Follow-up on Mentorship Pilot Program [held 11-25-21 to 11-28-21]

In an effort to make good on my offer to @trh_blue to volunteer helping with a future Mentorship pilot program, I wanted to open up discussion on what would improve the experience for both Mentors and Mentees.

Please offer your suggestions. Let’s keep them all in one place for easier follow-up. Let’s brainstorm together and gather helpful resources, etc.

Looking forward to your valuable input. Thanks in advance.

Here are the previous posts about the pilot program:

Mentoring Starts Thursday
Mentoring Starts Tomorrow


Thank you! Unfortunately those two threads are private so I don’t think most people will be able to see them.

It would be extremely helpful for a summary of the three summaries I posted at the end of the mentorship thread. :)

Tomorrow evening I’m going to brainstorm the best ways to improve the sign up process with a few goals:

  • Give more control to mentors
  • Have mentes be better-matched
  • Encourage international mentorships
  • Reduce amount of support / logistical work necessary
  • Be able to scale up to a max of, say, 100 pairs / 200 people.

Probably in a sign form there should be more parameters to show what exactly person wants to learn/teach.

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I’ll work on getting that summary. My router is on the fritz, so I am on and off the internet until Tuesday, but I will get it done.

Anything else?


Thank you very much!
If you have a Discord account that’s where I coordinate with most people who help me out. If you want to send me your info in a private message it would be easier to go from there.

That said, there are some conversations that may benefit most from being held out on the forum.

But other conversations are a lot more boring, not to mention not necessarily right for a nature forum, like how to set up an automatic matching program so that it can scale optimally (and whether that’s a good idea in the first place).
And boring tasks like sending people reminders which often boils down to sending twenty five copies of the same message with slight variations. Or hunting down people who misspelled their names on the form.


Will have a Discord account by the end of the day.
I appreciate your sense of etiquette for the Forum and agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments!
Boring tasks R us!


I’m not sure if this is possible, but I think it would be helpful to put up a banner somewhere on the home page and when users first open the app so that users who aren’t familiar with the forum can learn about this opportunity.

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What exactly is a Discord Account? I’ve seen the term, but don’t know what it means.

Discord is an app/program that allows for “closed rooms” chatting–for like study groups, etc.


Discord is basically a modern version of oldschool chatrooms.


no ;-;
while I appreciate your trust, support, and enthusiasm, not anytime soon from my end. needs a lot more polish and experience.

in any case, the iNat team is already prioritizing better onboarding for new users.

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Being able to specify location on the form would be helpful.

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@trh_blue Thank you both for that information!

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What is the Mentorship pilot program? It sounds interesting.


It seems matching was tricky. I’m wondering if matching specific mentors and mentees is even necessary. Maybe alternatively there could be one identify URL for everyone who signed up to be followed and receive feedback, with a list of locations and groups of organisms they are interested in learning more about. Potential mentors/experts in those areas/groups could then use that link and the filters in Identify to refine the pool to match their personal expertise. Mentor-mentee relationships may develop naturally - e.g. if you notice someone who does a lot of IDs/observations in your area, or someone who follows up on a lot of your stuff, you could contact each other for more detailed discussions.

The other thing that came up was more general questions how to use the app and the features in Identify, or even just the settings on the website, to make this more efficient etc. This could be addressed with some more general tutorials, or maybe having a group event (chat, zoom, whatever) to answer more general questions that might be of interest for all.

I think having a stream or some video demos how folks approach identifying stuff would also be useful as well and maybe a good place to start. When I teach students a new skill, often I will demonstrate first, then let them try it under supervision, and once they’ve got a handle on it I let them do it by themselves but will be available for questions/assistance if necessary. That seems to work well. I think what was missing in this mentorship pilot was the first step - the demo.


This refers to the mentorship trial started in this thread.


that identification programme you are talking about? if yes, than it was fun, I loved that programme, I face no problem, but one location time zone were different, but that didn’t bother me much. So I guess the previous one was perfect :)

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