Adding evidence to old (casual) observations

What is the etiquette on adding photos to old observations?

I have a number of observations that were imported from another service ( around a year ago, all fields have been correctly imported but photos are not transferred, leading to the observations remaining casual.

Recently, I have manually attached the corresponding photos to a couple of these observations, how do I get identifiers to review the observation with new evidence? Is it rude to tag a top identifier in a comment?

An example observation of alpine chough

First of all, so long as you are certain that the photo you are adding is in fact the one relevant for the observation (by rule the photo in an observation must be the individual specimen recorded in the observation, taken on the day when you are are reporting it for), there certainly is no issue with adding the photos. I’m still doing the same thing slowly with a backlog of records imported from a different source.

While you can tag top ID’ers, it can be overwhelming if you do it too often. I might wait a couple of days to see if anyone picks up the records, or start by asking anyone you know or friends who use the site who is a generalist if they mind taking a quick look at the records, to perhaps get the easy ones out of the way.


I wouldn’t say it’s rude, but if someone does it too much it can get annoying (I personally don’t really mind, but I know that some people do). I would be happy to help with European birds, if there are any of those left


I took a look at them as well (used to live in Europe), the issue I hit was the photos in most cases were not definitive. While there is no reason to doubt your ID’s, I did not feel that they met the ‘if someone showed you this picture and told you where and when it was taken, what would you ID it as’ standard that should be applied to doing identifications.

If you have added a missing photo, location or observation date, the observation will stop being casual and land in the ‘needs id’ pile. In countries with lots of activity they will probably be found anyway.

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Sort your observations into taxons and send a message to the top identifiers of the taxon inviting them to browse the lists. I’ve recently done this by messaging my fungi list to someone on our national fungi project and it worked well- they can just scan all my observations at once rather than me go through the laborious process of spamming them with tags on every record.


Thanks everyone for their replies, here’s what I have learnt:

  • Make sure your phottos match the exact observation (datetime, location).

  • Wait a couple of days to see if it gets picked up by the ‘needs ID’ pile

  • Ask any friends you might have that use iNat to have a look at the observations

  • Tag a top IDer kindly if you have only a handful observations.

  • If you have multiple observations you want looked at, it’s better to use the list feature to sort into taxons and send a direct message to a top IDer instead.


Yes, all photos are connected to the exact observations, if you check one of the observations provided, you can see that there is a link from where the observation was imported from with pictures and all.

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As long as the photo you are adding is the one relevant for the observation, adding evidence to old (casual) observations is ok.
But,tagging a top identifier in a comment won’t be so nice. Try not to do this too often.

I’ve had some luck tagging people who are not top identifiers, but just people who made and correctly identified observations of similar content (similar subject, geographic area, time frame.) First I would add IDs on some of their observations, and then I would comment something along the lines of “Hi! I notice you and I were both photographing wildflowers around this lake in mid-March. Would you consider adding IDs on a few of mine?” At the end I would place a tailored link to open my desired observations in the identify view. These people weren’t experts of course, but most of them were happy to do it. Some of then had never done any IDing before–hopefully they got roped in!


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