this moth identified in a year or so, I’d be hard pressed to give a fast (or Accurate) ID.
Personally I like the @ system - gives time for people to think!
For me, Identification can be a slow process - I rarely just click ‘agree’ on an identification field, but take a look at the moth and consult a couple of sources before confirming an ID. It can be a time consuming process.
Hope this is helpful.

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