Poll: what is the value for you of an accurate identification

Well, I read here and there that there are different views on the matter, couldn’t find anything around so I thought: let’s make it a poll then! :mega: :loudspeaker:

Do you feel that an accurate identification is valuable? and why?

I have started listing the reasons which come to my mind, but feel free to add more in the comments, I’ll add them to the list.

Enjoy and participate!

  • Allows to track a species across seasons (e.g. larva, adult …)
  • Entry point for my investigation on what can be magic of that species
  • helps to see how beings interact (e.g. predators/preys) in time scale
  • because searching is a way of learning more to me
  • let me understand what I can find around and when
  • I am pushed to get it but I wouldn’t care much
  • Nothing specific

0 voters

Additional points on ballot: (just comment in a reply below the letter to cast your vote, up to you to cast 3 votes total only please)
A) Support of scientific research (5 votes)
B) accurate naturalist travel diary (3votes)
C) validation of snap Identifications (1vote)

Apologies for not including from start

rules of the game 3 options selectable, anonymous input (alas, those last two items…)

I am the first to vote so I’m the only one who is not entitled to privacy here :grin:

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I don’t see applicable options for me.

A big one is for collecting accurate biodiversity information for the area I’m working in. It helps us compile a more accurate and complete species inventory and to confirm (or not) what’s actually present in the area. Essentially, it’s important for research purposes.

Another, more personal set of reasons are to find out what it was I saw, confirm that what I saw is what I think it is, document something I think is interesting, or, finally, as a sort of travel record.


Thanks… can you please help me to translate in bullet point to add to the list please? :) 2am here and my brain is underperforming :P
Could it be

  • Support of scientific research
  • accurate naturalist travel diary
  • validation of snap Identifications

Feel free to reword please

I had the same reaction. For the plants that I am usually focused upon I am likely to have a local language name and a local ethnobotanical use for the plant. I may not be able to identify the plant myself. An accurate scientific identification allows me to cross-reference as to whether that plant is used in a similar fashion elsewhere, look for research that might support or contraindicate particular local uses.


No prob, could you pls propose a point to add?
Couldn’t it be the entry point one? You seem to be using the scientific name as a key for further investigation of properties. If I got it right

I am not sure how to reduce my use to a shorter more generic phrase that would apply beyond the plant iconic group. Something like “Ability to cross-reference the organism to existing research and documentation” might capture what I am trying to convey in a broader sense.

Yep sorry that was I meant, in a more jokingly way for which I apologize. I discovered I cannot modify the text after launchin.

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That wording is fine.

Another potentially useful addition would be:

  • Educational purposes

iNat is often used in outdoor education scenarios as well. This is different from the research purposes category.

B. I’m driven to compile a more accurate travel record.
A. I like to contribute what I can to scientific research.

Another, that got me to iNat in the first place, is learning what is considered native/endangered etc in the areas of my observations.

For all the readers anyway I’d like to o keep the focus on the "value of a correct id… "
But please keep these remarks, I am thinking of opening another one on what you use your inat obs for, and since you cannot modify items after launched it’s good I collect items beforehind
Your last item is a nuance of let me understand what’s around?
Sorry if I don’t add bit too much detail disperse a bit the poll. We might add a drill down poll for specific items nuance though if you seem it valuable :)
Tally updated

A) Support of scientific research

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For me the bottom line answer is clear and consistent communication about the thing being identified. I think that is the underpinning for many or most of the other possible answers already mentioned.

Accurate identifications allow us to know when we are comparing “apples to apples” or “apples to oranges.” And they have great predictive value based on the properties known to be associated with the named thing.


Totally agree. But you sometimes get surprising answers. And the fact that sometimes obs are used to stimulate students to discover nature has shed a doubt I wished to investigate…

Support of scientific research - I do distribution and flight data for Odonates. It is VERY important to me that ‘research grade’ really means what it says, not just what 2 friends think!!

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thanks, tallied. But please everybody voting with comments, remember you have three votes to cast, so after casting in the comment go and cast the remaining votes in the poll too :slightly_smiling_face:

A. I suppose amateur support of scientific research - namely species lists of local native plants for the areas I visit.
B. Education - sharing that knowledge with confidence on various platforms and presentations with other like-minded people; evoking discussion on native plants.
C. The thrill of discovering an ID for something that I’ve never seen before!

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