Issue with tentative subspecies ID

Hello iNat community,

There seems to be a bug with the tentative ID being updated when the ID you suggest is for a subspecies or variety. See the following screenshot:

Even though I’ve suggested an ID, it does not get updated on the title at the top of the page. However, if I suggest only the species (C. barbata instead of C. barbata ssp. barbata), the title does get updated to C. barbata. This just makes it hard for other people to agree with the ID.

Is there a reason why IDs for infraspecific ranks do not show in the title but any ID for species level and above does?

Thanks in advance :)

a single ssp ID won’t move the display ID forward like sp IDs do.

This is my understanding… someone will correct me if I’m wrong. Back when there weren’t a lot of identifiers in iNat, display ID used to be the same as CID, and it was argued that a single leading species ID advancement on a genus level ID should advance the display ID, but leave the CID at genus and Needs ID status. Because ssp IDs are sometimes contentious, it was decided that they would not behave that way and would still require the two ssp IDs to advance the Display ID, so hence this little quirk with the leading finer ssp IDs

Oh! I see, it makes perfect sense, IDing subspecies can be tricky… However, wouldn’t it make more sense if the display ID changed to the species ID at least? Thanks for the clarification :)

not really (in context of why it was brought in, and again this is my interpretation)… the advancement of the display ID to species when making the single leading species ID on a genus CID is literally the one exception that was allowed for. To do it for other cases (such as leading ssp from genus) would be additional exceptions, and it was only that one exception that was catered for. I know there was discussion about the other cases afterward, I can’t recall what the outcome was.

and I’m probably recalling this somewhat incorrectly, so it might pay to wait for staff/devs to explain with more accuracy :)

Maybe have a look at this feature request:
https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/leading-subspecies-ids-should-change-the-obs-taxon-like-leading-ids-of-other-ranks/139
(I might be a bit out of the loop about the latest consensus, but personally I still go by the impression that iNat doesn’t like subspecies. Sad, but true.)

There we go… “hard to code” :)

If I remember correctly, the reason was to prevent a research-grade observation (with agreement on species) from appearing as a definitive subspecies ID if there is only a single identifier suggesting the subspecies.

Imagine you have a RG observation of a species (for example, the painted turtle Chrysemes picta) and somebody adds a subspecies ID (western painted turtle, C. picta bellii). If you allow subspecies IDs to change the observation ID (the “headline” of the observation) the same way as other taxonomic levels, you either have to remove RG from a perfectly good observation, with a non-controversial species ID, or keep RG and lend inappropriate weight to that single person’s subspecies ID. If they were wrong, and it’s either clearly a different subspecies, or it’s not possible to tell based on the observation, then that could be an issue.

(This is especially important because although research-grade depends on consensus in the community ID it is the observation ID of RG observations, rather than the community ID, that is shared with scientific partners like GBIF; under most circumstances these are the same, but there are a few cases where RG can be achieved for a community ID at a higher level than the observation taxon. I’m not sure why they don’t just share the community ID!)

Their solution, as far as I understand, is that subspecies IDs never change the observation ID unless they also match the community ID (that is, unless there is consensus at the level of subspecies), which works for solving that problem. Unfortunately, this also has the side-effect that adding a subspecies ID to a broadly-ID’d observation leaves it up in limbo at genus or higher until somebody else comes along and agrees.

The feature request above, to allow subspecies IDs to affect the observation ID as though they are species-level IDs until there is subspecies-level consensus, seems like a good one. But apparently that system would be difficult to implement.