Notifications on iNaturalist - Please Share Your Ideas!

I hope you can implement something to make it easier to find where I last left off reviewing my dashboard material. Each time I return to my computer after being away for a while, there are typically multiple pages of new material in my dashboard (a mix of new observations from people and places and taxa I follow, plus updates on older observations), even though I have selected the setting to show me only explicit disagreements. Before I can start reviewing the new material, it takes me a while to scroll through multiple pages to locate the place in my dashboard where I left off earlier. It would be helpful if there were a way to make it easy to find where I was in my dashboard when I last left it. Perhaps a bookmark function, and a way to jump to that bookmark? Or probably someone can suggest a better method, but this is what I would like to accomplish.


I had mine decoupled, but on one of my Feature Requests on “following” Tony Iwane indicated that it might be solved by the renovation of the notifications. I’m not sure what he meant, but that comment, together with him saying he wanted all ideas on this thread, made me think I should at least mention those here. I can delete my comments on “following” on this thread if Tony wants it that way–I just wasn’t sure. And I am for choice and options on everything–not trying to push my ideal options on anyone else.


It would be helpful to have notifications for pending taxon changes that will affect my observations. It seems like I only see those when they’re committed.


@tiwane, should all dashboard-related feature requests also be tabled for now as well? Dashboard/Notifications are obviously closely related, but not identical in content. Thanks!


Yup, thanks for the heads-up. I’ve edited my original post.

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Notifications of changes to observation

  • Example 1. I have asked someone if they can add another photo of the beastie from a different angle. The person adds the photo, but does not leave a comment to say they’ve done this and I am not aware that it has been done.
  • Example 2. Someone has an ob of a caterpillar that they are rearing. They add further notes to the description of interesting behaviour observed, and, perhaps, photos of that behaviour.
  • Example 3. Someone’s locality is iffy, completely wrong or L0L0, and I would like to know if/when they fix/change it.

So, I would like to know of changes to descriptions and addition/subtraction of photos. These can be lumped under something like Observation changes.


That would be handy. Kind of like how Facebook’s notification count clears when you view the drop down, but notifications you haven’t viewed stay highlighted/blue.


Live updates to notifications would be nice, i.e. update the notification bar with new notifications without needing to refresh the page.


i’m not sure if e-mail settings are included as part of notifications, but i think it might be nice to be able to control frequency of e-mails, possibly with different frequencies for different types of things (ex. more frequent for messages and @mentions, less frequent for other stuff). it might also be nice to specify the (general) time when you get, say, daily notifications. for example, right now, i think i get daily e-mails early in the morning, but i think i’d prefer to get them around dinner time.


It would be nice have the option of subscribing to a taxon within a specific geographic region, instead of only worldwide. For example, I would like to see notifications of any Quercus robur that is observed in New England (where it is uncommon), but not all of the many observations of Quercus robur in Europe (where is is common).


You can do this by clicking on the Subscribe to a Place button. You’re able to choose a taxon to subscribe to in that place. For example, I subscribe to snakes and salamanders in California.


Oh, ok, I didn’t realize how that worked. Thanks!


Customization definitely will be useful, especially with the potential to receive 100+ notifications a day. I do agree, it would be nice to have ID-with-comment as its own category here since I’d generally go through those like regular comments. Sorting by type, hiding/viewing certain types, and even a sort of “unread” grouping could be of much help.

I’m especially excited about a way to go back to see all @-mentions. I’ve had times where I’ve completely missed a swath of mentions and only re-found the observation by chance.


Add notifications for automatic and manual changes to atlases and listed taxa.


All I know is I usually only want to see notifications where the ID either differs from mine, differs from the community ID. I would love it if comments on observations were stored in a separate section so they were not cleared out with the other notifications.

Separating notifications into: “Agreements”, “Maverick”, and “Comments” would do it for me I think. The current filters don’t seem to allow this. No, I don’t want to completely cut off agreements, but I don’t want them shown with everything else.


I just start from the bottom of the notifications drop-down and work my way up - notifications above are not cleared.
Hmm that doesn’t seem to quite work the way I remembered, what I actually do currently is right-click (windows/linux) the notifications and open each in a new tab, usually up to 12 at a time, working from the bottom of the notifications list (or for mice with a middle button just single click the middle button). But if you use the left button it doesn’t work.

i haven’t found that to work well when one has more than 20 of them, which i often do. The drop down doesn’t persist when you clicka way and i end up opening a million tabs or whatever. I think something better would be ideal, a stand alone page like the notifications page but one that actually works and lets you click through as reveiwed or mark all as reviewed or whatever, also with different tabs for things like agreements, ID improvements, ID disagreements, comments, journal posts, etc etc etc


Even if it behaved like the discourse notifications, that would be ideal! Both versions here are quite workable :)


some more ideas. i’m not sure if they all belong here, but they belong somewhere:

  1. i think it would be nice to be able to follow and be notified on #tags. as an example of a use case, maybe i do a lot of IDs, but I don’t want random people to @mention me (and maybe they don’t really know who to @mention). i can ask them to use something like #ineedidhelp instead, and then i maybe i can follow taxon + #ineedidhelp or place + #ineedidhelp, and that might be a little more streamlined process. or maybe if i see interesting things, i can put #coolobservation in the comment, and others who follow that #tag can be notified of the cool observation.
  2. in discussion boards that use Jive as their platform, they allow you to organize discussions into “steams”, which are just collections of individual threads, topics, tags, people, etc. you can choose one of these “streams” to be your core stream, and then the others help you view stuff in different ways. the core stream will show a little counter of new activity in the upper right corner, though each stream (in a pane on the left side of screen) will also have its own counter. e-mail notifications can be turned on or off for each stream. at a thread level, you can click a button and choose to have it be followed in one ore more (or none) of your streams. i think it might be nice to organize things in a similar way in iNaturalist. each “stream” could be collections of individual observations, taxa, projects, messages, flags, places, people, #tags, and/or maybe you could define a query like only bird observations in Texas that need ID. and the other nice thing would be that you could also use a stream as sort of a way to collect interesting observations without needing to resort to a project. so for example, if i have some observations that i need to key out later, instead of throwing them into a project, i can put them into a stream.
  3. i think it might be nice to be able to share some of my “streams” with the public, and also provide a way to show a status/priority on these. so for example, maybe I call one of these streams “Texas birds to be IDed”, and maybe i can assign a status on this stream that says something like “actively monitoring it”. maybe that causes a little green dot to show up next to my icon, and if someone highlights over the green dot, they can see that i’m actively working on Texas bird IDs. or if i change the status to “on the back burner”, then maybe a yellow dot shows up and lets people know that i’m not looking at that right now. maybe i’m super busy, i set my status to “busy on other stuff. not working on this.” that shows a red dot, and lets people know i’m not working on Texas bird IDs a that moment. maybe the statuses can even drive whether i receive e-mails, etc. that way, i can throttle stuff up and down as conditions change.
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I previously submitted this as a featured request as I had not seen your post, but am posting it here as recommended. Sometimes, it’s next to impossible to find observations that I’ve been tagged in after receiving a lot of notifications. I wish it were possible to find those posts we are tagged in much easier than having to continuously click the More button at the bottom. If a separate section isn’t able to me made, then perhaps a message could automatically be sent to our iNat mailbox when tagged to a specific observation. There have been quite a few observations that I’ve been tagged in, and have been unable to find my way back to due the amount of effort required to find them.

I’m referring to observations that we’ve yet to make a comment on. @bouteloua did provide me with a link (, so that I could see observations that I’ve made comments on previously, which in itself is a very helpful link. It’d be nice if there were a separate section in there for observations we’ve been tagged in that we didn’t comment on previously though. But as I see from your post, it’s all supposed to be revamped, which would be great.