Organising observations

I am new to iNaturalist and forums in general. I have a few questions, not a specific topic so if this is the wrong place to ask I’m sorry but
I have spent so much time searching on line but obviously I’m not phrasing my questions correctly.
1.I have looked through tutorial lists but failed to find anything that linked to concise information or explanations on how to efficiently categorise my entries/observations in an easy and efficient way. If there a tool bar somewhere I have failed to find it?I have seen others use My Lists where their entries are neatly categorised. Is there something on the desktop version I have failed to notice?
2. Do/can observers chat to each other? Is there any real communication between observers via messages or does everyone keep to themselves unless they are participating in ‘projects’. I am unsure of the etiquette around commenting, engaging with others in my local area who I can see on maps.
Sometimes I simply want to share my enthusiasm for what others have found but am I right in thinking INat is serious science?
( I would have inserted a smiley but that didn’t work either) smile
Cheers for any help I may get


It depends on how you’re thinking of categorizing your observations. On the iNat website, if you’re logged in and click your “observations” tab, you’ll see a search bar across the top that offers “species” “location” and “filters”. If you click “filters”, then you can sort through your observations based on numerous traits (organism type, location, date seen, etc.).

You can also add tags to individual observations (I tag some of mine with the university class they’re associated with) and you can then click on the tags to pull up your observations that have them.

As for the social aspect, some users are more engaged than others. I don’t think people normally have long conversations on their observation pages, but it is fine to leave a comment there like “Amazing photo!” or “How did you find this? I’ve been looking without success.” or “How are you telling it’s Species A instead of Species B?” You won’t always get a response, but many times you do.


Yes and yes! iNat is science…but science can be fun too! :-)



One of the many things I’ve learnt since I began participating “seriously” in iNat a few years ago is that iNaturalist can be just about anything to anyone. And as in so many other contexts, the more you give, the more you get back. That being said, “real communication” is something that actually happens relatively rarely, perhaps at least partly because Identifiers (the ones most likely to come across another iNatters observation) are generally dedicated to reducing the backlog of observations needing IDs and the time is (or seems) too short to just chat. Or maybe because they’re unwilling to add to the number of notifications an observer receives (yes, with the present system, it can seem a problem) without good reason. When I’m IDing and come across an observation that grabs my attention in some way, I do try to add comments, but I have to say that I’ve managed to engage in a “real” exchange very rarely.
In the past, I participated in a number of online nature/photography forums and one of the things that got me bouncing around like a two-year old in front of my screen was precisely the joy of sharing enthusiasms and discoveries, something sadly not always possible in “real life” (whatever that is!). I do miss that.
Sometimes I will post some strange/amazing/beautiful/unexpected organism on iNaturalist, not so much to learn what it is, as to share it with others who I just KNOW will appreciate it as much as I do. But then there’s no reaction, so I wonder if anyone else did actually come across it and what they thought… That lack of feedback is totally understandable, but sometimes I confess it does make me feel a little sad.
Perhaps the answer is actually here in the iNat forum where there are quite a few threads in which people can share just these enthusiasms ( and would be two examples). Or you could start one yourself :blush:.


Depending on what sort of organisation you intend - you can make projects
which are in the umbrella project

You can private message people for conversation. And there are threads here in the forum, which can run to HUNDREDS of comments.

Or skim this thread

I enjoyed populating this map of Africa with interesting (or difficult to ID) obs
which has gaps compared to the Flora of Africa map

If you favourite interesting obs, they may bubble up to iNat’s obs of the day :heart_eyes:


As others have said, in answer to your second question, there are lots of different ways to interact - asking questions on an observation, using message, etc.

I’ve just looked at some of your observations (also added some comments to one of them) and there are a lot of us in your area. We range from being introverts to extroverts - feel free to reach out anytime. We do bump into each other from time to time! Robert and I are always happy to chat, as are others.

For South Australia, you might want to explore the Ferox Australis website and YouTube channel, as well as the Great Southern Bioblitz which is coming up soon.

iNats is serious fun and curiosity in action resulting in amazing science at work!


I don’t use it, but there’s also at least one iNat Discord server (sorry, don’t have a link) that people socialize and discuss iNat on.

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I took a look, but couldn’t understand a thing, pity :confounded: :upside_down_face:.


to address point #1 there’s a great way to see all of your observations organized taxonomically. On the website (not the forum) go to the upper right dropdown menu and pick “lists” and then click on the green “View Dynamic Lifelist” button. Very cool.

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thanks for that, so much to learn …

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Do/can observers chat to each other?
I make comments, suggest theories, ask questions. I make it clear what is an actual observation vs what I wonder or think or suggest.