Make impossible the deletion of committed taxon changes

In the same way that it is impossible to delete a taxon with associated identifications or an associated taxonomic change, I am requesting that it be made impossible to delete a taxonomic change that has been committed.

Several times now, I have left a comment on a taxon change asking a question about it only to find later that someone has deleted it, presumably under the mistaken assumption that it will fix a mistake, or perhaps just in an attempt to hide it. This makes a change hard to reverse, since it can’t really be pointed out anymore, and difficult to keep track of, since there is no longer much record of it having happened. Additionally, I see no benefit to being able to do this sort of deletion since it only destroys information without conferring a benefit.

No longer allowing the deletion of committed taxonomic changes would maintain greater information about curatorial activity, and I believe would benefit the community.

Just to clarify, are you suggesting that a taxon that has been swapped/merged/split should no longer be open to further swaps/merges/splits etc? Sorry if it’s a dumb question, I just don’t understand what you mean by “delete”

Deleted in the sense that when you go to the page for the taxon change, it says there is nothing there (e.g., It is hard to give a concrete example, which is exactly the point I was trying to make above. The only evidence left of this swap, as far as I can tell, is the ID changes like here: This shows that the swap was indeed committed, and if you click the link, it goes to the same swap I cited above, but all you see is the search mole. The fact that the changed IDs remain also indicates it was not reverted then deleted, but was just deleted after it was committed.

I am not trying to say taxa that have undergone a change should not be changed again; I am saying the concrete evidence of any change should not be deletable.


Yeah, that seems reasonable. Keeping a history of changes makes sense


What do you mean by

? Could you give an example?

Curators cannot undo a mistaken taxon swap on their own; it just is not possible. The mechanism by which it is undone involves contacting site staff and having them revert it which removes the IDs created by the swap and reinstates previous IDs. The swap itself is reverted to a draft. I don’t really care if such a draft were deleted, though they are often good places to have a conversation about why it was reverted, and what needs doing. My issue is with committed, unreverted swaps being deleted.

For the second part of your comment, I think this is a separate issue best discussed elsewhere, as it isn’t directly related to this feature request.


Good call - I’m trying to think of an example situation where we’d want to be able to delete a committed change and coming up short… even a staff-reverted change can (should) always be clarified to say in the description that it was reverted.


Okay, this is what I thought you meant. It is precisely this page being deleted; you can see that the format of the link you supplied and that which I supplied which shows only the search mole are identical. Once deleted, it also no longer appears in the list of taxon changes; note that the most recent ID numbers for taxon swaps are near 100,000, but only ~30*3132~=94000 are visible when searching taxon changes. Similarly, once deleted there is no record of any comments on the taxon change, since it no longer exists.

Again, while this is a good idea, this is not relevant to the feature request and is best discussed elsewhere.


Yes, I understand that there is not much available information in the links I gave…which is entirely the point. It should not be possible to just delete that information. I can assure you that there is nothing left for search filters to find. Site staff might be able to see something on their end, but exchanges I have had in the past with them suggest this is not the case.

Thank you for your advice, but I am quite familiar with taxonomic changes; I have committed over 8000 of them, including some mistakes of my own that I had to go through the process of fixing. I know that this one and others I have commented on have been deleted. Though I can’t say confidently by whom or for what reason, the point I am trying to make here is that is shouldn’t be possible in the first place.


The remains of another two deleted swaps can be seen here: A swap of Lundia longa into Lundia cordata was committed two years ago (, And another swap in the opposite direction was committed six days ago ( Both were deleted.


This should be deployed next week.


OK, it should now be impossible to delete committed taxon changes.


I’m seeing a Delete button on uncommitted changes, but not on committed changes. So I think this one is solved and done. Thanks @kueda for the quick work on this one!