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. Cut and paste from this page to save effort writing the same thing again.

Not an Organism/Test Observations

Hi, welcome to iNaturalist! I have marked this observation as "Evidence of organism? No." Try your best to observe actual plants and animals and other creatures, even if it's just a test observation. If you need some more help, be sure to check out the getting started page: http://www.inaturalist.org/pages/getting+started

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

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.

Hi, welcome to iNaturalist! Even if you don't know the exact species, you can add a higher level identification such as "plant" or "animal". This will make it easier for others to help identify your observations more quickly.

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 pictures to an observation when they are each pictures 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 picture and uncheck the checkboxes next to the other pictures. Then come back to this first observation, click "Edit," and delete the extra pictures. 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 pictures to an observation when they are each pictures 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 delete the extra photos. Thank you.

Captive/Cultivated Organism

Plants:

  • new user: Hi, welcome to iNaturalist! Since iNaturalist is primarily about observing wild organisms, please 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! Since iNaturalist is primarily about observing wild organisms, please 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 creatures. 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

Assuming Good Faith: 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. Please see the Getting Started guide to learn about appropriate use of iNaturalist: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/getting+started

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 Location

Would you mind adding a location for this observation? If you add a location your observation will be eligible for "research grade" status, and it will make it a lot easier for others to identify what is in your photo, since there are often similar but different creatures in different parts of the world. 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 to "obscured."

To add a location, click the "Edit" button above, type the name of the place in the box in the text field above the map and below "Where were you?", and click "Search." You can use the map below that to click and drop a push-pin to more accurately show the location. If you do not want everyone to be able to see the location, the "geoprivacy" drop-down below the map allows you to change that.

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. This is set either by entering a number for the radius of uncertainty, or clicking on the circle and dragging it to a larger or smaller size. Try not to set it too large, though. Indicating an observation was "somewhere in North America" (or elsewhere) isn't very helpful for people who are trying to help you identify your observation.

Imprecise Location

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? 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

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.

Null (0,0) Location

Hi, it looks like the location was accidentally saved at coordinates 0,0 — in the Atlantic Ocean! :) To add a location, click the "Edit" button, and use the map to drop a push-pin to more accurately depict where you were when you made this observation. Even just a general location is helpful. For now, I marked this observation as having an incorrect location in the Data Quality Assessment section, so please reply here letting me know once you've fixed it. Thanks!

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)]

"Bad" Identifications

Joke or Malicious IDing: Please don't add joke or otherwise false identifications on iNaturalist. Please keep jokes in the comments section. Thank you!

Misled 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 maps.

Helpful to Add a General Identification

Option 1: If you have a general idea of what you're posting, go ahead and include it. That could be as broad as "bird" or "plant." Many people helping identify observations on iNaturalist will filter the observations by the group of species they know how to ID (like birds or plants), 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.

Option 2: 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

Revised on July 18, 2019 16:07 by bouteloua bouteloua