Feature Request Template

Hey everyone,

I just wanted to let you all know about the new mandatory template for new feature requests. Many of the feature requests that we get are questions, or “we should fix this problem, how should we do it?”, rather than specific proposed features. I know I’ve personally approved some requests like those when I should have asked for a more clear request. I apologize as it has made the approval process somewhat unclear / inconsistent in the past, and has led to some #feature-requests discussions that should probably have happened in a broader #general topic (which could have then resulted in a specific feature to request in a new #feature-requests thread).

Starting now, if you make a new feature request topic you’ll see the following template. It needs to be filled out as much as possible and, most importantly, must (1) address a stated need for the iNaturalist community or something can be improved and (2) contain a specific feature that will address that need or make that improvement.

Please fill out the following template when making a new Feature Request. Before submitting a request, read the About the Feature Requests topic and search within the forum to see if someone else has already requested your proposed feature. If you don’t have a specific feature in mind, it might be best to start or join a relevant conversation in #general.
Duplicate requests and those which don’t follow the guidelines or this template will not be approved.

Platform(s), such as mobile, website, API, other:

URLs (aka web addresses) of any pages, if relevant:

Description of need:
Describe the iNaturalist community need that your requested feature addresses. Include screenshots, URLs, and other details to help us all understand the issue.

Feature request details:
In detail, describe the feature you are requesting. This includes its functionality, where the feature is implemented, and what it might look like. Screenshots or mock-ups are helpful. The idea is to have a concrete and actionable request which the community can discuss and vote on. It might change through discussion, but it’s much easier to iterate and talk about something specific.

Although it’s there in the template, I want to reiterate that the final feature (if implemented) might differ from the original request because of community suggestions, feedback, and practical constraints. But we hope this template will provide a better start for constructive discussions and more fully thought out feature requests.

Here’s a facetious example of what a feature request might look like:

Platform(s), such as mobile, website, API, other: website

URLs (aka web addresses) of any pages, if relevant: https://www.inaturalist.org/people/28 (any user profile) https://www.inaturalist.org/people/28/edit (account settings)

Description of need:
User profiles pictures don’t have any personalization options, like the ability to draw mustaches or smiles on one’s profile picture.

Feature request details:
In the Account Settings page (eg https://www.inaturalist.org/people/28/edit), add “Draw on photo” button:

Clicking on that opens up a simple line drawing tool and color picker like the one you see in Apple’s Preview app.


You can draw on the photo then save it.

Now users will be able to add some color and personal flair to their profile pictures.


I think this is great. When I make Feature Requests, I sometimes have trouble figuring out how best to organize them. This should fix that problem, so thanks!