What does joining a project do for a user, if the project just collects all obs anyway?

Some projects are set to collect observations simply based on their criteria. For example, the upcoming NRPA BioBlitz events have projects that just automatically include all obs made during September by anyone in a given geographical region.

What is the value of a regular user joining the project? Since their obs can be counted even if they aren’t project members, is there anything they get by doing so? I think there’s some location privacy settings that are affected (members can allow project admins to see obs locations), but I can’t think of anything more general than this. Anyone know?

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At least a couple of things - they get notified of new posts to the project journal, and they get the project and icon listed on their matching observations. Maybe I’m forgetting something else… These things probably matter less for some projects and users than for others.


I’ve joined collection projects because they are basically easier ways to filter for the kinds of observations I’m interested in. For example, someone made the Micromoths project to basically filter out all the Lepidoptera observations that have already been identified as butterflies or one of the “macromoth” families (like emperor moths, hawk moths, etc.). Since “Microlepidoptera” and “Macrolepidoptera” are no longer taxonomically valid groups and you have to select or exclude a bunch of individual groups to get the same effect, joining the project is easier than setting the search myself each time. Although I guess I could have just bookmarked the project in my browser instead of joining it.


For some collection projects that have the “Project Members Only” requirement, it’s the only way for that user’s observations to appear in the project, eg https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/it-s-okay-to-be-smart-global-survey


If the project makes journal posts?
I don’t want to miss that useful info.

Where are IDs needed - use this link.
Stats progress updates.
How to ID A versus B.

(And I leave the project when it is ‘all done’)


I think it depends on how you want to use iNat. As far as observations go, there’s no difference at all. But I like to join groups to see what other people are doing and seeing. Projects are also a good way to get to know the local iNat community. Joining a project can also motivate you to concentrate on a particular part of the natural world or get you out to a certain place more often. Starting your own project can be a way to connect with likeminded iNatters while also developing your own knowledge. Journal posts are also a plus. I really enjoy projects and I’ve learned a lot being part of them.


When you leave a project, do your observations leave with you?

Oh I presumed mostly collection projects.
Then all that is affected is - that I no longer see journal posts, since the project is done and there is no more feeding thru.

Like CNC or GSB. I join the latest active one, and have left the previous years.

If a traditional project interested me enough to join, I will stick around. Unless the founder abandons it and nothing happens. Nice idea. But.

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