Absolutely tired of plants not marked as cultivated - Solutions welcome

That’s one of the most frustrating things, they already spent time to id the species, why not mark it cultivated? Then it’s RG and then there’re 10, 100, 1000 same RGs in the area, cause neither observers nor iders care, 2, 3 and more people can add ids and none of them do a simple click.


I said “container” to cover pots, cages, aquariums or any other way to keep organisms in captivity.


I would think the emphasis here would be keep
I would hope that fleeting observation containment would not count where the intent is to soon free the organism - the organism was not reared in captivity or cultivated.

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Yes, I think that is the iNaturalist position. For example, bird captured, banded, photographed, and released is wild.


My pet peeve is kind of the opposite–I hate it when identifiers mark unknowns captive without giving them an ID.


Please keep doing this :)

I do it that way too, or I mark it captive but tag in IDers that I know will be willing and able to help.

And for those that don’t like this… I’ll just point out that my intention is to “add value” to observations in iNat, and if that means leaving an obviously cultivated plant as wild so that an observer can get an ID on their plant, then that is what I’ll do. I don’t have any control over someone else coming along and stomping on the observers desire to know what the plant is, and iNat could change the system to allow captive/cultivated to optionally be included in NeedsID, which would make everybody happy…

I know what outcome I would prefer… I just settle for the next best thing…


I have got to the conclusion that the only feasible measure, despite not a true solution and pretty time-consuming, is to flag each observation that is to be flagged.
Moreover, raising awareness among new users can sort some effect. At least to make them understand that, maybe, iNat is not what they thought to be and, possibly, something not fitting for their interests.

Let me be clear, I think that relying only on some willing users is not right. Having to remember the users how to use the site can also create conflicts, especially if those who make this suggestion are not seen as authoritative.

But, after all, all the measures proposed in the forum have been refused or, at least, not taken into account so far.

I often do that. If it is an obvious house plant in a bowl on a windowsill, I feel I can mark it as cultivated without knowing what sort of plant it is.


Thank you for having a little indulgences for the non-English speakers who are striving to participate ;-)


If you would like to humor me, identify it as Kingdom Plantae. I know that seems silly, but it is better than unknown.


It depends on the case, when there’s a user with 400 observations and of them 20 are normal ones and all others are duplicates or planted stuff again duplicated 3 or 4 times, I believe spending time on iding more useful observations is a better idea.


A solution as requested in the original post is to just step away when it gets frustrating. There’s only so much individuals can do to address the many problematic records on iNat. I tend to focus on my region’s records and on my own and not get dragged into the vast wasteland of really bad records out there. If it becomes a chore then it’s no longer worth the time or aggravation.


I wonder if it would be helpful to make new users to say whether an organism is captive/cultivated or not for their first 10 observations. There could be a link to a page discussing the differences if the observer isn’t sure what the difference between cultivated and not is. At least this would teach them how to change it. I run into too many observers who don’t even consider this question and don’t seem to know how to change this when questioned.


I just see that as no-one having taken the opportunity to engage with that new user! But yes, there are some new users that hit the ground running, and put up a massive amount of problematic content before someone has a chance to correct or guide them. Hopefully the new on-boarding encourages new users to start slowly and listen to feedback… ie if you have 400 photos to upload, put up 50 and see how it goes, then after a week or so, put up the rest…

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@tiwane is it too late to have this considered for the new on-boarding? Having to consciously determine wild vs captive/cultivated in the first 10-50 observations would develop some terrific habits in new users!


Speaking only for myself here…

Given that the prime directive of iNaturalist is to

connect people to nature, and by that we mean getting people to feel that the non-human world has personal significance, and is worth protecting

…and that, arguably, people who tend not have the privilege of ready access to “wild” nature are among those we most want to reach…

…I am reluctant to get very heavy-handed with marking captive/cultivated things, and prefer to take them case-by-case, at least until the tools for dealing with them can be improved so as not to be so discouraging to new users who may be in the aforementioned demographic.

To take two extreme ends of the spectrum (and acknowledging all the nuances in between)…

If I see a potted plant from a relatively established user, located in what appears to be a rural but fairly affluent setting, where access to wild nature should not be an issue, then I will mark it captive/cultivated, no questions asked.

On the other hand, if I see the same potted plant from a newer user, located in the depths of Los Angeles or Beijing or Mumbai, etc., I’m not even going to try to explain to the user what the difference is between captive/cultivated and wild at that stage, much less admonish them to focus on wild things. Instead, I’ll add some level of ID if I can (or failing that, just mark it “reviewed”) and move on, hoping someone more capable with cultivated species will find it and provide further help.

I will be much less reluctant to mark the second example as captive/cultivated if iNaturalist can ever implement some of the suggestions that have been offered in the past:

  1. Stop applying the semi-dismissive term “casual” to captive/cultivated observations that otherwise have all the data attributes equivalent to a “research-grade” or “needs-id” wild observation.

  2. Just call them “captive/cultivated,” and allow them to be filtered separately from data-deficient “casual” observations.

  3. With the ability to filter them separately, allow identifiers interested in helping with captive/cultivated things to see them in their “needs-id” or “research-grade” streams if they opt-in via the filters, using the same community-ID levels currently applied to “wild” observations. The default would still be to exclude captive/cultivated observations from people’s ID streams.

  4. Continue to exclude them from GBIF and other data partners who don’t want them.

Regarding #2 and #3 above, the current Identify filter does have a Captive/Cultivated checkbox, and when selected it automatically switches the “Quality Grade” filter to “Casual” to match. But of course, it does not allow application of current community-ID filters (needs-id, research-grade), making it harder for identifiers of captive/cultivated things to focus on the observations they want to identify.

All of this said, I am not suggesting that iNaturalist abandon its emphasis on observations of wild nature. Just suggesting that it may be “shooting itself in the foot” with it’s current treatment of captive/cultivated observations and the newer observers who most often create them.


Personally I never understood why they’re doing that, I also didn’t find how to merge photos before I got like 20 observations, but I decided that 1 for object is required, not 10 separates, I know I was affected by eBird, but still, ok, they decide that it’s about separate photos, but same repeating photos are just beyond my understanding, nothing can be a reason behind such uploads.

There’s already a feature request about it as I remember, it would wort more writing it there. Anyway, there’re people who search for cultivated plants, they usually know more about cultivars and species used for gardens, so it actually helps observation if it’s in casuals, yes, it will wait to get an id, but any observation now waits a lot to get an id, months and years, any user should be ready for that imo, or they will have unrealistic expectations.

This continuation probably belongs on one of the other threads, but I feel like a lot of this could be addressed by changing the inaccurate and somewhat superior sounding “research-grade” to the more accurate “community reviewed”. In my mind, “research grade” way overstates the quality of the data anyway. Even data mined from herbarium specimens require a lot of culling before they are even close to research ready. Even for simple distribution maps, one has to decide how to deal with outliers. I would also be in favor of changing “casual” to simply “captive/cultivated” or something similar.


This thread needs to be closed. It’s a problem that cannot be solved given the Human propensity to ignore details. We just need to deal with it.

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