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

If you, or anyone else reading this thread, haven’t already, we encourage you to clearly display your communication preferences (including not wanting certain communications) on your main iNat profile. While not everyone checks profiles, many do.


I don’t think people necessarily expect a “You’re welcome!” or “No problem!” response when they say thanks. They just want to express that they appreciate all the time and experience you’re putting into identifying for them and others, no one cares if you respond or leave it hanging. At least that’s my mindset about it; I don’t usually receive a response when I thank people in comments on my observations and I don’t really care.
I think a “Thanks!” button would have no perceived obligation to respond at all though, so that’s another potential benefit to it if you see it that way.


You’re probably right, though sometimes I feel weird about not responding. *shrug*

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I hate to tell you, but this probably means you’re a good person. Sorry Patrick!

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Nah, just raised Catholic. All sins are forgiven if you feel guilty about them.


Re a like button or analogue - be careful what you wish for.

In my opinion, adding any such acknowledgement mechanism will just bring with it all the worst impulses of people needing/expecting validation and reciprocity for their every online action.

Also the thing about saying thanks is that it involves effort. A button just makes it an empty gesture.


That’s a good point–but I still wish I had a way of saying thank you that wouldn’t just be an annoyance to folks who just want to ID stuff and don’t want any social interaction.

I am still trying to learn/figure things out and it’s hard for me to express how grateful I am to people who do spend the time to identify my observations. Especially since a lot of the time, I have no clue and just did a “best guess” based on what field guides I have in my library and what I could find online. I’m not an expert in any area by any means, so I learn something new every day.

And when people take the time to identify observations and even add helpful comments about how to identify a species in the future, I’m really, really thankful.

Unfortunately, I’m also always left with the conundrum of “Do I leave a thank you or will that annoy this person?” I do check profiles, but it isn’t always enough for me to make that decision. I just want to make sure I don’t anger anyone or discourage them to the point where they will no longer help me out with identifications…

(I’ve got to stop thinking about this–it’s stressing me out–I’m definitely overthinking this entire issue…)


I wouldn’t worry about it too much, most people are identifying because they enjoy it, not necessarily to do the other person a service. Initially identifying properly (to the lowest taxonomic rank you are confident in) I think is the best you can do for them, as correcting disagreeing IDs gets messy.

My thought process for thanking identifiers, which isn’t necessarily right but I also try to manage being grateful with not bothering people;

  • Someone IDs something of a group I know a good bit about but is a tricky ID
  • Correction (hopefully this doesn’t happen much!)
  • Someone provides an explanation for ID
  • Someone goes through and IDs a ton of observations of mine, especially if it’s something/somewhere I don’t know a lot about- tag them on one observation to say thanks

Otherwise, I figure their notifications are flooded and they appreciate one less notification to have to rummage through :grin:


I think it’s horses for courses, and as none of us are mind readers we shouldn’t expect to always get it right.

As an IDer rather than an observer, I tend to thank when there have been other comments made in a group effort to ID. There are some great conversations sometimes, and it just feels like the right way to conclude them.

For my own (very few) IDs I have thanked on occasion. No pattern to that that I can discern though.

Being thanked for every ID makes me uncomfortable, but as above, people aren’t mind readers, and such a gift shouldn’t be spurned so I grin and bear it :face_with_spiral_eyes:


Going to delete “thank you” comment to @beetledude for ID to last unknown observation :|

Observer says species A
Trusted identifier says species B (maybe also with explanation)
Observer enthusiastically says Thank you!

But leaves their wrong ID active.
Now the obs is trapped at a higher ID, until 2 more can overturn the wrong ID - that doesn’t actually equal a thank you to ANY of the identifiers.

Thoughtful discussion on an interesting obs IS iNat’s social interaction.


I think the key is ‘thoughtful’, but that applies to actions (fixing your erroneous ID) as much as it does to constructive discussion. Form follows function - or perhaps function follows form. Or something else. Potato - potarto…etc. Sorry, 3 gins later. Doubles.