Tools for taxon experts

In all of the recent controversy over removing the Agree button, a number of experts spoke up that they agree to most observations of their study taxa as a way to mark that they have reviewed these, and to subscribe to notifications of future changes or comments.

Are there other tools that iNat should provide to help those who curate observations to make this easier and not have us rely on duplicate identifications?

My personal goals in curating taxa are:

  • see the range of the organism from where it is being observed
  • see the regional variation in appearance
  • see the odd aberrant individual or hybrid
  • help others by correcting common identification mistakes
  • learn more about these organisms or how to see them from the comments that get posted
  • catch way out-of-range ID mistakes
  • learn about taxon changes (while I try to follow the literature, sometimes I find out about a new species by a maverick ID here on iNat)

I think that subscribing to taxa on one’s dashboard was intended to by used for this, and it worked when iNat was a smaller place. With how busy iNat is now, I never look at my dashboard, which has too much noise, and instead rely on various searches in the identify tool and notifications in the upper-right corner of each page.

Perhaps we need a way to say that “I am interested in all observations of this taxa in this region” – show me new ones and changes to existing ones. What other ways are there to solve this? What would work better than what we have now?


I would like to be able to make “visible to my account only” comments on an observation, and then be able to access those seperately in the same way as I can my normal comments. I bookmark observations that I want to come back to, but often I have forgotten why by the time that I do. Being able to drop a comment such as “check for new literature on this” or “can’t see the spines on the phone, maybe look for them when back on the PC”… Sometimes I bookmark observations to show other people, and being able to make those “private comments” would be like slide show notes. Maybe displayed inline with normal comments/IDs and in a different colour box, and instead of “Kiwifergus commented” use “Kiwifergus - a private note”

In the “view all comments page” for these private comments, being able to see only the private comments, or perhaps be able to toggle in and out the public comments, although to see those it would work to be able to follow a link to the observation itself. Then having the ability to delete the private comments in that “view all” page as well.

I guess I see this as a sort of “sticky notes for observations” functionality?


Can’t you already do this to some extent?
( I already subscribe to specific taxa for specific regions)
For an identifier like me, who is not a taxon expert though… more trying to help with sorting from order to family/genus… I would love to be able to have more control over this aspect.
E.g. Subscribe to all of Diptera for UK, but not Syrphidae…

Nice to hear more dialogue around supporting expertise!

Just realised, exploring this further, there´s actually a subscription management area also.
Hadn’t noticed that. Useful.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.