Creation of multiple copies of already existing taxa

There seems to be an increasing number of times that taxa are being added multiple times despite already existing on iNat under the same name. For example, Albizia julibrissin has been added 10+ times ( This wastes curator and user time, and raises several questions:

  1. is it possible to find out which users are doing this, so they could be contacted to explain that it already exists?
  2. is it possible to prevent existing taxa being re-added? Except by curators?
  3. what is the recommended action - mark as inactive, merge or delete?
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Unless you are the creator, you can’t delete it. If there is no associated data(identifications or observations), likely best to just set inactive.

They are caused by people using the COL or EOL import tool, and it does not graft properly, so they think it did not work, so they do it again.

Here is another example :

What is odd about this one is each one of the records has a different photo(s) associated with it. Looking at the photos, it appears they have all been imported from Wikimedia Commons, which suggests there may be some kind of an issue with that import process also contributing to this.

Yes, I’ve noticed this ongoing issue too. I wonder if it would be too hard for the devs to add a little validation code to these import processes, so that it would at least not allow duplicate ungrafted names to be added.

Allowing a single ungrafted name might be necessary in the case of hemihomonyms where one homonym does not yet exist in the iNat taxonomy.

Or could we just disallow all ungrafted imports, and instead direct users to the taxon flagging process if they feel a name needs to be added?

I can see how “self-service” additions to the iNat taxonomy would have been essential during its early years. But as the iNat taxonomy “matures,” maybe that is not such essential functionality any more?

Albizia julibrissin julibrissin has just been added (and inactivated) again. Seems like whoever is doing this will continue to do so…

Some code has been added to try and prevent the addition of duplicate taxa, we’ll see how it goes.