How can we count our activties on iNat, as voluntary work?

School want to count students’s voluntary work. In my opinion, activties on iNat can definitely be reckoned as voluntary work (If it is not voluntary, what is?)
The problem is how can we count the activities. When we do voluntary work we have ‘Working hour’ as standard. But on iNat we aren’t organized. I mainly do ID on iNat, how can we quantified the activties on it? By counting the time we consume on it? Or by the number of ID we made in a certain period?
It’s not about honor or reputation or reward at all. I am just asking how can we show and count it more directly.


I’d say it really has to do with how your school defines and tabulates volunteer work. I suppose documenting how many hours you spend identifying observations or doing other activity on iNat could work, although we at iNat can’t confirm how long you spent doing something on iNat (people have asked in the past).


Generally we have a credit named ‘Working hours’, just like ‘class hours’ in school. When you finish a voluntary work you got one or two or some credits as ‘Working hours’ base on time. That’s how we count voluntary work.

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Paraphrasing @tiwane, it depends how you define voluntary work. Is service to others an essential component? If so, it seems to me that most observing activity doesn’t meet that criteria. Personally, as much as I would like my observations to be useful to others, and I do focus on quality and accuracy, iN is primarily a sophisticated database and source of ID support. Identification does have a service to others component, but I identify just as much for my own learning and enjoyment.

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Ask your school officials how they want it documented. If you can self-report the hours you devote to iNat, then it should be fine.


I would count the time you spend - identifying for others - and use the map I linked to for you as vivid visual proof. Identifying is work, and it is voluntary.


The map is useful! But how can we counting time?

Like counting myself the time I consume on iNat per day? Sounds like if there are no credit the we credit ourselves.

Make a nice chart - date - time on duty - total.

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Mainly I do ID more than observe. I my opinion, ID for others and then for ourselves, observe for ourselves and then for others.


I don’t think number of observations should be a factor at all, as that may incentivize kids to ID things without being sure, or just clicking “Agree” to rack up observations - negatively skewing results.
You could get a Web Tracking tool (tons of options as Google Chrome Extensions) that track how much time is spent on certain websites, but again, students leaving the page on/open inactive would likely also occur.


You might find this useful: iNat Identifier Stats Per User


There’s no way to accurately know if students are spending their time on iNat doing productive things, or just adding agreeing identification to every plant. Other than that, I fully support this idea, partially since it would benefit me :laughing:


Another reason this is a good idea is that schools and others will be learning about iNaturalist and how this volunteer activity benefits our knowledge of the natural world and promotes conservation. I hope your school will let you estimate your hours yourself.


I might not be so clear on my post. I mainly give ID on iNat and you can see my profile to check what I have done.
But it will do too when someone zone out or do nothing, waiting for one or two hours in a voluntary work and get the credits. I don’t think there are difference. I mean, there are actually no difference between doing something on iNat and a voluntary work in real life.


I always kind of figured “volunteering” was an active endeavor, where there is some level of supervision (even if the point of accountability isnt on site, and you just call them to say when you started and ended for health and safety). Then that person can vouch if you decided to use them as a reference for a job application, or other credit.

Kind of like when I helped with a beach cleanup there was a central coordinator and that was volunteering. But if I am walking on the beach or just walking home from work and pick up some trash, its just a good deed. (Curating is definitely in another level).

As others has said, I would get the person who is recording to define what is and isnt volunteer work for the scope of the class, including if they require verifiability.

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Do you think curators of iNat can be some kind of supervision?

Ideally your professor would be active as an identifier on iNat - and would know and see your IDs and comments.

No they don’t :(
But at least curators on iNat is some how ‘watching’. Hopelly if curators can say how we do on iNat equal to voluntary work in some circumstances, school officials might believe it——just like a certification from iNat. All in all it need to be quantified.

I already ask for standard. It seems that time is counted for out-of-school voluntary work credit.
Then is there any way for counting the time of using iNat just like how many hours you spend on a game like Steam? At least ID making time?