There is a disagreement festering in the community of herp identifiers here on iNat at the moment that I would like some input about.
Do contributors have a right to their own taxonomic perspectives about the value/validity of subspecies?
In the herp ID community here there are some very hard working volunteers who go through and help to identify / verify identifications. We would be lost without them. But there are two sorts of “factions” out there.
- One group believes every animal can / should be identified down to subspecies based on morphology or range. If you are in a contact zone, you name it based on which one it looks more like.
- Another group believes that there are some animals that simply cannot be identified to subspecies because the location / morphology indicates that it should be an intergrade so neither taxon is correct.
- Another group believes that whether an animal should be identified to subspecies is a particular choice of the person who enters the record. Some people don’t like/agree with the subspecies concept so they just make all their IDs at species level. However, people from the “subspecies believers” group like to come in and identify it to subspecies even though the original person chose not to.
What I find most problematic is a trend towards a sort of “bully” taxonomy where they recruit other people (by flagging them) of their particular taxonomic bent to come in and confirm their IDs. It is getting almost “testy” between some parties.
I know the original data contributors can refuse to accept community IDs (if they are in group 3 for example), but I find that solution antithetic to the fundamental principles of the community of iNat.
Is there a way for a user to restrict the identification of their records to species level?