iNaturalist in the New York Times

An article about iNaturalist was just published in the New York Times: Can Humans Find Common Ground? Sure. Just Start With Sea Slugs.

It’s a great testament to the efforts of the community that iNaturalist remains a friendly corner of the internet. Thank you to everyone who helps set the tone, and especially to the curators and forum moderators who step in when things cross the line.

Many, many people were interviewed for this piece and some of you are featured. To everyone who took the time to talk to Amy Harmon, including those of you who responded to her questions on the forum, thank you.

(The link above should work for non-subscribers.)


That’s a really, really nice article!


Yes, really nice story. I think I felt a bit teary at one point.

:heavy_heart_exclamation:Thank you to the staff and moderators who’ve fostered the civil discourse on the sites.


Thanks for that one. I have already shared it with friends and family to help explain my enthusiastic… erm… time commitment to this group.

One ‘wish-they-hadda’? I would have liked if they had included more about the transformative power of nature observing. The focus of the article was on iNat’s unique online atmosphere and reach, but what about the activity of observing itself? I really think that has to be better articulated. Or at least, the personal and usually unexpected shifts and insights that occur once you really sink into this enriching experience.


A wonderful article. Thank you. I have also shared it with family and friends as it explains more eloquently than I can why iNat has become such an important part of my life.


Great article, thanks to every contributors !


I was so excited to see iNat profiled!


My son pointed it out to me. My kids know how big a part of my life iNaturalist is! I love the angle on this piece. We see a lot of citizen-science oriented press for iNaturalist, but this touches a different and more universal nerve.


Awesome article! Inaturalist is non political and it brings all people together no matter political views, religion, ethnicity, or ways of life.


It is a sad truth that unlimited access to knowledge (the Internet) has indeed created more discord than harmony. The healthy exception of Inaturalist is another reason, if needed, to keep faith in nature (and to remind us that we are ourselves a part and product of nature)


So grateful to all who spent so much time telling me what they loved about iNat. The average length of my interviews with iNatters far exceeded that for other stories, I really think just because everyone loves talking about it so much. Including me! I found it hard to get off the phone. I’m sorry that I was able to include only a small fraction of the stories I was told about the remarkable collaboration that takes place here every minute of every day. And I hope to write more on all of the themes that came up in our conversations, so you may not have heard the last of me. I do hope you all enjoy the story. If you prefer to read it in print, it should be on the front page of the Sunday paper tomorrow. --Amy


It’s safe to say we all appreciate the publicity. I think you have dozens of articles of inspiration from iNat users, including discovering new species and rediscovering extinct ones, transforming our gardens and neighborhoods into habitat for wildlife, connecting school children with nature, and the plain fun of being a part of this community.


We need articles like these in national and local newspapers of ALL countries.
Let’s start writing. What inspiring observations about iNat. I’m now inspired to write for our newspapers here in Botswana and try and give iNat the publicity it needs here.


About your “wish they hadda”: @amy_harmon mentioned in a comment (posted later than yours) that she plans to explore more of the themes that came up in her interviews with iNatters. And I’m sure that “the transformative impact of nature observing” will be one of them.


Good story
Well earned recognition

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Great article. I had never thought about iNat from that perspective.

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Good article :)

I don’t think iNaturalist is particularly special here, because it falls within the ‘old’ model of internet social media, that being ‘forums.’

I continue to hold that the model of internet forums with specific interest/purpose with clear moderation policy and manageable size leads to healthy and civil discourse, as opposed to the barely or un-moderated free-for-all messes that are Twitter/Reddit/Facebook etc.

Twitter and similar large-scale ‘social’ platforms cannot be effectively moderated, only manipulated and controlled, because there is no specific purpose/interest/context that the policy can center around to create a real expectation for the members of them.


Thank you for the story Amy. As a science educator, I try to show and tell a general public audience how scientific disagreement can and should be productive. I think your story captured it beautifully.


Great story, thanks for sharing!

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Thank you Amy for writing about one essential aspect of iNaturalist that no other journalist has commented on.

And it’s really great to see a story about iNat on the front page of the New York Times. Thank you for putting so much work into it.