BugGuide links have disappeared?

Platform (Android, iOS, Website): Website, possibly others

App version number, if a mobile app issue (shown under Settings or About):

Browser, if a website issue (Firefox, Chrome, etc) : Chrome

URLs (aka web addresses) of any relevant observations or pages: One example, it seems to be across the board: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/51922-Diaphania-indica

Screenshots of what you are seeing (instructions for taking a screenshot on computers and mobile devices: https://www.take-a-screenshot.org/):

Description of problem (please provide a set of steps we can use to replicate the issue, and make as many as you need.):

The embedded BugGuide links that used to be in the More Info section seem to have all disappeared recently. If this was a planned change, could someone please explain why? If not, can the links be restored?

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are you sure they existed in the past for the taxa that you’re looking at? they’re not all gone. for example, see https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/48662-Danaus-plexippus :

I’ve noticed the same thing, that taxa that formerly had bugguide links no longer have them.

Perhaps this is not related, but I also noticed that for most (all?) plants I look to, the link to POWO is also missing. It seems that before I could get to POWO easily through iNat. Maybe the link to POWO was removed because you can get to it through the IPNI link?

Previously, if there was a BugGuide page, there was a link. And Diaphania indica definitely has a BugGuide page: https://bugguide.net/node/view/867668.

Also, since the queen butterfly (in the same genus as the monarch) is also missing its BugGuide link

and has a BG page (https://bugguide.net/node/view/3942), it seems like these links are missing in a taxonomically scattered way

This has happened before and I restored the BugGuide link then. It should be investigated if there is a reason the BugGuide link just disappears on some taxa or if someone is unhelpfully deleting the link or editing it to apply to different taxa than before. The lost link was applied to all arthropods in continental North America and led to a BG search page (because BG has no way to go directly its taxon pages with a taxon name in the web address). What is left now are a few other links to a specific BugGuide page for a single species, not the general link that has appeared on most relevant iNat taxon pages.

Is there a way to see a list of all such links without having to know in advance which taxon page to look at?

I have recreated the BugGuide link. But it really should be investigated what is going on with the previous links as this isn’t the first time the disappearance has happened.

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the Monarch page now has 2 BugGuide links:

is this the expected result?

I don’t know how this is happening, but wonder if the cause may be similar to what’s causing GBIF links to disappear or incorrectly only show entire genus data (when using the GBIF map filter) from some species pages. Also for anyone looking into the BG links, as a reminder the BG website only covers US and Canada species.

There was the single general BG link – applied to numerous taxa – that disappeared and which I have recreated. And then there are a handful of single-species links that others have added, which I have not touched. These latter species have both links.

I still want to know: How can one see a list of all such added links without knowing in advance which taxon pages to find them on? I wonder if there are lost links still in existence.

i guess my question is whether this is desired? could that be maybe why the generic link was removed?

Yes, this has happened with generic taxon links I have created for plants in the past. In an attempt to thwart this issue, I have left behind a comment similar to the following on each link I have created:

PLEASE DISCUSS HERE BEFORE CHANGING THIS LINK

This is a generic link that shows up on EVERY vascular plant taxon page in iNaturalist. If you need a more specific link, please add it using https://www.inaturalist.org/taxon_links/new. If there is already a duplicate link, please leave this generic link alone, and consider deleting the more specific duplicate instead.

I am not aware of any way to search the existing taxon links that have been set up in the system. For that reason I keep a local file with the information I used to set up various generic links, so that I can check on them occasionally, and re-create them if they get edited by someone else.

The generic link I set up for this was always just a single link to IPNI+POWO. Others might have added individual POWO links for specific taxa. Those are mostly redundant now since they are usually available through the Wikipedia information (on the left side of the About tab).

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Since this does not appear to be a bug per se, but instead a case of different curators using existing functionality at cross-purposes, I am moving this topic to the Curators category.

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BugGuide strives to keep links stable and nothing has changed on the BugGuide end.

2 Likes

Yes, this was pretty clearly a case of an iNaturalist curator deciding to edit a previously generalized taxon link to apply only to a single species. Unfortunately iNaturalist only records the original creator of taxon links, and not who subsequently edits them, so there is no way to contact them for discussion.

How was it determined that the link was edited and not deleted?

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It turns out I was the original creator of the link. I went back to it (from my notes) after this issue came up, and saw that it had been changed to refer to a single species, but had no way to determine by whom. The comment I left asking people to discuss first obviously did no good. Since you had already created a replacement link, I went ahead and just deleted the old link (which I could do as its original “owner”).

And yes, it would have been very difficult for anyone else to find the “original” link after it had been edited to point to only one species. There are definitely some ways that the whole taxon link system could be improved, but I’m guessing it would be very low on the priority list for the devs.