Anyone ever use the "Real Time Discussions" tab on their dashboard?

As someone who at times has to deal with some of the more unpleasant behavior on iNat (although it’s a rare thing, our community is great), I often like to go to the Real Time Discussions tab on my dashboard (this URL will take you there:

It takes a moment to load, but it displays recent comments from all over iNat. Nearly all of the time, these comments depict members of our community politely helping each other out with an ID, expressing gratitude for said help, wanting to learn more, or offering encouragement or praise. Check it out if you haven’t. :-)

Also, on how many other social networks will you see comments that make you excited about leeches?


I haven’t, and I can’t see myself using this. Whatever happens to be discussed currently will invariably be outside my geographic area, and not of whatever taxa I may be interested in at the time. It’s too unfocused. Perhaps folks who’re ready to just drop in on any conversation may find this useful, however.


i think it’s odd to have this on the dashboard, since this shows all comments on the platform, while everything else on the dashboard is limited in scope to things you’re following. i’m not 100% sure, but it also seems to pick up only comments, not the text that may also accompany IDs. i think it would make sense to put this in the Explore page, with the ability to filter the comments using the same filters found on the Explore page. (i would probably use it more if i could filter it down.)


I like browsing recent comments as one way to see the diversity of organisms and all the different ways people iNat, and to “hear” voices I otherwise wouldn’t hear. I don’t do it super often, but it’s fun to see what conversations are going on.


I actually have on occasion. Originally, I just wanted to see what the tab was all about, and then I found some conversations about observations not in my geographical area that proved really interesting. The fun conversations, to me, were when members were helping identify something unusual.


For me it’s sort of like the Noatak Wilderness of northwestern Alaska. I don’t use it very often, but I’m glad it’s there. :wink:

I do agree that

would be a good option to have.

But even without that, I do dip in occasionally to see what’s going on outside my own iNat bubble.


I’ve never looked at the Real Time Discussions tab, but once in a while I look at I prefer the format there because you can see the whole thread, not just the most recent comment.


I enjoy looking at it now and then. It’s interesting to see what’s being discussed and encouraging to see the social interaction that’s going on.


I periodically check the ‘Real Time Discussions’ tab and like how it offers us a look at observations and identifications from all over the world.

Checking the discussions there can also lead to picking up identification tips as people discuss diagnostic features or the best approaches to use when observing particular organisms. Most of the species-level discussions are for taxa outside my geographic area but some of the advice helps make me aware of features that I might want to keep in mind while observing things myself.

Before the forum was created I joined a discussion about cellphone clip-on macro lenses that I found through the ‘Real Time Discussions’ tab and I think there was also a conversation or two about mothing set-ups that I found that way as well. The forum here has made it much easier to generate discussions on a particular topic but there are still similar discussions that occur organically on the iNaturalist site.

I also like offering help if someone is asking a question about the site in general. There was one occasion where a user was asking why their observation was Casual Grade despite having multiple species-level identifications; turns out someone had gone to the DQA and marked the observation as ‘not wild’ without leaving a comment about the action. I’ve also come across a comment or two that came across as overly-critical and added a more neutral comment of my own to either explain the situation or remind the other commenter about the various uses of the site.


I had not used the Real Time Discussions tab until seeing this topic. Interesting capability, but because the tab is a raw real time feed of everything I can only see wandering onto once in a while just out of curiosity. Keeping up with identifications and notifications keeps me busy enough with what spare time I have. I agree with the comments above that having filter capabilities similar to that seen on the Explore or Identify page would be helpful. In addition to filters, I think that perhaps the RTD tab should also be able to surface comments made in an identification, not just a comment field.


I never have.

It seems like something that’s primarily useful for moderators of the site as a whole rather than general users.


The tab takes very long to load on rural internet, and, although one may pick up a gem there, I don’t find it useful.

What I would really like is to see comments from people I’m following and the place(s) I’ve subscribed to on all obs, not just the ones I’ve added things to. This would make following people actually mean something. At the moment, following doesn’t really do anything at all. The Following tab looks exactly like the All Updates tab. Yes, their observations appear on your dashboard, but they do that anyway for the place you’ve subscribed to, so there are duplicates all down the page. (Unless of course they’re uploading obs from outside that place, which is fun and informative.)

Perhaps it can be compressed a bit like the List view on Explore, with a column for the activity that happened, e.g. comment by user-name, ID by user-name, etc. Would make loading a probably resource-heavy page a bit quicker?


Slow to load. Useful to moderators for a real time feed.

I spend hours trying to ID for Cape Town - and that is already too much screen time. But that in turn gives me a daily batch of notifications for my learning curve.

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I never saw it as I rarely open the page it is on, I already found some interesting observations through it, but I agree that it wuld be more useful if we could see comments relatet to our subscriptions, etc.


I think it would be neat to have an optional feed for all observations in a project as well.


Looked at the Dashboard Real Time Discussions tab once; wasn’t to my personal taste. Instead, I also use that not only has a tab for all discussions but additional tabs for comments I’ve made and comments made on my observations. I find that infinitely more useful as well as being more compact without the extraneous white space the Dashboard includes.


Occasionally I’ll step out of my quiet little backwater of geographic/taxonomic interest and click on this just to see what’s happening in the big river of iNat IDs and commentary, from places all over the globe. But I don’t stay long.

The comment on this one summed up my impression as well!


I go there when I’m bored and looking for something interesting. Comments are more likely to be on unusual specimens, or to provide bonus information, or on appealing photos. Even if it’s just someone thanking an identifier I almost always find it to be a positive experience.

Though I also go there more often now that I’m a curator to keep an eye out for spam or harassment. Fortunately it’s pretty rare.


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