Add a "Join All Projects" button to umbrella projects

Platform(s), such as mobile, website, API, other: I would love this to exist on all platforms but would appreciate it just fine if it were website only.

URLs (aka web addresses) of any pages, if relevant: N/A

Description of need: +
Describe the iNaturalist community need that your requested feature addresses. Include screenshots, URLs, and other details to help us all understand the issue.

For someone running multiple projects, all collected under 1 umbrella project, it is common to link to the umbrella project when encouraging people (for example, members of a naturalist club) to get on iNaturalist and join the projects. What then happens, for many people, especially those entirely new to the site, is they join the umbrella project but don’t click through and join the individual projects that are of interest to them. While I do include instructions, and links to all the projects, and all sorts of other attempts to encourage people to go deeper with it… it just doesn’t always work. And I can understand why!

Just now I found an umbrella project made for different WI state natural areas, with individual projects per area within. Over 30 at least, perhaps upwards of 50 different projects in this one umbrella group. I wanted to join the umbrella project and all the projects in it. While of course I could sit there and do that, it did take a lot of fiddly work where if there were 1 “join all projects” button on the umbrella project, I could have been done in a few seconds. I don’t know if it would make a big difference, but certainly the # of page loads I generated doing that would also have gone way down if there were that single button instead of me clicking into, joining, and backing out of many projects going down the list.

Feature request details:
In detail, describe the feature you are requesting. This includes its functionality, where the feature is implemented, and what it might look like. Screenshots or mock-ups are helpful. The idea is to have a concrete and actionable request which the community can discuss and vote on. It might change through discussion, but it’s much easier to iterate and talk about something specific.

It would look like a “Join ALL projects” button next to or under “Join Project” on any umbrella project. When you click it you join the umbrella project and every project within the umbrella project.

Thank you!

The only umbrella project I am in is for the City Nature Challenge. I would be wary of a newbie accidentally signing up to ALL, instead of the one that interests them.

Will also make an unwieldy long list of projects on all your obs?

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Not necessarily. In the case described, viz., “different WI state natural areas, with individual projects per area within,” I would think that any given observation would only appear in the umbrella project plus the project for the one natural area where it was observed.


I was thinking of that list of ‘all the projects I have joined’ which shows up on EVERY obs.

Only the projects the observation qualifies for show up on the observation. (Not every project you’ve joined.)

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How does the list work with collection versus traditional projects?
One observer has everything showing up with Durban project. Regardless of WHERE the obs actually is.

PS problem solved - project is set for location worldwide, despite the name and intention.

Sorry I’m not sure what that means, but feel free to directly message me the example and I can take a look.

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I think Diana may mean the drop-down list of joined projects that we use to choose projects to add an observation to when adding or updating an observation? Pardon, if that’s not the right interpretation.

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That’s definitely true, maybe it could have one of those pop up boxes that says “you are about to join ALL the projects in this umbrella project, proceed? Yes/No” if possible. Or the buttons could be physically more separate from each other, and colored differently. There would also need to be the corresponding ability to “leave all” in an umbrella project vs plain “leave umbrella project”. Perhaps the join/leave ALL could be down by the list of all the projects in the umbrella? Something further down on the screen.

About the unwieldy list… yeah in my case it wouldn’t necessarily produce that because each one is only applied to observations within a given natural area… but also… some of us are not adverse to a long projects lists on our observations haha. It would have to be a person by person decision what’s worth it and how many = too many.

I really appreciate the refining questions on the idea btw!!

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For the umbrella project you could use the About to spell out.
Lots of projects, would you like to join them all?
Or just the one you expect to observe in?
Someone thinking of joining a project is likely to click the About.

I assume you’re referring to this project?

What benefit is it to the user to join that umbrella project’s subprojects? It won’t affect which observations get added to the project(s). I spot checked some of the subprojects and don’t see any journal posts that a project member would have been notified about.

I could maybe see a use case for subprojects that have the “Project Members Only” requirement, but I don’t know if that outweighs the cost for creating such a function and for iNat to have to show people page after page of this:

That is an example of one of the projects in the umbrella I was going through, yes. I can see that my observations will appear if they are research grade and within the geographic boundary, but

(1) I wanted to join all of them as part of a list I was going to go down over time, visiting them all over many years, and I wanted to make iNat observations that would hopefully be research grade, go in the project, and the project marker to the side would quickly take me to the whole landscape represented in the project, which I find valuable … enjoyable to look at and reference.

(2) I (think I would) want to get project notifications for all of them… I assume it will be a summary from time to time. I hope it will help me learn about more WI species with a quick reference to the nice ecological descriptions aarongunnar has taken the time to add to most of the projects, a name to put to the areas, and again seeing many observations in one coherent local area… as being related to each other. Not closely taxonomically necessarily but related as in interrelated in the landscape.

(3) It’s less this exact case and more that this case made me think of the idea of a “join all projects in umbrella” option, and on reflection I found it would also be useful to me as a project admin that has an umbrella project that people search up by our organization name, join and don’t seem to respond to my messages encouraging them to join that AND the subprojects, which in my case do mostly require them to join to have observations show up… and not just be added by me/another admin or auto-add if they meet criteria alone.

If it’s technically troublesome I definitely understand and don’t expect anything like it to be a priority or even happen. But if it were possible and wouldn’t (from a technical perspective) introduce too many problems… I think there would be benefits.

So with with my own issue that I just raised in (3)… that people (who are probably using only the app and not getting my reminder messages, or not noticing the message flag even on desktop) never realize they need to go join the annual projects and not just the umbrella…

Another idea for how to resolve that specific thing that wouldn’t be the ‘join all projects in umbrella project’ feature – allow project admins to send a pop up notification prompting people to join a project. Maybe to keep down abuse of the feature for spam, have it only work if the recipient has already voluntarily joined any project run by that person sending the prompt. Or something like that?? This would have to be on mobile and desktop versions… and is probably more annoying to try and implement, avoid unforeseen problems with it, and troubleshoot. Now that I think about it more that could(??) incentivize people hacking accounts of project managers to use their projects to push pop up notifications to other “projects” that actually exist to host and promote spam links or other content. Sorry about that maybe it’s not a very useful extra idea.

Ultimately both for my more niche “I want to join every single WI state natural areas project” purpose and the project admin issue of people joining the umbrella project and not the subproject and being unresponsive to messages… I think the ‘join all projects in umbrella project’ option having a place somewhere is a good approach. Open to other ideas though. And of course to it just not working as I said.

I’m going to close the request. It would be a decent amount of design and UI work and it’s really up to the project owners to promote and explain how to join projects properly.

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