As an identifier for bees and other insects, notes on host plant are sometimes very important to rule out or confirm IDs. It’s appreciated when these are included as observation fields in addition to notes, which can be added on the righthand side of the post (annotations always help too). Extremely few people currently use observation fields which is unfortunate because if used enough they can help sort data and provide more standardized information instead of sifting through notes. I try to include things in my notes that would help ID the organism, which differs by taxon - habitat/landscape context, local knowledge (is the species known from this site or area? it may not be represented on iNat - such is the case for many species that may seem unusual for the region otherwise but are consistently found at a certain place), the immediate conditions the species was found in/on (important for many plants, insects - microhabitat features), size of specimens, etc.
Notes are great, and you are welcome to make as many as you want, for yourself or others. There is one kind of note that I think can add confusion. I sometimes see people adding information about a species from a field guide or other source, not something they observed themselves. Usually you can spot this, but sometimes it’s not clear what they’re doing. If they have the ID wrong, that extra information won’t apply. But that’s not much of a beef. I’m happy they are engaged enough to want to add notes.
notes are good, also a lot of us are autistic, see https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/neurodiversity-and-inaturalist/17268
That, and I’ve used notes to reassure any who might see my observations that the organism was fine, wasn’t intentionally killed by me (when found dead), was not removed from it’s habitat even though the photo is indoors (eg. “found inside, relocated outside” for all the many, MANY herps in central Texas who like to make their way indoors), etc.
Hi @moonjam ! Personally, I like notes and make them on my own observations for many reasons - from adding context so that others can more easily ID what I observed, to just waxing grateful for seeing something beautiful/astonishing/amazing/humorous. I think the act of observing is unique to every individual, and adding a note gives more personality and more insight into the perceptions of the observer, what was being observed, and what it all means. Nature is an experience, not a thing. Note away!
On the other hand, I recently posted that I had been to the exact same tree as the observation, and the observer seemed pleased.
As a note of caution, if you are adding comments about edibility on your observations there is always a possibility that someone may see that and eat something that they wouldn’t otherwise have eaten. Even if the information is accurate, misidentifications happen (either theirs or yours) and you don’t want people blaming you if they get sick.
Personally, I enjoy seeing observations with informative notes of any sort.
I always read the notes on the bottom of observations. Some of them can be quite witty, and I can appreciate a good pun. I write notes on my obvs too because my memory is objectively horrible, and I might want to remember something about the way a specimen might be behaving. If you want to include something about the edibility; maybe you can add a little disclaimer if you’re concerned. (welcome to inat!)
I would have been pleased too. Note that I also wrote:
Welcome to iNat! I enjoy a detailed and informative note; as others have mentioned it’s great for jogging one’s memory later on. But I don’t write them often enough myself.
Information about the behaviour observed, situation, habitat, any detail that couldn’t be seen in the picture, jokes: All great.
And if you ever come across a specimen that has met with a grievous bisecting injury, you could always borrow these lyrics from MP:
Must ipso-facto half not-be.
But half the bee, has got to bee
Vis-a-vis its entity … d’you see?
But can a bee be said to be
Or not to be an entire bee
When half the bee is not a bee
Due to some ancient injury?
…and now I will spend all beeternity seeking out the mythical Eric :D
As a frequent identifier, absolutely I think notes are helpful. If you have a question in your notes or extra information that might be valuable, identifiers always read it. Also if you’re expressing interest in your observations, identifiers will spend the extra time to answer your questions, give you some tips etc. Remember people sifting through hundreds of photos of a specific plant or animal are obviously passionate about it so don’t ever hesitate to ask questions, we love to share!
I’m aspie, and as a rule of thumb anything I write I have probably overthought, read and reviewed a few times before submitting (And yet still missed several mistakes). In ecological/scientific circles I do find ND people are not uncommon, and people are generally understanding. If people have written things I don’t find interesting, I don’t think twice about them. But otherwise context can always be useful.
It can be stressful making sure you are conforming to other peoples expectations of normality. Luckily I do think people who are drawn to communities like this tend to be understanding, or if not that, then encouraging/supportive. I love when IDers add extra information or context that helps me with things, taking thier personal time to do so.
This right here is a very good point; too often I see people confidently (incorrectly) proclaiming edibility on things online; for some taxa this isn’t a huge deal but for others it can be deadly, I’m personally always hesitant to declare something is edible unless it’s something I am 100% sure on>
To the point of the thread - I’m a fan of all notes. The more info, the better. Hell, I like comments on observation IDs as well, I love to see what people are thinking and if I’m wrong on an ID, I LOVE to see why I am wrong, because that shit helps me learn, right? Plus it helps you find users that are willing to jump in and explain things on difficult species.
This is a collaborative site, hopefully everyone on here welcomes more detailed information.
and Pareto principle, everyone who comes to that thread later, can make use of the helpful info, and pay it forward. This obs has been faved for @treelance 's Cook or Norfolk explanation
I should note (I may be out in left field, but that’s not unusual) I absolutely love it when people add notes of any kind. The extra information of any kind actually shows me that an interested human made the observation and took the time to learn and talk about it. Sometimes, they add information that helps me also confirm the ID, and sometimes, it’s just interesting extra information. I love that aspect as it makes the observation more “real” and interesting rather than just a collection of bare facts (photo, species, time, date, location). It’s like you’re standing next to the person as they observe a species and get to have a brief chat about it.
So I would encourage the use of notes…
The herbarium at the College of Micronesia-FSM includes herbarium sheets with ethnobotanical information on the local use of the plant. I emulate these ethnobotanical herbarium sheets using iNaturalist by having the ethnobotany course students add ethnobotanical information about the plant they have observed to the Notes field of their observation. Because the students are working from mobile devices, I later transfer that information to the appropriate observation fields. This allows the observations to be retrieved using a link. Observers on iNaturalist use Notes in many different and creative ways. Notes are optional so they are neither discouraged nor encouraged by platform guidelines.
I welcome my own, brief notes. As a nurse and biologist, I believe it’s complicated to remark on edibility. Not because - in general - a specimen might, in fact, be edible or not. My daughter has food sensitivities and allergies too numerous to catalog and is often offered foods that others consider benign much to her regret. I can’t guess what the other person might not react well with and will skip edibility suggestions (altho I understand the validity/utility of such). I add some mild humor to my notes occasionally. I would appreciate notes and observational info. Go for it!