Do not overwrite placeholder text

Move to comment, maybe?

When choosing a category, could the placeholder text not be automatically replaced and erased?

I keep accidentally overwriting placeholder text when I’m barrelling through the Identify sideways scroll pop-up, because it’s faint, small, and out of the way. There is no way to get it back once I’ve loosely categorised something and all I can do is apologise, argh.

Yes, agree.

Sometimes the placeholders are in a language I am not familiar with, and sometimes they differ much of my opinion. It would be nice to keep the placeholder alive for us all to see, for academic IDdiscussions etc. As a comment maybe?


I’ve had this same problem. When I’m in the field with no cell signal, I will often put in a placeholder ID, and upload when I get home. By the time I’ve uploaded and want to put in IDs, other have often put initial IDs in (plant), erasing my much more specific placeholders (grey pine). It would be great if there was some way to still see my placeholder.


I have learnt painfully, once I realised the system deleted placeholder text - to either make it a comment. Or use the placeholder as an ID (sometimes new people don’t know HOW to get iNat to accept that ID) - with a comment ‘was the placeholder’

As the text disappeared, I thought wait, what did it say!


If you temporarily withdraw your ID (assuming no one else has made a subsequent ID, in which case they’d have to do the same) so that there are no IDs, the placeholder will come back. You can then copy the placeholder and restore your ID afterwards.


The placeholder is not actually gone. From the identification etiquette wiki thread:


In earlier iterations of the iNat site it did actually overwrite the placeholder (I think it is/was stored as ‘species guess’), but for quite a few years now it does indeed preserve it somewhere.


YESSSSSS thank you! :)


I experimented recently, not intensively though, and it seemed to replace the placeholder with the vernacular of whatever you ID it as, and deleting that ID didn’t restore back the previous (first) placeholder.

But what I suggested does work, I often do it, and tested it again before posting. But it doesn’t store it in species_guess as you say, but the .json dump is only a selection of useful stuff from the database entry.


The mystery, then, is what field is it stored in, and is it accessible to us somehow to query against?

Example in case you don’t believe (just believe ;-)


(Hey hey) I’m a believer! :)


oh, interesting! that is good to know

Placeholder can be pretty confusing for a new user. For a long time I thought placeholder was a computer suggested ID when the observer hadn’t selected anything for ID. I only realized that it was user input when I saw something like “lunar eclipse from X location in wetlands” or some other landscape description. I suspect in that case the user thought they were entering a description but were in the ID box.


Why not just duplicate the Placeholder into the description?
Is there a reason why this is not desirable?
(the user can edit it out at a future date if they dont want it easily visible)