Room for a helping knowledge category?

Hi. I have been on iNat for a while now, but having no formal training and still often stumped by technical terms for IDing, I have general questions about how (in my case) plants work.

Although there is a world of information out there on internet, there is still stuff that is difficult to find, or that leaves doubts.

Would there be a case for opening up a forum category called something like education, in which we could ask questions of the community like, say, “How do you measure a petal” or “Do some plants recycle their parts as they do different things”?

Maybe it is understood that this is already covered in the general forum, by other sites, or that it is not part of the iNat mission, but I would have thought that the massive pool of knowledge of iNat participants would make it an ideal place for explicitly helping along beginners and not-so-beginners alike.


We already have Wiki threads.

Thanks. I have had a scan around but couldn’t find what you are referring to. Could you give us a clue as to what wiki threads are or how to get at them. (Sorry if this is obvious stuff.)

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These questions also seem pretty appropriate for posting to the forum. I’d do a quick check to see if they’d already been covered, but otherwise, post away! The “Nature Talk” channel is a good place to learn.


Ok, thanks. I just thought that people might be put off by posting things they thought trivial or beginner’s stuff, and that a special category would give licence to do so. But maybe that’s what the Nature Talk category covers. I took a second look at it, and I think you’re right.


Well, the other day I helped a novice see a basic difference at a kingdom level by explaining some id aspects that I see as a novice. They found it helpful and wanted to go farther and so I ended up explaining how dichotomous keys work, again as a novice to a novice. While doing that I realized that fleshing out this kind of “coarse description of coarse id’ing” perspective somewhere for more to see, maybe in wiki form, could be a project for later.

So, if it’s now on my to-do list thanks to the nudge here: Should it be in General, Nature Talk, or Tutorials? For low barrier to novices, it should be called something accessible/not complicated, yet not off-putting (ie, not called “IDing for Dummies”). Suggestions welcome!


If it’s not related to iNaturalist per se, but IDing in general, I think #nature-talk would make sense. If it’s a guide to helping ID Unknown obs on iNat, then #tutorials might make more sense.

There’s some similar info on the Getting Started guide (Organisms and Identifying tabs):


Thanks! I do envision it as starting at the level of, how can you tell the difference between plant, animal, fungus, slime mold, “other” from what you can see in a photograph, independent of any iNat-specific id’ing details.


No such thing. We all start off not knowing anything. I believe that we inatters as a community welcome people with enthusiasm towards the natural world of different backgrounds and professions and are more than willing to give advice where possible.

I do believe the Nature Talk section of the forum is the most relevant place to go, but it may be an organizational hassle to search for exactly the info you need.


Please go ahead and post your questions individually under the “Nature Talk” category for now. I’m looking forward to seeing the discussions!