If you write anything in the notes with the ID, the system just gives the recipient an alert that there’s an ID, not that there’s a comment with it. Since a lot of people don’t follow up on every ID (especially if it’s agreeing/supporting), adding whatever you’re saying as a separate comment increases the chances people will actually see it. (I don’t believe comments in IDs are searchable either.)
- Is it bad etiquette to create iNat Projects for personal projects? When I say personal I mean I have a lot of projects that aren’t exactly “private” but I also don’t think that anyone else would really care about. Like a list of stray cats that live in my town, that kind of thing. Certainly not anything Official.
2b. If the answer is no, and it’s totally fine to make Projects for personal things, then would it be bad etiquette to add other people’s observations to said Projects? Would I need to talk to them first?
You can make a project for basically whatever you want. If people don’t want other people adding their observations to projects they haven’t joined, they can block that. If they haven’t done that, you can add observations to any project that seems appropriate. (And if someone has an observation that seems like a really good fit for your project, a polite comment explaining why you’d like them to join the project is often successful.)
- Is it bad etiquette to ask identifiers how they got to an ID, when I am not involved with the observation in any way? Like I’m not the observer, I haven’t added an ID, I just show up randomly and ask questions.
I wouldn’t do it on every single observation you see, but if you’re sincerely interested, go for it. I do this on observations where I’m not sure how to tell Species A and Species B apart, but someone seems really sure it’s Species A, or if it seems like the observer might have been using information that didn’t actually make it into the observation to confirm or rule out an ID.
- Is it good or bad to put things that are in broad categories into slightly less broad ones? Like if something is ID’d as a “plant” and I know that it is a “vascular plant,” would it be better to leave it alone, or to add the ID for “vascular plants”? In my head, more precise is always better, but I don’t know if that would mess something up and/or come across as “just adding obvious IDs to things to boost my number of IDs”?
It’s always helpful to give more specific IDs. Although in that particular case, if you can get it to vascular plants, a lot of the time a plant will be pretty easy to ID as an angiosperm (flowering plant) or conifer, which will be even more helpful. So I would try to get as specific as you can and save “vascular plant” for the ones you really aren’t sure about. (There are also vascular non-seed plants like ferns and a few other things, but most of the vascular plant observations will be angiosperms or conifers.)