What should we do about identifiers who deliberately misidentify species (deviate from iNat’s taxonomy) not because they are unaware, but because they disagree with that taxonomy?
This is a common thing in the reptile ID community. A series of papers have been published over the last 10-20 years splitting species in a way that many disagreed with. But iNaturalist has accepted those splits since their taxonomic basis (the Reptile Database) has accepted those changes. (These splits are also reflected in current field guides, etc).
But some users disagree so much with those changes that the deliberately go around identifying with the old names in protest. When asked to justify/explain their disagreement they criticize the author’s of the papers that split them rather than offering a basis for their different identification. And newer members have been given the impression that this is OK and that they can use whatever taxonomy they want.
This is not a rogue identifier on a few records, one individual has over 100K identifications. Most are perfectly fine, some are deliberately wrong. And they tend to tag like-minded individuals to agree with them with every ID. This prevents records from becoming research grade because of the disagreement on IDs and reduces the accuracy of our range maps.
Could we create a “flag” that says an identification is out of alignment with iNaturalist’s taxonomy?
The goal would be not to report the defiant identifiers, but to allow iNat to ignore some identifications in calculating research grade status and making range maps.
Chris Harrison (sandboa)