Here is something that I have had a chance to think about a lot, and it might be a useful thing to discuss, although I do not believe there is a single right answer to this question.
But first, lets start with a picture:
I submitted this picture to iNaturalist with it being an observation of a species “Licorice Fern”, which is indeed in the picture, but that wasn’t the reason why I took the picture. I took this picture at the William Finley National Wildlife Refuge, which is a complex of lakes, marshes, fields and forests that floods seasonally. I took this picture because I wanted to record what the forest looked like while flooded. (In this case, this is an expected, seasonal flood). To me, there is a wealth of information contained in a picture like this, about the entire ecosystem, terrain and climate.
Before coming to iNaturalist, I was more interested in ecosystems and landscapes than I was in single organisms. I have adjusted because of the format of this site, but sometimes I wonder if I have adjusted too much.
I think that there is a wealth of context around specimens, things like the landscape, terrain, and big climate events, that explains them very well. Seeing a flooded forest, or a burnt grassland, or just what a forest looks like when covered in snow, is an important point of understanding biology. So I sometimes think it would be good to have a systemic way to have observations for “frozen over streams”, for example.
But I think that technically, that would be difficult. It would also perhaps dilute the purpose of the site, leading to people posting lots of random pictures of beaches and sunsets. So I don’t know how this would be implemented, or whether it would be a good idea, but has anyone else ever wanted to make an observation that didn’t refer to a specific species, but rather to an ecosystem, or ecosystem event?