What to write on your profile

I am on Naturalista.mx which is a partner site to iNaturalist.

Depending on what I observe, sometimes comment threads are in English, sometimes Spanish. Sometimes it is all native English speakers and sometimes a mix of people from here (MX) and not here. (Nearly everyone here who attends prepa studies English, it is usually required as foreign language, but a number of private schools require it in earlier grades, so fluency is often achieved quite young.)

If a comment thread starts in English, local persons will reply in same but more briefly. If however a thread starts in Spanish, the replies from local persons are generally longer and more detailed. Since all of my observations are of local species, often their assistance is more helpful on those observations. The same is true of messages.

Thus, the reason my profile indicates my duality is: It helps for people to look at my profile and know they can approach me in whatever language encourages them to type longer, more detailed items.

There are multiple ways to give cues that this is possible.

  • One might say “I speak French and Italian.”
  • One might insert a line at the top in one’s mother language, as Marina does. (I love this profile photo, Marina!)
  • One might put one’s entire profile description in multiple languages, as I do. (I have seen a profile but I cannot remember whose with four languages, which I found eminently impressive.)

None of these should detract from anyone else’s experience of iNaturalist (or Naturalista or whatever platform anyone is experiencing).

What would detract from my experience would be any framing that there is one default language in the world and the language spoken here (or elsewhere) is “other”.


As a primarily mobile user, it can certainly be a hassle to have to log onto the website on my phone every week or so. iNat has a lot of small buttons that do not mesh well with a small screen, which I’d imagine has played a part in the differences between the mobile app and the website itself. Because I check the site every so often, I’m able to edit my profile, check my mail, and chat here. It’s an odd balance, but I’d say it works fine for me.


I think it’s just more convenient and leaves less room for misunderstandings when it’s somebody who is fluent in the language. I’d encourage people to use Google Translate and similar things because a lot of the time, those translations for a lot of languages seem pretty close to what somebody who isn’t the sharpest with that language (me, a lot of the time) would say anyways. Not perfect but can definitely get the job done.

I think for sorting out conflicts or anything that needs a fair amount of back and forth to figure out, it’s just a lot more comfortable to be familiar, and ideally confident, with the language you’re using. But again, I think for many situations, translators will do the trick. I think it’s just effort and not everybody wants to do that if they think somebody who knows the language will come in and help at some point.


Invertebratist, thank you for your thoughtful and comprehensive profile guidelines and to everyone for the discussion.
Many of us have workshops and field trips that introduce people to iNaturlaist, I always suggest adding an icon and short profile. Initially, one or 2 sentences as was suggested above. I am only a website user so did not know about the limitations to profiles and DM with app users.
This discussion will help me guide new and veteran users to hone their own profiles, highlighting what they want to share with the iNat community.


Because I’m nearly monolingual, I use Google Translate fairly often. Problem relevant to iNaturalist: When the paragraph being translated is mostly in the writer’s native language with scientific names (Latin, Latinized, or Greek), the scientific names are often “translated,” with peculiar results.


Great post here, I’ll definitely revise my profile a bit from reading here!

Not all of us are professionals, so as a hobbyist, I find adding “favorite resources” (books, websites, etc.) to be a bit more useful than links to publications which demonstrate expertise in the area.

Beyond that, I value folks who interact in comments when identifying or who respond to tagging (@) more than credentials. They seem a bit more passionate or maybe just a bit less busy, I’m not sure.

Maybe a more quantitative measure of expertise is looking at one’s mavericks and putting in a link for those in one’s profile? Someone with pages of maverick IDs maybe doesn’t have as much expertise as someone with a handful?


But they may be Proud Mavericks, forging ahead as taxonomy catches up with them.
Or the maverick may be, the one, who is right.


Thanks @invertebratist. I’ve often wondered what’s most appropriate and how much is too much to put on a profile. I’ll update mine, probably when I work through the shells from the last Spirits Bay trip (yes, I brought back some fine shell washup to sift through again).

One question I have - I understand that publication lists, etc., are important for scientists but is it OK to put up reference to self-published books? So far I’ve kept my private website and iNat contributions completely separate. That’s partly for privacy reasons (not having locations on the photos on my website blog) and partly because I thought that admitting to vanity publishing might be frowned on on iNat.


A few decades ago that might have been the case, but in today’s publishing world, I think any judgment is reserved more for the merits of the content than for how it was published.


Pfffttt … don’t tell me what to do with my profile :wink:


Agreed! There are plenty of people that have links to their own websites, including those that aren’t obviously related to iNat but are just part of their lives. If the books are relevant to what you do on iNat, I think it’s totally appropriate to mention that you’ve written them/list them.

I think that there probably is a line somewhere for self-promotional profile content that wouldn’t be ok (explicitly trying to sell something, links to a commercial site that directly profit you, etc.), but I think that there’s plenty of opportunity to post without going that far.



best able to identify birds, mammals, and to a lesser extent, plants

That is all we need :rofl:


Maybe withdrawn mavericks is better?

1 Like

Yes! I was hesitant, for a long time, to post links to the nature-related publications I’ve worked on because I was concerned it might be viewed as trying to commercialize my profile, but then I realized how helpful and interesting it was to see similar info on others’ profiles (and yes, I’ve bought some books as a result). Even if the content isn’t directly relevant to iNat, it’s nice to learn a little more about the people with whom I’m interacting. This is, after all, a social network, and I find it a bit of a bummer when an iNatter with really interesting observations or a shared focus on identifying a group I’m into has nothing but a blank profile.


Maybe worth adding some of these publications to topic: Books by iNatters - wiki, if appropriate? I find such profiles with links to their own works helpful, especially when it’s focused on a locally relevant niche. Besides, don’t book publishers end up making most of the money, anyway?


I also find it interesting to see things like this that round out who another user is.

The other thing that users can do if things aren’t really relevant to iNat but an important part of who they are that they want out there on iNat is to write a journal post. These aren’t as used as much (and of course it’s still not appropriate for totally spammy/promotional content) but it can be helpful for compiling info about a specific topic. I see some users having links to journal posts about extended iNat/non-iNat content on their profile which are often helpful and interesting.


Oh … I have 59 pages of those. Good or bad?
Mostly the result of pushing ignored Unknowns in a hopeful direction.


Excellent? Looking at:

There are 1633 pages there so that’s 96%+ or only 1 in 27 undos for every identification.

Edit: Corrected after @cthawley’s comment below.


Had a look at mine, and found some that were puzzling. I didn’t remember mis-identifying so many Cranberry Heaths (or any, actually). But when I looked at a couple, I understood. Taxon Swap withdrawals are included, and probably make up more than half of my results.


I think there’s a typo in the link with the username (which I don’t think exists). That might default to all identifications or something? I respect Diana’s effort a lot, but I know she doesn’t have >5,000,000 pages of observations!