Use of iNat for non-observation photos?

I keep seeing observations that are research notes and such things, without any plants in it. As long as they’re ID’d as Unknonwn and marked Casual, I don’t suppose it matters much except for photo storage space. But if iNat starts to be a place to store research notes, will that eventually become a burden to the nonprofit?

I could find an example, but I didn’t want to single anyone out.

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I’m pretty sure, that unless the notes are a description of an organism, that they don’t belong on iNat.


I can recall some similar situations which were not technically against the rules but which weren’t really within the scope of what iNat is about and probably put an unnecessary load on the servers:

  1. A neighborhood tree planting group using iNaturalist to document their cultivated street and park trees. This was particularly annoying since none of the trees were marked as cultivated, so we had to go through thousands of observations and check off the “captive/cultivated” box.
  2. People using iNaturalist as a garden planning tool, where they wandered the neighborhood taking photos of other people’s gardens and making notes like “replace shrubs along front walkway with these?”

These, at least, had actual organisms in the photos. But I sense these individuals were using iNat as a convenient (and free) tool available to them and lacked an understanding of what the site is really about. It’s hard to know what to do about this.


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