A few days ago I posted a note about having been careless and called a sea anemone a buttercup - one was anemone and the other anemoneae. Shockingly (!), 2 additional people IDed it exactly the same way right after me.
I just found another case - an orange terrestrial algae was called a crane fly. Both called Trentepohlia. It’s stuck on State of Matter Life, having passed through fungi, flies, flies, algae, algae, flies, algae, algae lol. The original poster is long gone, and I don’t know that it can change, can it?
Anyway, it seems to me that taxonomists are constantly changing the names of things - consolidating multiple names for one organism, deprecating names for a variety of reasons, splitting and joining groups based on new DNA evidence… What would it take to get a project going to change names to differentiate species? I mean, most of the time this will be a no-brainer (says she, who knows next to nothing about the intricacies of taxonomy but does know that calling two different things by the same name is just as bad as calling one thing by two different names). These are clearly different organisms, and it’s not a matter of deciding which of 2 names should be used, but instead it’s an opportunity for another inflated ego to get their name onto a species. (Oh dear, I didn’t really write that, did I?)
This might be something else that iNat could contribute! We could trawl the iNat database and identify every instance where a genus or higher taxon appears under more than one value of the next higher taxon. We could then put the list in the tutorials section of the forum, and then take a stab at suggesting how to fix it - e.g., as a rule of thumb, the more populous group would retain the original name and we could try to come up with a clever variation on the name for the other taxon that would mean the same thing but be different enough to help prevent confusion. Or name them all after Darwin’s ancestors (they produced him after all). Or after pieces of furniture. Point is, it would be a strawperson to start from. And then hawk it to whichever taxonomy groups seem to have their acts together and are aware of the very bad taxonomic behaviour this demonstrates! And I suspect that as more citizen science projects are established this issue will grow.
This is such an obvious idea that I’m sure it has been discussed many times, and I’m frightfully naive for thinking that it could possibly be that simple, etc., etc., etc.
But could we at least generate the list and put it in the Tutorials area? Maybe identical taxa and ones that are just a little off? Like anemone and anemoneae? I know we don’t have all species yet, but as long as we save the code, it could be rerun periodically. I would personally highly appreciate it!
OK, so just how naive am I? :-)
P.S. And sorry for writing another tome