Excessive use of tagging?

This problem of exessive tagging is completely new on my radar… I actually always encourage people to tag someone they think might be able to help if they want support for their IDs. I am also tagging people and so far I did it without a second thought actually. I see, who responds and if someone I tagged a few times never responded, I do not tag this person again.
As an IDer I am always happy to help if I can and if I can´t I just don´t. I find it a bit sad that people might now hesitate to get help after reading this.

I like the idea to at least state your policy on tagging clearly on the BIO, especially if you feel strongly about it. I do check the BIOs first before tagging to see, if the person actually fits to my request. I just now added something to my BIO and hope, this will encourage people.


Absolutely my number of tags went up after I put on my bio it is fine to tag me as much as you like. And I do think get more tags from that than from leader boards. People who tag me from leader boards are generally user names I have never heard of, whereas people who read my bio are usually names I recognize as either geographically local users or users I met on the forum.

I have never gotten a volume of tags that has annoyed me, nor do I mind staying “I don’t know” if tagged on something I can’t ID. I have been slightly annoyed (but not annoyed enough to ask him to stop) with the guy who tags me most frequently simply because he tends to make observations of low quality subjects (tiny seedlings, single seeds, dead weeds, plants too distant to photograph well) that aren’t very identifiable to begin with and thus in my opinion low quality data–but to each their own I guess.


I don’t mind being tagged if someone specifically thinks I can help, but tagging all the top identifiers and not saying anything else is obnoxious. A little bit of courtesy goes a long way! I try to tag when necessary and say something then and then thank them even if they can’t help.


Before their populations became larger in North America – drawing in more identifiers – my identifications of Lycorma delicatula (Spotted Lanternfly) and Trichonephila clavata (Joro Spider) in Korea had me at or near the top of the leaderboard for their respective families. As a result, I had other users tagging me for help in identifying other members of those families in geographic areas where I had no experience. Those were never really a problem because I could explain that my ‘specialty’ was a specific species on the Korean peninsula and I don’t remember any of those observers tagging me again afterward.

For tagging in general, I can understand someone seeking help if their observation has been languishing at a higher taxonomic level for an extended period of time. Similarly, asking for additional feedback when an observation has disagreeing identifications (For exampe, species Aa vs. species Ab). What I find more confusing – and occasionally frustrating – is the user who has been tagging me and another 5-10 identifiers within minutes of posting an observation. I assume this is a matter of being impatient and recognizing that including enough tags means that someone is going to appear and help more quickly than relying on anyone casually encountering the observation.

As far as profiles go, mine mentions where I’ve lived (hinting at geographic experience) and states that I’m an amateur. No idea how many people have checked that before tagging me, though.


Surprised nobody bumped them to genus or family and declared that they must be hybrids (since after all they don’t look exactly the way those species are “supposed” to look).

Honestly, I have seen so many threads on here about people who get so many notifications that they don’t have time to look at them, it has made me hesitant to tag anyone, ever. If I’m tagging someone, it is because I either have no idea where to start or have exhausted all the options Iknow.


Maybe it helps that both are “just weeds”, less interest from identifiers than more showy species? Granted, your point here with Dandelions (Taraxacum) suggests otherwise.

There was once a chap who posted a female Sphaerophoria and tagged me in. I ID’d the genus and left a comment to the effect that females couldn’t go to species. They proceeded to tag in other identifiers one by one with a few days between, each time deleting the previous tag-containing comment so that it looked to each newly-mentioned person as if they were the second. It went on for a few weeks: No-one else responded!

Now that’s an abuse of tags!

I haven’t had too much trouble really, and most people who tag the whole leaderboard into a raft of observations are happy to modify that behviour after a polite explantation with alternative suggestions.

I agree that there should be a separate notification feed for mentions. I’ve missed plenty before and come across them by accident later. I’m sure there’s a feature request for it - hope I’ve voted for it!

This is genius - I love this!


I don’t mean to be rude, but can someone explain to me why this is such a problem? It’s not like you have some moral obligation to respond to every tag you receive. If you start to feel overwhelmed, just ignore them. Right?

I think a platform like this works better when people are free to create tags as desired, with the understanding that the taggees are completely within their rights to ignore the tags as they desire. I don’t like the idea of doing anything to openly discourage tagging.


It’s the online equivalent of someone tapping you on the shoulder or shouting your name across the room, and if they keep doing it over and over (read: excessive), even though you asked them not to, yes that can get very frustrating. The pings are simply not something you can completely ignore, unless you mute the user, because we always need to check our notifications for the content we do want to engage with.


How would you ignore your tag? It’s not responsible, you have to check each one to know why you’re tagged, and if you opened observation you have to id it. So users do tag a lot on their new observations which is meaningless and discouraging for experts, users have to learn how to wait or whole iNat will be very depressing experience.

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I kind of agree with you there… If you look through your tags you can see who tagged you before you open the observation and if you know this user did or does annoy you, just don´t go there…


I only use iNat on my computer, not my mobile device, so maybe that’s why it feels different to me. I don’t have to deal with a phone making noise every time I get a notification. So when I log in from my computer and see that I have 4,691 notifications because some other guy decided to ID all the same Burmese Python observations that I IDed… I just ignore them and get on with my life.


but - we can’t sort our notifications. Can’t bookmark how far we got with checking them. Can’t mark as done.
Have to go thru each one … clunk clunk clunk.
For busy people (not me, my daily count is usually under 100) it gets overwhelming.
I know of one person who has abandoned iNat due to a mountain of notifications.


When suggesting ID it automatically follows the observation. If you unfollow after identifying, it will not notify you about any additional suggestions by others.

Maybe this should be an account feature?

There is, of course, the Nuclear Option in your account settings…


I didn’t realise there was a tag option :rofl:
On holiday in Canada recently I was posting observations and one user suggested a different species. I didn’t agree so and said why not, another user explained exactly why the suggested ID was right. That was very helpful and worthy of thanks.
However, just because I was helped and gained new knowledge, wouldn’t have me running to that user all the time.
Off iNat I get pestered by complete strangers who, because of a letter in a journal, think I’m an expert on that subject. I initially pointed out their mistake but when it continued I just deleted without interacting. Perhaps that’s the best way to deal with unwanted tagging.

You can turn off notifications of confirming IDs in your account settings:


Have you tried this https://jumear.github.io/stirfry/iNat_observations_updates.html, created by @pisum

The notifications you open drop off of it, but the ones you haven’t opened stay.


I can cope with mine - only have 20 waiting now.

But that could help @dan_johnson who started this thread.

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so true, I barely send blurry images on Inat in general since unless it looks interesting , it’s not worth ANYONE’S time, and usually i’ll get a mediocre identification of it which i am thankful for since i didn’t know the family or genus of before.

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