Just meta forum (about iNaturalist), or a forum for the iNaturalist community to discuss shared interests?


With the possibility of restricting certain conversations to specific categories, should this forum allow more general discussions about organisms/nature/ecology/taxonomy/community science—interests shared by iNaturalist community members? Or should it be restricted to conversations about iNaturalist itself?

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Add Comments or Wiki-Like Functionality on Taxa Pages to Discuss Identification and Other Relevant Issues

Allowing neighboring topics as well looks like a natural choice to me.



I’ve seen some forums have an ‘off topic’ section, maybe something like that, not totally off topic but related to those topics (not thinking of a good name right now). Then people could unsubscribe from that topic if they want, i think.



I would welcome a place for my mediocre puns and other nature-related humor as the comments sections of observations is probably not the best place for that in any volume. Since I will never use FB again I would welcome some place for light naturalist-related exchanges, opportunities to connect with those interested in face-to-face joint nature observation or a means to connect about important issues regionally etc. I’m NOT interested in a replica of FB just guidance on where the aforementioned types of dialogue should or could go without forcing such types of interactions on those who lack an interest in them. In my dream world, there would also be some way to connect to real life opportunities for volunteering or employment especially for lay folk like myself really interested in maximizing my citizen science participation in ways that work best. Perhaps the off-topic forum would work for one or all of these items?



good idea, how about a Bioblitzes and Meetups type section?



@mira_l_b I’d be OK some sort of off-topic/random category. Would people want it to be totally open (eg “hey, i just saw the latest start wars movie, what do you think about it?” or maybe restrict it to tagentially nature-related topics? My preference would be for the latter as there are plenty of other fora for non-nature subjects and I’d be worried about weird fanboyism creeping in here. But maybe I read too many movie and photography sites…

@charlie definitely something we’ve thought about and I want to do. I’m doing more research on ways we can surface local events for people so no one has to sift through a morass of events thousands of miles away if they don’t want to.

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@tiwane ABSOLUTELY limited to nature, biology, observations, field guide or resource suggestions, citizen science, “light” employment or volunteerism related to science, bioblitzes, time-limited projects (breeding bird studies, phenology etc.), calls for inat project participation, tips for ethical concerns, hilarious nature things like my mediocre puns, someone else’s excellent puns or relevant gary larson cartoons. I would say star wars is not relevant here unless we’re debating a nature-related aspect.

The only thing that would seem a terrible idea (as much as it would be practical and helpful in a different reality) would be conversations about politics even calls to action that we think may be universal to the audience of the group but will most certainly turn out not to be.

I think a catch-all off-topic spot would likely end up either thriving and morphing into possibly more specific separated areas or it will be something that doesn’t interest folks and dies a lonely death…like my sad taxonomy puns. :frowning_face: Also, I know I’m verbose…working on it!



Gotcha, and I agree.

One thing: do please try to avoid using all caps here, as that is the equivalent of shouting when they’re used online. See our Community Guidelines, and remember you can bold or italicize text to emphasize it. :-)



sorry. Just shouting with Joy & agreement ! not online-savvy, lesson learned, thank you for letting me know

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Mira, that seems like an iNat thing or at least more so here, in other internet places I feel like caps lock is ‘loud’ but not rude… people don’t like it here for whatever reason and that is fine. Maybe true in other areas too and i am the one missing that.

I’m all for bad taxonomy puns though

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Yeah, if https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/calendar
*had a map
*default view restricted to shorter-term actual “events” (e.g. a week in length or less)
*surface this page on more places throughout the website

I think it would be a lot more useful. I’d expect if we have a specific events category here on Discourse, it would be a really spammy feeling section.



I go back to early message board days, and allcaps was the only way to emphasise something. I still have that habit, and although I tend to only use it sparingly (maybe 1% of words in an email tops), I have had it used as a reason for being marked with low communications skills on an employment review. Some people take it WAY too seriously, imho… :slight_smile:

that said, I am finding the way bold can be applied here so easily is fantastic… oh, and italic too!



@bouteloua I think you’ve just started the meta forum thread. Why not make it this?



Anyone notice that at times one can’t like a topic’s original post? the heart sign is sometimes missing. For example, I can’t like Paloma’s original post here:

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I think it’s because it is posted in a category that defaults to a votable format. ie it allows you to vote on it rather than “like” it



I’m down for making this “off-topic-but-still-nature-related” category. Anyone have thoughts on a name for it?

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iNat water cooler (an informal catch-all for sharing nature-related community information, humor, exciting science things, upcoming events and other stuff that doesn’t require a specific action/response)

Not suggesting you include that whole parenthetical…but use what you like if you like it!

I also realize that may not translate for our international friends…but it’s funny, kinda

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Yes, re international translateability…to me " water cooler" connotes only USA, TV, the movies, which is where I encounter the expression, and corporate offices. Good concept though…I am afraid the only thing that comes to me is Chat…something. Nature chat…or something…



I understand, as a forum user since news groups in the 1990s, that Caps Lock is shouting. However, the capitalisation of single words for emphasis in informal communications has been commonplace since before word processors became widely available, and I see no need for the practice to be entirely suppressed. Am I missing something?

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I’ve adjusted my caps-lock behavior accordingly but I’ve since seen several other users do the same (use all caps) without public correction, so now I am a little confused as to how rules are applied and enforced here.