I’ve noticed several instances of iNat using default common names that don’t seem to exist (or just barely so) outside of this site. This is easy enough to figure out by a quick Google search, where the only results will be from iNat and a small number of information-aggregating websites, but these names will be entirely absent from all other publications and websites, peer-reviewed or otherwise. This is probably most common in groups that don’t have a well-codified nomenclatural system in place (and it’s especially prevalent with corals).
I’ve also seen instances where a rarely-used regional common name has been selected as the default, while a more widely published common name has been listed as one of the non-default options (or been missing entirely).
I guess the question here is what standard do we apply to using common names when there is no agreed upon “common” name. This seems to be an important consideration, as the names that get used here do seem to eventually make their way to other parts of the internet. Is it enough to simply say that common name A has more Google search results than common name B and so that should be the default? And what importance should be put on academic/peer-reviewed references versus the names that float around on the internet? Is a widely used internet name worth more than a rarer name in an academic journal?
Also, do the de novo names that pop up on iNat deserve to live? Should they be deleted entirely once they are noticed, even if they have spread elsewhere on the internet? The curatorial policy here is to not allow the creation of new common names, but it seems to happen here, intentionally or otherwise. Palythoa tuberculosa is called the “grey colonial zoanthid” on here, but the name doesn’t seem to appear in any published literature and gives only a couple low-quality Google search results of websites that likely got the name from here. It’s an interesting example, as this name briefly appears in a marine biochemistry book published this year. This would likely validate the name for many, but is it warranted in this case if the name erroneously originated here?