Observation Comments: To further ID or may I use it for notes on the organism in general?

Obviously, the comment section in observations exists to provide a place to engage in discussion regarding the identification of the organism. But, may I utilize it to provide additional information (essentially, notes regarding the organism) for furthering my own education?

Oftentimes when I am reading about a topic/listening to a podcast/watching a video it will trigger my memory and I’ll recall photographing an organism that relates to said topic. Sometimes I wish I was able to link my newly learned information to my observation - by searching for the image and adding a note or even, a link to the video or documentary or podcast in which I learned more about said organism.

May I use Comments for this purpose or, will that be a nuisance to users? Also…I don’t want such notes to be perceived as spam. I’d like to utilize Journal in this way but too often I find it difficult to search in the Journal. My mind usually remembers my images based on time or year/location and I am able to do a quick filtered search to find an observation I’m thinking about…thus, if I was able to add my notes to the observation directly, they’d be more useful to me.


Adding via comments is fine, but the Notes section is usually used for this purpose:


You can add the notes as you’re making the observation, or edit the observation and add to the notes at any time.


To piggyback on this it sounds like the notes section will do what you want it to (and also what you don’t, like notifying ID’ers or commenters). One neat feature is that you can also search for observations that contain certain text in the notes section by using the Description/tags filter;


Adding comments sometimes is better if you want others find the info, often iders overlook notes but see comments.


I apologize, I don’t think I was clear. I am talking about newly obtained general information I learn about an organism - a previously observed organism, uploaded to iNat in the past.

So, these wouldn’t be notes about my observation, they’d be notes about the organism in general. I hope that makes sense. Sorry for the confusion. :)

If I understand correctly…the Notes section might be the best place to do this…while my additional notes might include information not specifically detailing my observation, if I make that point clear to the readers, it will provide additional info w/o cluttering the Comments and/or notifying IDers and other commenters).

What is the consensus (among those of you kind enough to brainstorm this with me)…will Notes be the most useful field for adding additional general information about an organism that is not specifically related to the individual observation?

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Yeah, I’d probably use the notes over the comments. I’ve searched using the description filter and seen some interesting stuff come up for observations, so that’s what I’d go with. If you aren’t commenting on lots of observations, though, I don’t think it would be a major hassle for people.


For this you might want to consider a third option, using a Journal post instead. Then you can link that (via comments or notes) to any number of relevant observations.


When I dig up new info in the course of researching a particular organism I have sometimes added that as a comment on one of my own observations or an observation I’m IDing (especially if I already have a conversation there with the observer). As others have mentioned, it probably would be better on my own observations if I put that type of info into the notes field, as it is more easily searchable.

Either way, my view is that you can definitely use notes and/or comments for any purpose related to the goals of iNat – helping you identify the plants and animals around you. The type of notes you describe are definitely not spam and shouldn’t be seen by any users as a nuisance!


I think that the Notes section is the perfect place for this. I’d preface it with a “Notes to self:” first, but as long as your notes wouldn’t cause confusion for potential identifiers, go for it.


Okay…so, I’ve given the Notes idea a try & I think it will work. Thank you to everyone for your thoughts & suggestions!

I decided to simply type, “Note to Self” so any other users would recognize the notes are simply notes! Ha! @kristendiesburg just suggested the very same thing. :)


Using the exact text “Note to self” could be really useful by the way, you could use the description search as I mentioned above and it will come up with all observations that contain this text in the notes field and even search for a specific species or otherwise to get more specific. It’s a nice hybrid between Journal and using solely notes for thought organization. I actually might start doing that too!


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