iNat says a place is missing a checklist when it's not

I’m creating atlases for some inactive taxa in preparation for moving North American Campanuloideae into new genera (per POWO). In creating an atlas for Campanula/Rotanthella floridana I got a weird error message when I tried to add Charlotte County, Florida to the atlas. says

2021 賞蝶識花山行健 第六期第一組 has no check list

Apparently the text is traditional Chinese for “Appreciating Butterflies, Recognizing Flowers and Walking in Mountains, Phase 6, Group 1”. In addition, the county is now highlighted in red in the atlas, and appears not to have been successfully added (as the “Add this place” link is still available).

I hunted down the iNat place for Charlotte County, planning to create the missing checklist record, but it seems that one exists: Any ideas what might be happening?

That Chinese text does match a project and also a place. The place doesn’t have a checklist (and probably shouldn’t as it just covers a square kilometer in Hong Kong). I’m still lost as to how this relates to a county in Florida.

the numeric ID of the Florida county is 2021, and the slug (string ID) of the Chinese place is 2021. so the system is getting the two mixed up.

i assume the system probably disallows creation of places with only numbers in their names to avoid this kind of mixup, but i assume the system also just drops non-western characters when creating slugs. so that may be a loophole that allows creation of number-only slugs, and that sort of loophole probably needs to be handled one way or another to avoid this kind of mixup.


Thanks for figuring that out @pisum!

@tiwane: Is this something that iNat staff can fix? Is there a temporary fix such as changing the title of the Chinese place or the ID for the Florida county?

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As a workaround you can:

  1. Make Rotanthella floridana active (I think you can’t add inactive taxa to checklists)
  2. Manually add Rotanthella floridana to the Charlotte checklist
  3. Deactivate Rotanthella floridana

Charlotte County should now be green on the atlas

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In general we don’t edit user-created places. You might consider reaching out to the place’s creator and asking them if they could move the year somewhere else in the title until a technical solution is implemented.

EDIT: hmm, not sure if just moving the number will work, since the rest of the text would be in Chinese. I’ve asked our devs to take a look.

Thanks, @lawnranger. That worked perfectly!

I think in this case providing an accurate atlas for the target species may not matter a great deal for the taxon swap. That’s because genus-level Campanula IDs will inevitably get bumped up to Campanuloideae as lots of the 500 other Campanula species lack atlases. But I learned a little more about how places, atlases and checklists interact.

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