These types of conversations about broader taxonomic issues would be better held on the forum, where anyone can ask a question or start a conversation. In fact that’s already happening, such as with the Clements 2019 discussion.
Right now interested participants—who are not project curators—must use the comments section of an existing journal post in the working group, which is an unnatural way to have a discussion since the journal post might be about a completely different topic. (I also left most of them because I don’t want the little badge displaying on all of my observations—the working group doesn’t really relate to my observation of a particular species at that time and place.)
I don’t think each working group should be relegated to a single topic, and conversely splitting each working group into its own category seems like overkill. I think the various discussions can be hosted in taxon flags when relevant, and the broader discussion topics categories here like #curators, #general, and #feature-requests. Having a coherent place to hold these conversations would be one of many little things that would help improve taxonomic curation on iNat.
I’d personally rather have some kind of section or page that has links to the working groups. There is so much content here, that finding or even searching for something can be overwhelming, plus the user base on the main site is much larger. I’m sure there are folks who are not interested in participating here.
How about a single new Forum category, “Taxonomic Working Groups.” Within that category, a single pinned topic for each existing (and future new) subgroups, each starting with the words “PLEASE READ BEFORE ADDING A NEW TOPIC”, and each starting with a post either linking to and summarizing the existing relevant journal post, or copying it verbatim.
Then, with that infrastructure in place, allow further topics and posts as in the General category, which moderators can tidy up and cross-link as needed.
I’d lean towards setting up a dedicated forum/subforums for this, because the project format for doing this is an awful kludge. At least in the case of plants, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of feedback, either.
I think the journal entries can be archived so they’re visible somewhere (e.g. as forum topics), but that maintaining the defunct projects would probably be misleading.
That type of manual maintenance with crosslinking and summaries seems like too much work, and for the reasons I listed above, separate topics for each actual separate discussion rather than big long topics would be easier to search and browse through. It’s hard enough for me to remember what has been said in a topic that’s 200 posts long, and I’m the top reader of this forum… Maybe tags for each taxonomic group could be used instead.
Definitely agree here, and was not thinking of trying to limit or consolidate topics at all. That is something else that could be emphasized in the initial pinned posts, along with being sure to use the appropriate taxonomic tag for each new topic, which I think is a great idea also.
Also wasn’t envisioning moderator maintenance needing to be any more intensive than in other forum categories (and hopefully less so, if contributors actually read the header posts first). Mainly just in the initial pinned post for each taxon, to link to and summarize the legacy journal post that is being closed and replaced.
That said, there will no doubt be the occasional contentious taxonomic topic that still grows to 200+ posts. Nature of the beast sometimes, but hopefully limited by judicious moderation…