Page needs updating then :)
Did not see the Google Group discussion. I don’t feel THAT strongly, but capitalization is a convention I like to see and I use it in publications.
It’s interesting though that in my iPhone app, all animals and some plants have all words capitalized. Other plants are not (screwbean mesquite) or only the first word is capitalized (Scarlet hedgehog cactus). Even within a plant genus it varies: Royal Penstemon vs. firecracker penstemon.
The whole range of bio-nomenclatural-diversity.
Anyone can add common names, not everyone knows or follows the correct capitalization convention (all lower except for Proper nouns) for plants.
Yes, looks like the appropriate guidelines are already there, and I think they should remain there, given that common names still display “as-is” in the apps. In fact, I would encourage that these guidelines also be linked directly from the Adding Names guidelines on the taxon pages. From the Curator Guide:
Common names for animals should be entered in title case with each word starting with a capital letter (e.g. Atlantic Bluefin Tuna) but not the second part of adjectival hyphenated words (e.g. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo).
Common names for plants, fungi, and other non-animal taxa should be entered in lowercase (e.g. spotted gum) except for proper nouns, which should start with a capital letter wherever they appear (e.g. Tasmanian blue gum).
The issue I think @silversea_starsong was getting at is recognition of proper nouns to capitalize in situations where the default is otherwise all lower-case, as with the botanical convention.
Moving this to the General category, since current capitalization behavior on iNaturalist is by design.
The problem @cmcheatle is that if you have a name like the common purple African fly-eater, that is easy to ProperCase() to the Common Purple African Fly-Eater, but to go in reverse the LCase() function has no way of knowing it mustn’t de-capitalise African. Finding a way to do so would be complicated. Not only is the list of proper nouns huge (people’s names as well as countries and regions) but there are ambiguous words like Black and White, which can be names or just colours.
By way of comparison, this has also been a hugely inflammatory issue on Wikipedia, where some contributors whose principal interest is in enforcing style consistency have spent years pushing decapitalization of common names and the like, as “specialist styles” unsuitable for a general encyclopedia. It did quite a bit of damage to WikiProject Birds some years back, where at least one contributor quit over the issue, and I’d prefer not to unleash anything similar here.
Agreed. I don’t think this should rise to the level of a capital offense.
this is not a case I’m going to lower to…
I guess it boils down to the letter of the law… :P
Man, unleashed a can of worms here clearly! To be perfectly honest, I don’t mind too much which convention is followed, as long as it’s followed consistently, which is why the biggest bugbear for me in all this is the difference between the app and the website. Clearly people don’t mind the website doing automatic capitalisation (as that seems to be a pretty well-established feature), so in my head it makes sense to roll that out on the apps too.
However, as one of the staff said above that wouldn’t likely be a priority (understandably, this isn’t that big a deal!). That being said, I think I will put a feature request in for that consistency, so other people can get behind it if they like. :)
No, not the case. It’s just easier to code and not worth rediscussing considering past conversations.
The website is one app to change, the iPhone and android app would be two apps to change. I would rather them change the web site to present as is and make the conventions more known.
The only way you can avoid this debate is establishing it so the system automatically treats the names equally. For instance, auto-capitalizing on the app, and across all locations. As a bonus, this should mean that if you enter a common name starting with lower case, it would then auto-capitalize that too. Remove the inconsistencies, and the debate should end (at least, practically).
Ok, did a bit more digging, and it does seem like there is some sort of bug-type issue here. As I said in my original post, ‘common heather’ is listed on the taxonomy page as ‘common heather’, and so that’s what shows up in the app. So far so good.
However, I was looking at the ‘Bog Asphodel’ taxonomy page and spotted something interesting…
Note how the English name is ‘bog asphodel’, which is the correct convention as discussed above. On my app though, it auto-capitalises to Bog Asphodel!!
So it seems that some species names do auto-capitalise on the app… @jdmore, might this count as a legit bug as opposed to something by design? Curioser and curioser.
No, the name has just been updated since your post.
Ah cool. Got it! I guess it takes a while for my app to update with any changes to the names then. Thanks @bouteloua!
Inaturalist is not a spellcheck app. Just lowercase every thing and problem solved.
or go the mammalia way and upper case everything! But that is the problem here, there is no one “easy solution” that would be accepted. The only practical easy solution is to not worry about the capitalisation…
What would happen if we used a neutral language, perhaps one that is no longer actively spoken by a population? Maybe Latin? Just kidding. Since the local languages I work with are multiple and, relatively speaking, obscure, I set the website and app to display the Latin names. In one class I can have speakers of Pohnpeian, Chuukese, Yapese, Kosraean, Kapingan,… and the list continues. Capitalization issue solved via Latin. Meant in a spirit of good humor!
i use latin too, its better to learn the latin names because they are world wide the same, i just use local names to search latin names.
i also am aware of the problem with that. some times i speak with locals about plants and i only know the latin name but not the local name, and they dont know the latin name… this is the point where i suggest them inaturalist to learn the world wide known names, because they are general in opposide to local names.
I think schools should teach latin names too, there is the problem, they teach local names and this turns in a global world into a babylonian mess.