Provide a non-comment way to let IDers know you received their helpful information

Continuing the discussion from Separate 'Like' and 'Bookmark' buttons:

Since no resolution has come from the “like” button idea to solve the (my?) issue of excessive comments of, “thanks for that help!” or the like I’m wondering if someone has another suggestion?

It’s been made pretty clear that identifiers who do a lot of IDs get inundated with notifications and there’s this great topic to provide some context:

I would like to not add to their burden while still conveying my gratitude. I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable with not acknowledging someone’s effort but causing problems for others defeats the purpose. I don’t have a solution. Most people are nice enough to indulge my wordiness (like everyone reading right now) but I imagine a more efficient yet sincere solutions exists. To clarify: this is not instead of all direct comments expressing appreciation but mainly when a conversation happens and it isn’t necessary for the last several acknowledgments to be additional regular notification-generating comments. This is the totality of my current social media use and I have no need for competitive “likes” or leaderboards. My goals are consideration and efficiency not competition (thought competing to be helpful doesn’t seem as problematic) and addiction

If someone can figure out a way to make this fit right into the notifications topic please do or a moderator other than myself can merge it elsewhere if need be.

For more context from linked request:

If someone is adding a bunch of refining and/or explanatory IDs to my observations in one go, for the sake of efficiency I’ll just select one of those observations randomly to express my gratitude — “thanks for all these identifications!”

I did note that one of the items from the 2019 Team Retreat was:

So it’s possible something like this is already in the works at least for explanatory IDs/comments, if not IDs without explanation.


Cool, that’s what I typically do now as well. My thinking is more for those obs where I ask a question, get an answer, answer prompts another question etc. On the last round I feel guilty saying anything else because some stranger has just spent twenty minutes going round and round with me and I don’t want to make another peep and clog their notifications when I could click a little, “gotcha! thanks!” button. Make sense?

this will be great too though with a related but different set of goals! Thanks, cassi!


I think the main utility for something like this, at least from my perspective, is that could be a good option for someone to click on rather than feeling the need to hit “Agree”.


Although I am obviously thankful for anyone who identifies one of my observations, sometimes i would like to thank someone who has gone a little above-and-beyond - either by identifying something particularly tricky, or mass IDing my observations, or IDing something particularly old. At the same time, it seems a little out of place to simply leave a thanks on the observation itself.

Perhaps there could be a button similar to ‘agree’ on all proposed ID’s, and all clicking it does is give the person who made the ID a notification saying the user thanks them for that ID. It obviously might get a little annoying if people were to thank for each and every ID, but i would plan to only use it in special cases.

An alternative might be a button and stat tracked on the users profile, so for example, if someone has just ID’d 15 butterfly species for me, I could go to their user page and thank them there. This way it is less tied to any specific ID, but rather to the user. The profile page could keep track of how many times someone has been thanked. Again - it could get annoying, depending on how often people use it.


A thankyou in a comment on the observation is fine.

You can direct message a more wordier and perhaps “off-topic” thankyou…

Or a bottle of rum… I can send the address :)

Personally speaking, I find too many thank-yous just adds unnecessary alerts, so I will tend to only give a specific thank-you after a number of observations or a particularly helpful one, and will try to limit it to just one thank-you per person per day. And remember, they are probably just as thankful for the opportunity to see the world through your eyes, so you can imagine there to be an implied thank-you both ways!


I think a thank you button sounds great, and you could turn off “thank you” notifications if it got annoying!

When someone identifies something of mine, I often want to just send a little gratitude sentiment, but leaving a whole comment feels like it clutters up the page a bit, especially if more specific IDs are coming later. Also if someone corrects my ID I want to thank them, because I learned a thing!

The only downside I can see to making it easy to send a brief thanks (like clicking the heart at the bottom of this post) is too many notifications, and I would trust that the devs would be able to find a way to make it not too overwhelming if you do a lot of IDing. (Like, I do probably 50-100 coarse IDs at a time, sometimes. Probably not many people will thank me for putting something in Flowering Plants, but just IDing that many would probably increase my “thanks” notification a bit!)


Perhaps the best way to give formal thanks for ID help, would be to agree with their ID. Especially the people who are kind enough to make time to explain why it is that! Which lets me agree with understanding, and recognise that next time it Needs ID.

As is stated here, you should only add an ID if you can independently verify it yourself. So please do not agree with an ID unless you do some research on your own and come to the same conclusion as the other identifier.

I’m not a big time identifier but I do add a decent amount of IDs and, speaking for myself, I don’t care if anyone thanks me.

Keep in mind that if some sort of “thank” button was implemented, that is another piece of data that would have to be stored and tracked in the iNat database, which is already growing exponentially, so it might not be a priority for us.


I did mean - to agree because I am convinced, not automatically out of courtesy.


On balance, now that I’ve been using iNat for about 6 months (1500 observations, 2000 ID’s), it strikes me that one of the weaknesses of the platform is how it fails to work well as a social media platform. Speaking as a scientist, a big part of the fun in the work is communication about topics of interest. Occasionally a good observation will trigger a little flurry of comments that touches on topics of ecology, systematics, etc., but mostly it’s a matter of nailing down an ID and then moving on. Having to use “comment” to reply to an ID gives a mechanism and a reason to say something a little more substantive than just “thanks” and provides an opportunity (and an excuse) to go into that observation in more depth, leading to greater understanding of the organism. Until a mechanism is in place to have such discussions on the taxon page (and that’s on the 2019 workplan), observation comments provide the best forum for discussing a taxon.


My intention is not to replace discussion about information for a taxon but rather the annoying accumulation of thank yous I generate after each informational exchange that result in unnecessary notifications requiring multiple steps. I’m not going to all of a sudden not want to express, “thanks, I got it, that’s helpful.” However, that adds up quickly as comments notifications. When an IDer has been in a multi-comment back and forth do they really need to go back in the observation to see I’ve written thanks in acknowledgment of their latest comment? Seems like this is a niche issue for me and a few others and I don’t think people are quite getting what I am intending but I’m failing to explain it any better than I’ve tried to.


My understanding is something that would be equivalent to the :heart: here on the forum, except it would be associated with IDs and comments on iNaturalist instead. And users could choose whether or not to receive :heart: notifications in their account settings.

Would that be about right?


One of the Australasian Fishes project members recently suggested that iNaturalist needs a thumbs up button that he can click on to show appreciation when someone makes a helpful comment or identifies one of his observations. I agree with him. :) image


i love this idea (also sorry for reviving an old thread). maybe it’s because i’m southern, maybe it’s because i’m paranoid about coming off as an asshole, or maybe it’s just because it makes me personally really happy when someone thanks me for random stuff, but i always feel the need to thank people for identifying my observations—including ids that are ‘just’ confirmations of the id i already made with zero additional comments. i just want to acknowledge their time spent looking at my obs! however, i know a comment notification of me saying thank you is probably kind of annoying and it’s awkward when they’ve gone through and identified a bunch of my observations because i don’t want to harass them with notifications.

i feel like both of your solutions could work. an option to “like” an id, just a little heart perhaps like on the forum, and people could opt out of getting notifications for it if they wanted. and then a way to add a “super-like” on their profile page, maybe one that adds up for people to see, if they’ve been exceptionally helpful (detailed explanations, etc).

i reckon this would encourage some people to treat inat as more of a community because they’d have a way to politely but unobtrusively offer and receive gratitude for small acts like identifying an observation as well as a cumulative display of gratitude for going above and beyond in their interactions with other users. there is certainly value in going through and making ids without any explanations or conversations, but to me the interaction with other people is the best part of inat.

reckon this would also reduce the amount of people using the “agree” button to thank you for your identification. i wouldn’t have suggested the id if i wasn’t pretty confident in it but i would rather the obs be elevated to research level by another person individually deciding the id than op happily agreeing with my singular identification because they’re glad i knew what it was!

although i will note i don’t know anything about running big old sites like inat so maybe adding these functions would be too much of a strain on the system. it would be a very nice addition, though :)

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The nicest way to say ‘thank you’ is to pay it forward.

Someone helped to ID your butterfly? Go through your local Unknowns and ID Lepidoptera for them. Those notifications will help you ID your future obs, and you in turn can help to ID for others what you have learned. Freeing up time for skilled identifiers to enjoy working on the interesting stuff.


Whatever the outcome, I would hope that there was an option for the identifier to switch it off - a

  • dont get thank you notifications.

My dashboard gets several hundred items per day: the very last thing I want to see is any thank-yous. And especially not when they @call one as well and it gets duplicated on the dashboard.

Why can users not just thank one by posting more observations rather than wasting space/bandwith/time with superfluous comments or icons?

Maybe request a new feature to focus/hide notifications based on a custom regular expressions so you can filter out thank yous? Note: regular expressions are tricky but powerful.

I see new users thanking identifiers for every ID, but I think with time, they discover that doing so is unusual. A big part of it is that there’s no clear guideline for how/when to express gratitude in the help. Granted, if I reach out to someone for ID help, I think it’s important to express gratitude.