I have some problems with how the site handles hybrids, so I’ll cut to the chase and put my 3 proposals here. Most of this is regarding the consistency of pages, removing extra work for curators who have to make or are asked to make the pages, and then in terms of being able to use hybrids as an ID in an environment where the correct “×” symbol cannot be used.
My suggestions are as follows:
1. The symbol × should be treated as synonymous with the letter x. If a hybrid taxon page is made with x, it should replace it with × on creation of the page. The symbol sure isn’t on my keyboard, not to mention some people don’t realize this is important and just make the page with the normal x anyway. This should apply for searching and taxon matches too – if I’m entering bufflehead x common goldeneye, it won’t match bufflehead × common goldeneye, which is a problem, especially on the iOS and Android apps where the × cannot be used readily.
2. Hybrids and GenusHybrids should be exempt from taxon framework rules – meaning, it should not prevent us from making hybrids even if the taxonomy is “locked”. There are too many to warrant bugging taxon curators every single time. Two categories that often hybridize, birds and reptiles, are locked, meaning we (regular curators) can’t make hybrid pages without continually bugging an admin (or taxon curator). There are more hybrids needed on the site than you’d think – this isn’t just a one-off problem. The “solution” in many cases ends up being just not making a page at all, which means these hybrid records fade into the genus. Not useful!
3. I’m proposing a new way to make hybrid taxon pages. Right now it is a bit finnicky in terms of making the page as if it were a normal taxon. The page becomes standalone, at genus, with no connection to the parents. It would be good to have a page where I can choose the two parent taxa from selection boxes, and then have site automatically combine them into the correct format as a taxon page. This would also solve proposal 1 above where users may not use × instead of x as intended. If you try and makes hybrids through the usual taxa/new page, it should redirect you to this new page.