I am too busy and preoccupied with other aspects of life to pay much attention to iNat. Only drop by every now and then for a bit of fun - perhaps catching up on the forum, perhaps providing a few id’s.
Hence I don’t generally contribute observations. I know, that if I were to start doing so systematically, this quest would swallow up time and attention I am not prepared to devote to it. My vanity (silly, I know, but so it is) would prevent me from just adding a few random observations now and then without feeling obliged to either maximize the list, or painstakingly curate it to make sure I had included all the “best”.
Therefore, I only ever contribute if it strikes me that something might be “significant”, on the level of being a first observation for the species, or expanding range or phenology to a considerable degree. It only rarely happens that this even crosses my mind, but if it does, I’ll check it (if, indeed, I get around to it) and if it satisfies these criteria, I’ll add the observation.
A little bias in favor of those inconspicuous, overlooked, small-sized, short-lived, neglected, and/or unspectacular plant taxa - most of them being quite common actually. Ugly ducklings seedlings need some love too.
I’ve also found that for some plant species, photos of their “green parts” (stems, leaves, buds, sprouts, etc.) are surprisingly hard to come by; it makes me want to try and document these beyond the usual flowers/fruits/seeds --or outside of their flowering period-- as long as ID is possible.
I’ve noticed Poa, Polygonum, Veronica, Capsella, Stellaria, and more beginning to push up shoots and leaf out within the past week or so, and I’ve been thinking about whether I should make observations of them yet. I’m confident about what they are because I know what was in my yard (and where) last year, but a third party probably wouldn’t have the same confidence until they grow out some more.
Though, last year I wasn’t as discriminating with some of the larger plants – Fallopia scandens, Erigeron canadensis, Solidago canadensis, etc. I took several observations of the same specimens of these plants throughout the year, and with each new observation, I provided a link to the last one. That way if you question whether a basal rosette is really horseweed, you can just follow the trail (though you’d have to do it backwards with the way I did it) and see that it is indeed just that.
You may just have kicked off my new yearly obsession a few weeks early…
I know there are sound files - which I choose to ignore.
But images incidental to documenting presence - that is a new way to use iNat. I was told yesterday the birders work on reputation (not pictures) away from iNat.
But for a Community ID on iNat, you have to offer an identifier picture or audio - unless they were with you and saw or heard that too.
Otherwise why post an ‘empty’ obs on iNat? Unless for your own records?
The old observations I deleted were from 2014. I was asked to enter them, did so without taking the time to understand how iNat, which I was unfamiliar with at the time, worked, hence didn’t bother worry about pictures.
When, years later, I remembered, they were still around, worthless without photos, and the photos I did have were of a standard insufficient for positive id’s I simply deleted the records to avoid them polluting the db with something that was worthless anyway.
I tend to upload many observations a week, usually straying away from anything captive/cultivated, or anything that has been frequently observed in the area either by me or anyone else. Of course, there are a few exceptions if that organism is not well documented in general, if I get a great photo, if I have a particular interest in it, or if I am able to capture some unusual behavior from an individual. There is always a surplus of new things to find, especially in my area where there are lots of exotic species. I will upload just about any animal I find in a new place, and one thing I upload a lot of is insects, simply because they are so common and widespread. Anything I have never seen before pretty much gets an instant upload. I definitely have a bias against plants, as that is probably the area I am least knowledgeable, and I mostly familiarize myself with them only if I notice they commonly have interactions with insects and other animals, or if they pose some sort of a danger to me.
This is an interesting question. Having just moved closer to the country and having some great natural preserves about, last year I set out to capture as much biodiversity as possible in the preserves in our neighborhood - birds, plants, four legged animals, insects, etc. But in doing this, I noticed that Acorn Woodpeckers and Northern Flickers were abundant while I saw no Downy or Hairy Woodpeckers nor sapsuckers. Now I am purposefully searching for these missing species and trying to understand why. I am still observing species which captivate my attention, and also intend to spend some time studying the life in the vernal pools.