Soft launch of iNat's Help Site

I’ve been migrating our support documents to iNaturalist Help, which is a site that uses Freshdesk support software (the same service that eBird uses) and am “soft launching” it today. All of the existing FAQs should be there, in addition to some new ones, and I’ve started making how-tos as well. @loarie also added some how-tos for Curators. I’m working on fixing formatting, so please let me know if you see any weirdness - you can even provide feedback directly from a help page.

There’s also a ticket submission page, which I hope will be the way most people contact us now, rather than emailing directly. A good amount of my time is spent asking people for more details that they didn’t include in their initial email (which is totally understandable, since most people aren’t aware of what’s needed), and this should improve on that. Depending on what you choose for “My ticket concerns…”, you’ll receive an automatic reply with instructions for what further information is helpful for that type of issue or question. So if folks could start directing people to use that page instead of telling them to email directly, I’d appreciate it. Emails sent to will also be seen, of course, but getting that initial information is very helpful. will still be around for the time being, and editable by Curators, but I’ve added a disclaimer to the top of it that links to the main help site. I still need to migrate some things like the Getting Started guide over to the new site.

Why the move? In addition to the ticket submission form, one thing we’ve long wanted to do is make help documents translatable and Freshdesk allows us to do that via Crowdin, the service we already use for site and app translation. And it also provides a centralized, up-to-date repository of help documents which network sites can link to rather than try to keep their own Help pages up to date.

I do want to emphasize that this is still a work in progress and I plan on adding more how-tos and FAQs. Also, it will never cover everything to feel free to also write new Tutorials here on the Forum.


will the help pages on affiliate sites change, too?

Not at the moment.

I’ve already provided feedback directly from the help page a few weeks ago, but the FAQ’s disappear if you change languague. It would be nice if all FAQ’s stayed visibile in English, if no translation is available.


I see that “How Do I Delete My Account” is majorly featured on the new site. But, it just doesn’t seem like something iNat would want to promote.

I wonder if it has to be that way? I mean, if someone wants to delete their account, they shouldn’t have to dig too hard for the info. But, this almost seems like it promotes that action to me.

I’ll try to add a screen shot later (my Photo Picker is acting up now)


Does that go beyond the “Was this article helpful? Yes No” options? I didn’t try either option when I wanted to notify you of a spelling mistake on one page, as neither seemed the correct answer.

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I see it. It’s been there for a long time and we’ve linked to it from some pages when we started email confirmation, so it’s had a chance to be seen by more people.

If you click No, you’ll have a chance to fill out more info and send it to us.

Thanks! As you no doubt already know, I submitted it as a ticket instead.

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And now I’ve tried the “No” option as well on a different page. Although I felt bad saying “No” when 99.999% of the page was great!


Can you make a link on the new help site that will take one back to the iNat? I
It would be great to have one on the Forum as well.

Edit to add - a button back to iNat on the TOP of the page would be great!


I have the impression it will be a long time before the new dual platform mobile app is ready.

So, I would like to urge iNat to address the differences in the iOS app in the Help section. I only looked at a few pages, but they did not address that either the function was not available or different for iOS users.


4 posts were merged into an existing topic: How to get BACK to iNat from Forums?

I’m sure it’s a good idea to go with a format that is designed for this purpose, but I did like the friendliness of the old help site, I hope you will be able to add some wording or even color that makes this format a little more comfortable and less stark. Good luck with the launch!


The new site seems pretty well organized and easy to navigate. I agree with @janetwright though – it also seems rather gray and generic. I hope there’s a way to add a few nerdy pops of color, like some iNat specific icons or thumbnails/banners/examples using some of the millions of gorgeous observation photos you have access to.


@tiwane, can we at least explain what dire consequences ensue when an account is deleted?


I believe if you attempt to do it, the website does come up with a dialog box saying something like, “are you sure you want to delete 769 observations and 10057 identifcations?”


But if I did ever delete my account - I would take my IDs down - since I wouldn’t be able to respond - if taxon changes happened, or a better taxon specialist gave us a different ID. Then my dead IDs will be a never mended pothole on the iNat road.

But isn’t the intention that iNat (or at least the data on iNat) will outlive us? At some point, we’re all going to be unwilling or incapable of responding to shifts in ID. I don’t see why “chose to stop doing iNat” should fall into a different category than “retired, died, and/or decided to live off-grid and only communicate by ham radio”. I would be in favor of people putting a note in their profile that they’re never planning on touching their account again or something, but I wouldn’t want all their IDs (correct or incorrect) to vanish into the ether


This will happen to everyone’s accounts once we pass on. I hope we all don’t take down our IDs or delete our accounts before we die! And when you delete your account, your IDs are automatically taken down–everything disappears. I don’t think the extent of the impact of deleting an account is fully articulated anywhere. There’s a whole list of negative impacts that I wish would be listed anywhere there’s a description of how to delete an account (and displayed when on starts that process. There are scientific publications that reference specific iNat observations–and these will be lost. All of your IDs on other people’s observations are removed. Etc…


Perhaps a choice of Deactivate where all data is preserved rather than Delete. Add a pop-up to the observer such that when an obs or ID etc. by that observer is viewed the viewer knows the observer is no longer participating.