Send group messages

if we get a third participant, we could try a direct message test with counting back and forth to four, then tag in another participant and have them tell us what number we “started with”… and maybe for throughness we could carry on the count to 8 and then add a 4th participant via the address line, and see where they can see back to… finishing the count to ten would give them all something to see :)

or yes, we could find out from @tiwane :)

[edit] test has been done, see below for result


We have undertaken “The Test” and the results are in!

When you “invite” a participant, and they accept the invite, they will see the entire thread. Further, tagging someone in the thread of a private message does NOT generate an alert for them or bring them into the conversation, it has to be a direct invite and that invite has to be accepted. If you are a participant in the conversation, then tagging will generate an alert, and if the tagging is in a reply to the person tagged then they will get two alerts, for the tag and the reply.

Thanks to all that participated in the test!

@tiwane FYI

Oh wow, discourse blocked me from making a “fourth reply” in this topic, even though one of my three replies has been deleted by me prior to attempting my new “third”!

anyway, here is my “fourth/third reply”:

This experiment does show that the group direct messaging is very functional in discourse, and similar functionality in iNat would be awesome. However, given the much stronger connections between the forum and iNat since the move from google groups (accessible from community menu, process/pathway to keep usernames consistant between the two, etc) I can’t help thinking that perhaps discourse is a better option to hold such conversations in anyway. As soon as the functionality of the iNat direct messaging system becomes limiting, is perhaps the trigger to jump it across to a “group conversation” in the forum.

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Well said, that is what I took away from our test also. The main limitation would be that the pool of available Discourse users may be a tiny fraction in the sea of iNat users one might want to include in a particular group message.


I would imagine an active participant in the conversation that was NOT a forum participant would become one to continue the discussion. It would represent a potential obstacle that might turn particpants of the conversation away though. Perhaps in time we can establish an informal protocol of gaining approval from all participants before jumping across to the forums, or at the very least sounding out if anyone has objection

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should I turn this into a feature request?

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I reckon hold out for some more discussion. We have the functionality in discourse, and to be honest, it is amazing the rate of uptake by the community. I’m seeing “this is the first post by… welcome them…” at an ever increasing rate…

We have a huge “list” of feature requests, and most participants here in the forum will probably agree with me when I say we don’t have enough votes as it is… and I think the issue of whether having to “move a conversation” to another platform is exclusionary or not is worth discussing more. It could also be viewed as a positive thing, in that it could help drop off the “in it just for something to say” participants. I don’t think we have many of those, but I’m just trying to look at this from as many angles as possible!


ok, I’ll wait a bit longer.

me included!

Group messaging would be terrific.
Bring it on!

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Just turned this into a feature request.

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I often find myself trying to collaborate or share information and resources with a few users at a time, and end up either duplicating private messages or sharing information across a random (and hard to recover) scatter of observations. It would be far more convenient if the site allowed us to create group messaging threads.



Some in my small group are technophobic. It’s hard enough for some to use iNaturalist as it is, and some can’t won’t do research of species on the internet. This would be a very easy way to provide information or make requests, or to let them know of upcoming events (should this pandemic ever end). Also, while many may not have thought of this to look at the forums to respond, I believe it would come as a pleasant surprise if/when implemented. It would make it so much easier for the Project Leader.
Please make it so. Thanks.


I came here specifically if I could send a group private message to everyone in a project. It would be very useful for letting people know that a special event within the project was coming.

Why not use the project’s Journal? Depending on the other users’ settings, most of them would receive a notification, and if you’re worried about it you could just @-mention them all within the journal post.


I want a way to invite people to my projects. I’m trying a journal post tagging the top 25 observers. We will see if this works.

We discussed this among staff a few weeks ago. At this point we’ve decided it might be something to work on in a few years but it’s not a priority and some real limitations (eg no more than 10 users per group or something) would need to be included, which might curtail its use as a way to promote projects.

I think personally I’m not for it, although I understand its use cases. But I don’t think iNat should be a messaging platform, and if a large discussion needs to be had, I think it’s best to have it publicly on an observation or flag (@megachile does point out the problem with that approach, though).


I have a particular bulk messaging need. As an Organizer for a 2023 CNC event, I was super challenged for finding ways to invite people. After 1600 messages sent individually to 1600 unique users, I got 92 to join the event, by joining the Project. From there, they could all be messaged using the Journal. But there must be some better way to invite iNatters to the NC event that doesn’t consume so much of my time. Don’t understand the @ thing I’m afraid, how to use it. I do understand many of the arguments against a bulk messaging system, but also,think there must be an acceptable way that a Trusted users, say an Organizer for a CNC, should be able to bulk message, within limitations. For example, one message going out to all people who have been posting obs to the region (“Place”) that is defined by the CNC Project. My vote is to have a system for this, if only specifically

Local obs are defaulted into the Project. Joining the project, to get journal updates, is not for everyone. 92 out of 1600 doesn’t seem worth the effort either way.

Checking the numbers for CNC Cape Town this year
408 joined (and I for example left after the cutoff date passed)
We had 1300 observers.
(And 1000 identifiers!) So not even they all joined the project.

Anyone interested can find the project, and the journal posts.

Yes that apparent dropping off the list thing is annoying. Explains a lot, actually, for what I feel is a lack of response to 1600 invitations I sent out for participation in our 2023 CNC bioblitz. Only 90:responses…