Wild or kept in captivity? Research quality or hobby quality? A neverending discussion!

I plead and advocate for a most widely understandig of nature. For me, every living beeng that can exist without the help of humans should be considered wild. even if it is initionally brought there and planted by the people. It is in any case part of the ecological biosphere!
We all know that there is hardly a place in the world not affected by mankind in one way or another.
So let´s be tolerant.

As I understand the rules apply that a tree in a park or an alley planted 200 years ago and never been cared of is planted and not wild. No matter that this tree is a majestetical being and also living space for numerous other species! Especially in cities.! For me this attitude seems to be a bit childish. Furthermore, it can only obtain “hobby quality” and never “research quality”. In my eyes “quality” stucks either to the picture no matter what content or to the identification through at least two members of iNaturalist…


There’re like 30 huge topics on cultivated plants, there’s a big difference between planted tree and wild, but it’d be better if you discussed it in an existing topic and not started uust another one.
You can care for majestical trees even if they’re casual. Vote for request to separate casual category, all the lovers of cultivated stuff are there. There’s no “quality” on iNat and RG just means id is approved by community and observation can be shared with other platforms.


It is unfortunate that iNat chooses to rate it as Casual. The label on the box should be what’s in the box. Is it wild? No. Not Wild.

Casual has wandered off on a different path …


@fffffffff : I just have problems with the meanings of iNat-English.:
a) What means “casual” in this connection? Obviously not “clothing” as I know it.
b) And what ist “RG”? I suppose it stands for the the word that in "German is called “Forschungsqualität” and that I have tried to translate in English with “research quality”. And “quality” and “Qualität” have exactly the same meaning, I guess!

So there IS a difference in value if an organism is qualified as wild or not! I cannot spot a n objective argument for this. Planted trees are also approved by the community and it would be useful if the observation could be shared with other platforms, too.

You urge me to discuss my topics in one of more than 30 existing threads and not to start a new one.
But for me it is one of the topic that inevidently have to be raised several times, as they always matter. At least once a year! So I did it for 2022.

It is an ongoing problem. Including for us, whose first language is English.
Not a translation failure, but a logic failure by iNat. We have to compromise around it meanwhile.

We have asked for three categories. Casual for missing data.

Not Wild - but still in the ID queue - with a personal option to toggle off - I don’t want to see Not Wild (I do!)

Wild - going to Research Grade - for scientists to use (thoughtfully)


@petzenbeer On each site within iNaturalist, you can go to the bottom of the page and change the language:

Then you will quickly find out how ‘Hobby-’ and ‘Forschungsqualität’ translate


Nothing can translate that Casual is iNatese for Not Wild.


By definition, a planted tree is not wild.

“Majestic” and “not wild” are not mutually exclusive. A lion in a zoo can still be majestic, but it is still “not wild”.

A bridge may similarly provide a roosting sight for a large bat colony, pigeons, etc., but that doesn’t make it “wild”.

I don’t think there is a valid argument to list planted/landscaped plants as wild. However, I could see an argument for some other designation other than casual. For example, say I was interested in the amount of host plant resources available to caterpillars inside a large city. If people have planted native poplars/maples/etc., those are resources caterpillars will use and thus informs my question of interest. However, they shouldn’t be listed as “wild” because then someone with a different question (what is the natural distribution of native poplars/maples/etc.?) gets thrown off. Instead, I might create an iNat project for my question, and accept casual grade observations to be included.


So despite getting a concrete response and contributions from some of most the most active members of this community, you shirk their direct advice? These people know more about this system functions than most mechanics know about engines. The least that could be done was showing the tiniest bit of respect to those who answered your question.

Dignifying this type of virtual “hand flailing”, beginning the moment a new user encounters something that makes them uncomfortable or annoyed will ultimately permanently degrade the quality of this forum, it happens in community forums like this constantly.


I understand your point of view. Monumental Trees or trees we feel affection for may be something important for our lives and surely worth of respect and conservations. But, frankly, which is the problem if the observations of these plants are tagged as they actually are, that means cultivated?

One could think that it is a little bit childish not to notice the greatness of a worldwide community of people mapping the wildlife all over the world.

Anyway, I think that the issue is not if these observations should not reach research grade but to allow the observations of non-wild organisms to be shown among the others. The need for correctly tagging is something that cannot be avoided as it is the only mean to distinguish them from from those of wild organisms.

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No, it doesn’t matter any more than previous topics, forcing people to wrote the same arguments over and over? It’s selfish, and childish as you say. There’s a huge value difference as observation, but we all admire planted trees. To find what Research Grade means is pretty easy by checking help page and forum.
GBIF don’t need your planted trees, why do you want them to be shared? No, scientific community don’t need that data. iNat allows captive observations only because they’re part of the learning, not because they’re on the same level as wild ones. Actually checking old topics, voting where it’s needed would help you more than writing something we read each month from word to word. Not sure why you feel making old big topic visible again is somehow worse than making just another one.


O.K., I remove the word “childish” from my post. But I did not be aggressive to anybody here, so don´t get aggressive to me. If someone feels that a topic is raised again and agian in the iNat forum , so this person can just ignore the thread. Obviously this is not the case for everybody, for instance for me.

I thought it would be able to discuss something that matters for me! But I was wrong.

Does the sientific comunity need my “planted trees”? I don´t care, I am just offering them, but feel free to just ifnore me.

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Frequently asked iNaturalist-specific questions, such as what “captive/cultivated” or “research grade” mean, are often covered in the Help page. If you don’t find your answer there, try asking in the #general category.

Proposed changes to iNaturalist functionality are discussed in the #feature-requests category. For example, https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/make-captive-cultivated-not-automatically-no-id-needed/112 If there isn’t an existing request that covers your proposal, you can submit a new one.

Proposed translation changes can be made/discussed at CrowdIn—see more info about that process here: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/translate

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Never liked the term Casual as used on iNat. I confuse it in my mind with Casual as used for bird records. Not Wild makes more sense and translates better.

Why not Incomplete for missing data?


I like “Hobby Grade” better than “Casual.” Many hobbyists take their hobbies seriously enough to become actual experts; whereas “casual” implies something done incidentally without much serious thought.

Which are wild by iNat definition.

Thank you - that’s nice to hear :blush:
I struggled for quite a while to find an adequate translation, and while I am still not absolutely happy with the term, I didn’t come up with a better one - now it is anyways established, so I don’t want to change it

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I wish your “Improve the Discussion” would automatically appear in second place in every topic on the forum.

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