This is the first time_________ has put up an observation, Lets welcome them to Inaturalist.

When I first posted here on the Inat forum I was welcomed with many “welcome to the forum @hedgehog111” which I found very nice and welcoming and it encouraged me to post more on the forum.

I thought it would be perfect if on the first time you put up an observation it would come up the top 'This is the first time_________ has put up an observation, Lets welcome them to Inaturalist.

What do you think.

It’s easy to see from the observation page how many observations a user has (unless the location is obscured), so I’m not sure another banner would be necessary. Many people work on welcoming new users to iNat anyway.


When you are on iNat, identifying as I do, my autopilot sees a New to Me name, and I check how many obs. Ah, someone new … then I click thru and try to ID as much as I can for newbies. No banner needed there (or here, but you clearly appreciated your welcome!)


I basically do what @dianastuder does, if I see a new person. Often it is in the form of an ‘Unknown’ observation. While I agree with you, iNat is a worldwide network, with people joining and leaving all the time. I suspect it would be hard to keep track of all the new folks, but a welcome is a good thing if you come across a new person!


I appreciate your intention and can’t comment on the practicality, but like others here, I make a point, when IDing, of offering a welcome if their observation # are low and they have recently joined.


This “feature” here on the forums causes quite a number of people to reply to questions with variations of “I have no answer for you but welcome to the forums.” Does that really help?

I suggest that were this to become a feature on the main site, there’d be a race for some people to post comments along the same lines: I don’t know what this is, but welcome.

Within the Recent Users section there already is a “welcome” link. It doesn’t solicit empty content, but shows a link to the regular ID interface at the bottom of the page. Perhaps that could be made more prominent.

But please keep the “let’s welcome them” banners away.


While I also REALLY appreciate your intention, it might lead to lots of notifications on initial observations … which may make questions, comments and recommendations by IDers “get lost”, so to speak.

Such as:
-reminding/teaching to mark planted plants as cultivated
-asking for additional photos to help ID
-recommending not to add “unknown” ID if the kingdom/class is known
-adding missing location
-adding missing date
-commenting on zoo animals
-asking if the date or location are accurate
-letting them know there are multiple species in their photo and asking which they want IDed
-asking them to separate an observation because photo 1 is species x, while photo 2 is species y

and other such practicalities.

Basically, I think an IDers comment would be more likely to be missed if it’s preceded and followed by numerous welcome comments.


@hedgehog111 I think it’s a great idea! I would have loved something like this when I first started using iNat. To be honest I didn’t actually understand what iNat was when I first started using it. It had been recommended to me by several people as “an app that helps you ID plants”. I downloaded it on that basis. I didn’t understand the idea of recording observations, the community aspects, etc. In fact for a long while after downloading the app, I would just put in my pictures so that the app would recommend an ID, and then I didn’t bother actually saving my pictures as an observation. I didn’t understand the point because I had no comprehension of what iNat actually was. So I think if I had gotten an “official” welcome it would have encouraged me to explore and figure out what it actually was. (I’m thinking I’m probably not the only one who downloads the app because of being told it helps to ID things, without any greater context). Also, once I DID start to figure out what iNat actually was, it seemed like a pretty intimidating place at first. So just setting up a sense of being welcoming and encouraging to new users I think could be really helpful.


The Identify user interface already has a filter with effectively the same function. One can filter by Account Creation and select In the past week (or More than a week ago).

It sounds like your suggestion might be better advanced by organizing a few exceptionally friendly people to make a regular practice welcoming rather than cluttering the interface further. Not everyone is equally affable and gregarious (even if they are so generous with their time and ability to ID observations — a contribution which is greatly appreciated!), and it’s probably best to have the community put its friendliest and most eager faces forward.


That would be the ‘better onboarding’ we have been promised.

iNat is a very steep learning curve at first - and even after 3 or so years, there are still doors opening to bits I had no idea were there. (Leaderboards for me recently)


I mostly ID unkowns. If I come across someone new it iNaturalist I add a comment that another user used with permission. It’s a bit long, but I hope some find it helpful.
" Hi, welcome to iNaturalist!
When you first upload your observation, click on “what did you see?”. iNaturalist will give you suggestions. Choose the one you are most comfortable with. Unknowns will, generally, not get identified unless a volunteer takes the time to identify them at a higher level.

If you have already uploaded your observation, select the tab “suggest an identification” Then click on “species name.” Then iNaturalist will give suggestions.

Even if you don’t know the exact species, you can select a higher level identification such as “fungi”, ”plant", or “insect” or more specific like “flowering plants,” “gilled mushrooms,” “conifers,” or “winged insects”.
Many of the volunteers helping identify observations on iNaturalist filter the observations by the group of species they know how to ID (like plants or insects), so observations with a blank ID like this one will be excluded from those filtered searches. There are many more people posting unidentified observations than there are fellow users volunteering to help identify them. Putting in a general ID such as “Fungi”, “Plant”, or “Insect”, helps funnel your observation to someone who might know what they’re looking at so that it can get identified more quickly. Here is a video tutorial for the mobile app:
If you want to learn more about how identifications progress on iNaturalist, you can read more here:"


While I like the sentiment here, we won’t be putting a banner or notifications on observations made by new users. As others have said, there are other indicators, such as number of observations.