Alternative use of Inaturalist (and an apology)

I want to say if the creators of this software are viewing forum posts, thank you for an excellent plant cataloging venue. I have been using this for my own personal identification, mostly ignoring the generated suggestions but using them when stumped to help guide my dichotomous identifications.

The apology in the subject line is due to an interaction I had with a frequent user of the site. Unfortunately I had a bad day, and was rude to someone who was ID’ing my plant material with general orders and kingdom level classifications. I was seriously under the impression that for whatever reason, there was a user trying to rack up “points” or possibly even some bot that was doing so.

As I had been using the site to help me organize my plant collections and compare them with site condition pictures taken when the sample was collected, I was relying heavily on the note that I initially put in. I became frustrated when those notes were not visible any more due to this other user putting in a “poales” or similar identifier. I appreciate user input on my observations, but am using this as a method of time/location organization and am always using a dichotemous key to get a postive match on my specimines (Terra Novae Angliae, Grasses of the Northeast, and Field Guide to Carex of New England).

The user was obviously hurt by my rude comment to them, and rightfully so. I had not bothered to read the sites instructions and despite my rude comment this user copy/pasted some important information regarding the classification system, and how user posts become visible to experts for identification. I greatly appreciate someone educating me despite them shouldering my burdensomely unjustified comment.

Nothing can excuse my actions. They are atypical and I apologized profusely. I don’t expect to be forgiven but will certainly be further humbled if forgiveness is noted.

What I would like as a future option is that when viewing my own observations, that there be a column that shows at least the first couple of words of a note to help me refer back to photos. My classification system is simply a one letter one number system to help me correlate to those Ive collected. Having those two characters visible by a photo would help my process. Given that I am not using this software in a typical manner I am sure my recommendation will not be prioritized but possibly others here would find value in that.

Thanks for everything, and I do appreciate the community here. I apologize again and plan to check myself before venting frustration to another profile, being recently reminded that despite there being bots in our cyberspace, there may just be a human on the receiving end.


I don’t know if this helps (I do my iNat stuff from a computer, I am phone-clueless), but if you input a placeholder ID when you post an observation, that gets erased when someone adds an ID. However, if you add actual notes, those stay regardless of how your observation is identified. I’m an educator, so I add notes to all my observations so I can use them as examples in my classes (like ).


All you have to do is add a description under notes. The feature exists already.


That’s very respectable you to own up to to a situation where you acted out. In my experience, an apology can go a long way, and people can be more forgiving than you might think (though usually don’t forget, which is understandable).

I’m not sure that I fully understand what you’d like in terms of your own classification, but you may be able to use tags and search URLs as a workaround. By using search URLs, you can filter to only see observations that contain certain text within a tag.

For instance, this link that I use shows a list of all of the observations that I’ve submitted to my local heritage program using the tag “submitted to NHESP” (%20 is used in place of spaces in the URL)

For your purposes the link might look something like
etc., replacing the text after “q=” to whatever your classification is

More info can be found here:


And also tags, but those are added after an observation is created.


You can also change your account settings so that your observations do not accept community IDs.
People could still enter an ID, but it would not override the one that you put in.

Account settings > Content & Display > Community Moderation Settings
Accept community identifications (uncheck)

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It is unfortunate that iNat chooses Location location location, prime real estate, top right corner for a Temporary placeholder. They are not going to change that.

While identifying I have finally learnt to look out for placeholder text. Copypasta before I move an obs from Unknown.

If iNat would warn people that this is temporary, they could choose not to use it for info they actually wanted to keep visible.

that won’t help this issue, which is about placeholder text, not IDs as such. Please don’t reject CID except on a case by case basis.

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Also, if you add tags to your original photo using Lightroom or exiftool or anything I guess that adds/modifies the Tags field of the photo’s EXIF these get carried across to iNat when uploading (via the web at least, I’m not sure about the apps)

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