There are a number of entomology specialists lurking on iNat whose profile does not specify their expertise but it is quickly discernible based on their user name, the taxa they are identifying and a Google search. :) I have no wish to “out them” or bother them excessively, but I am currently “following” them and an ability to privately tag their profile on my end (e.g. “weevil specialist”) and allow me to see it easily when looking at the list of people I follow would be very helpful. This way, I could tag them when especially interesting observations arise in their area of expertise.
I don’t know how I feel about codifying private, or at least non-public communication channels between somebody and purported experts. You can already send personal messages if you want to engage with them.
I think the request here is to privately label users one is following, like “weevil expert”.
Oh, as in nicknames? It seems I misunderstood this as private @-tagging, my mistake.
(But also, learning the names of interesting users is half the fun!)
This will certainly also be used to keep track of “problem users” of various types that frequently get brought up on the forum (e.g. spurious ID leaders)
I don’t think that’s a bad thing myself, but I imagine it should be part of this discussion.
It would be useful to be able to make notes (which only I can see) on individual profiles.
i don’t really like the idea of private tags because it seems to me like it goes against the whole idea of sharing information. if you privately tag Bob as an insect expert, nobody else benefits from that. so then the next person might tag Bob in exactly the same way, which seems inefficient.
i think a better implementation of this would be similar to way the Skills and Expertise section of a LinkedIn profile can be filled in. you could recommend “insect expert” to be added to Bob’s profile, and if he accepted that, then it would be visible to all, and others could vote that up, if they like, which would give others an idea of what the community thinks of a particular user.
if this must be private, then i think a simpler implementation would be to allow journal entries that can be marked private, making them visible only to you. that way, you not only could keep track of, say, a list of insect experts, but you could also create another list of, say, interesting insect observations that you want to review later, or useful blurbs to copy and paste into identifications, etc.
I think the issue with the private journal entry idea is that it takes away the “at-a-glance” nature of a tag. But it could be the easiest workaround to add.
I love the (public) skills/expertise idea! I think it should be by taxon selection instead of free text, to significantly limit abuse, misspellings, etc. and also to make it easy to implement a search. (Maybe even add the experts to the taxon page directly!)
but iNat has said they don’t want experts and second class iNatters, so that won’t fly.
@tiwane is correct - privately labeling users one is following is my proposal, NOT sending private tags/messages. At the present time, I am starting to have to think about keeping a separate MS Word document on my laptop to keep track of different experts, which seems inefficient.
We’re not going to move forward this this, so I’m going to close the request.