Frequently Used Responses

These are responses to address issues commonly encountered as people learn to use iNaturalist. Anyone is welcome to use or modify these responses. Copy and paste from this page to save effort writing the same thing again.

Welcome to iNaturalist

Please modify this to fit your style/personality.

Hi, welcome to iNaturalist! As a new iNat user, here are a few links to pages you might find useful:

  • <a href="https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/getting+started">Getting Started Guide</a>
  • <a href="https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/help">Frequently Asked Questions</a>
  • <a href="https://forum.inaturalist.org">iNaturalist Forum</a>
  • <a href="https://www.inaturalist.org/blog">iNaturalist Blog</a>

If you need help, feel free to reach out to me personally—you can tag me in a comment by writing @ then my username, or asking the community at large via the <a href="https://forum.inaturalist.org">iNaturalist forum</a>, or by shooting a message to the help desk at help@inaturalist.org. Again, welcome! Hope you stick around. :)

Not an Organism/Test Observations

Hi, welcome to iNaturalist! iNaturalist is for observations of plants, animals, and other organisms. If you need some more help, be sure to check out the Getting Started page: http://www.inaturalist.org/pages/getting+started and Frequently Asked Questions: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/help

Observation of Human

Humans are indeed found in this area, but iNaturalist is best used for wild animals, plants, and other creatures. If you need some more help, be sure to check out the Getting Started page: http://www.inaturalist.org/pages/getting+started and Frequently Asked Questions: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/help

Add an Identification

Preferable only to use this for new users, as there are many reasons why an experienced user may not add an ID to their observations.

Option 1: Hi, welcome to iNaturalist! Even if you don't know the exact species, you can select a higher level identification such as "plant" or "insect". Many people helping identify observations on iNaturalist will filter the observations by the group of species they know how to ID (like plants or insects), so observations with a blank ID like this one will be excluded from those filtered searches. Putting in a general ID helps funnel your observation to someone who might know what they're looking at so that it can get identified more quickly. Here is a video tutorial for the mobile app: https://vimeo.com/162581545

Option 2 (general/coarse ID added): This general identification will help people who know the possible species better than I do to find it more easily. Many people helping identify observations on iNaturalist filter the observations for particular groups of species they know how to identify, so attaching your observation to the tree of life makes this easier. If you want to learn more about how identifications progress on iNaturalist, you can read more here: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/getting+started#identify

Option 3 (subject unclear): Hi, welcome to iNaturalist! I've been helping identify observations that aren't yet identified as any organism at all. Which organism are you focusing on in this observation? I've added this identification for now, but let me know if you were focusing on a different organism here. Thanks!

Multiple Species in One Observation

Web User: Each observation should be about a single species. Rather than adding several photos of different species to a single observation, please put each in its own observation. You can add multiple photos to an observation when they are each photos of the same thing. A quick way to fix this observation is to use the duplicate feature. In the upper right corner of the observation page, click the downward arrow next to "Edit" and choose "Duplicate." Then identify the duplicate observation as the organism in your second photo and uncheck the checkboxes next to the other photos. Then come back to this first observation, click "Edit," and remove the extra photos. Thank you.

Mobile User: Each observation should be about a single species. Rather than adding several photos of different species to a single observation, please put each in its own observation. You can add multiple photos to an observation when they are each photos of the same thing. All of the photos should be saved in the photo gallery on your device, so you can use the app to create a new observation for each type of organism you photographed. Be sure to edit this observation to remove the extra photos. Thank you.

Captive/Cultivated Organism

Plants:

  • new user: Hi, welcome to iNaturalist! Be sure to mark cultivated/planted plants as "captive/cultivated" when you upload observations of them. Here's a short video showing how to do it in the mobile app: https://vimeo.com/331151155
    On the website, you can also do so after uploading by clicking the "thumbs down" next to "Organism is wild?" in the Data Quality Assessment section at the bottom of this page. Thank you!
  • established user: Please mark cultivated/planted plants as "captive/cultivated" when you upload observations of them. You can also do so after uploading by clicking the "thumbs down" next to "Organism is wild?" in the Data Quality Assessment section at the bottom of this page on the website. Thank you!

Animals:

  • new user: Hi, welcome to iNaturalist! Be sure to mark captive animals and pets as "captive/cultivated" when you upload observations of them. Here's a short video showing how to do it in the mobile app: https://vimeo.com/331151155
    On the website, you can also do so after uploading by clicking the "thumbs down" next to "Organism is wild?" in the Data Quality Assessment section at the bottom of this page. Thank you!
  • established user:It doesn’t look like this is a wild animal. Don't forget to mark the checkbox for "captive/cultivated" when you make the observation. You can also do so after uploading by clicking the "thumbs down" next to "Organism is wild?" in the Data Quality Assessment section at the bottom of this page on the website. Thank you!

Either: Hi, welcome to iNaturalist! iNat is primarily meant for wild organisms. If you do upload captive or planted things like house plants, garden plants, zoo animals, or pets, please mark them as "captive/cultivated" on the add observation screen. That helps make sure the range maps only represent wild populations. Here's a short video showing how to do it in the mobile app: https://vimeo.com/331151155
On the website, you can also mark it after uploading the observation by clicking the "thumbs down" next to "Organism is wild?" in the Data Quality Assessment section at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

Use Your Own Photos And Observations

A few different options here. See the Finding and dealing with fabricated data page for some more information.

Assuming they did see that species then and there: Please only upload your own photos. iNaturalist observations should represent evidence of the actual organism you observed, not just a similar example. Uploading photos like this typically infringes on someone else's copyright. If you couldn't get a photo of something you saw, it's perfectly acceptable to upload observations of things you have observed without a photo attached.

Clearly didn't see that organism then and there: Please only upload your own photos. iNaturalist observations should represent evidence of an actual organism you observed. Uploading photos like this typically infringes on someone else's copyright.

(for Curators) User is unresponsive to requests to remove/stop posting copyrighted images: Hi, it looks like you've posted several photos from the internet that are not your own. Aside from being a legal copyright violation, this can have a serious negative impact on data quality on iNaturalist. On iNaturalist, photos should be evidence of the actual organism that you saw, not just a similar example. If you continue to post copyrighted images, your account will be at risk of suspension.

(for Curators) Private message to send to a user who was suspended: Hi, your account has been suspended for uploading several copyrighted images. If you would like your account to be reactivated please email help@inaturalist.org for more information.

Provide Cropped Photo

It's helpful if you can crop the photo more closely to the subject. iNaturalist resizes images, so while we can zoom in to try to see it closer, the image does lose some resolution. Cropping usually makes it easier to get an identification too.

Rotate Photo

To rotate a photo, click the "i" (white circle) below the photo. On the next page, click on the appropriate rotate button. You do not have to save the page, just wait for it to finish displaying the "rotating" message.

Re-order Photos

To re-order photos on the website, click on the "edit" button (top right of the page). On the next page, click the “Re-order photos” link on the right side of the page, at the bottom of the photos section. On the next page, add numbers to each photo. iNat will then place the photos in numerical order. Note that any photo with a blank number box will appear last, so you only need number the important photos. Then click "Update photos". When it returns you to the edit page, click "Save". (Do not overlook this last step!)

Missing Date

It looks like this observation is missing a "date observed". That is, the day you saw/found this organism. If you add the date, your observation will be eligible for "research grade" status, and will appear in the "Identify" section of the website. You can add the date by editing the observation, selecting the date, and re-saving it. Thanks!

Missing Location

It looks like this observation is missing location on the map. To add a location, click the "Edit" button, then use the search to type in a location and/or use the map to zoom and drop a pinpoint where the organism was observed. If you are concerned about revealing the location of a sensitive organism (or where your house is), you can hide the exact location from the public by changing the geoprivacy of the observation from "open" to "obscured."

Note that you can also set a perimeter of uncertainty around your observation. For instance, if you know you saw the organism somewhere in a park, when you enter the location you can set the uncertainty perimeter so that it encompasses the entire park. Just drag one of the points around the circle closer toward the center point to as accurate a location as you can estimate.

Incorrect Location

It looks like the location on the map is incorrect. Can you edit the observation to reposition the map pinpoint? You can do this by zooming in on the map within the mobile app or by editing on the website and tapping/clicking where it was observed. You indicate a "general area" by dragging one of the points around the circle further from the center point to as accurate a location as you can estimate. If you don't want to reveal the exact location, you can can also make it “obscured”, which will protect your privacy while still providing an approximate location of the organism. Thanks!

Imprecise Location

This observation has a very large radius of uncertainty around the location which makes the data less useful. Are you able to edit the observation to make the location more precise? Thank you!

More detailed: This observation has a large radius of uncertainty around the location which makes the data less useful. Can you edit the observation to make the location more precise? You can do this by zooming in on the map within the mobile app or by editing on the website. It may be easier to keep the center point of the location accurate during editing if you use the website rather than your phone. Just drag one of the points around the circle closer toward the center point to as accurate a location as you can estimate. Thanks!

Private Location

To be used sparingly, probably only with new users, since some people intentionally mark observations as private.

Since you have marked the location of this observation as “private”, others aren't able to see even the general location of this observation. There are similar looking species in different parts of the world, and the location is a very important clue in identifying what you saw. If you don't want to reveal the exact location, you can instead make it “obscured”, which will protect your privacy while still giving us enough information to figure out which species are in range.

Duplicate Observations

Exact Duplicates (same photos): This observation appears to be the same as another observation you have uploaded. I have flagged this as a duplicate. In the upper right corner of the observation page, you can click the downward arrow next to "Edit" and choose "Delete." Thank you!

Near Duplicates (same organism but different photos): It looks like you uploaded another observation of this organism at the same time. It's recommended to combine the photos into a single observation rather than to add separate observations of the same thing. I recommend deleting this one and adding the photo to the other observation. Thank you!
[link to other observation(s)]

Mislead by Computer Vision

The computer vision suggestions can be very good for a lot of species, but not so good on others… This seems to be one of those it struggles with. It’s a good idea to keep in mind that the suggestions can sometimes be way off upon closer examination of images or range maps.


About this Page

These responses were written and edited by various members of the iNaturalist community. Want to add or edit something? Any iNaturalist Curator can edit this page - the link to edit is on the bottom right. Otherwise, reach out to @bouteloua and she'd be happy to work with you on making changes or additions.

Revised on September 24, 2020 21:53 by bouteloua bouteloua