Though a taxon split is the preferred method, what you describe can be an option in cases where very few observations are affected. (I’m in the middle of a similar situation at the moment…) You just have to be willing to personally follow up on the observations that need manual re-identification.
So in a case like this, identifications on observations outside Australia (or the parts of Australia where the two genera do not overlap) would be unaffected by a taxon split (if properly atlased first) if in exclusive Araneus range, or changed to the new genus if within its exclusive range.
Within the areas of overlap, only the images to which an identification of “Araneus” (at genus rank only) has been attached would be affected, and only to the extent of changing that one identification to family rank. It would not affect any other identifications attached to that same observation. The system would then re-calculate the community ID based on all of the identifications attached to a particular observation. If there are enough agreeing species IDs on the same observation, it’s possible that the updated genus => family ID would have no effect on the overall community ID for that observation.
That said, if there are only a few images (=observations) in iNat that belong to the new genus, and to which “Araneus” identifications are currently attached, and you have the time to find those and add your own identification (of the new genus) and explanatory comments to each one, then a formal taxon split might not be necessary. (Disclaimer - that’s the personal opinion of this curator, and not necessarily endorsed by other curators or iNat staff, who might still recommend a formal taxon split regardless.)
It helps to remember that taxon splits:
only affect individual identifications on an observation, and not necessarily the overall community ID of that observation, and
only affect identifications of the specific taxon and rank being split, and not of lower-level taxa that descend from from that taxon (which should then be moved to their correct new ancestors using separate taxon-change actions).
Some of the “taxa with unknown relationships” are the result of a spelling discrepancy with the source material and WSC. I do not know if they are the result of WSC deliberately changing the names or if they are typos. I emailed them about one but haven’t heard back. Should the names be changed to fit what is on WSC or is it OK to add a relationship linking it to the right page on WSC with a note about the discrepancy?
Unfortunately spelling changes usually require taxon changes in iNaturalist. For that reason it is definitely worth researching spelling discrepancies thoroughly first. At least with plants, the International Code of Nomenclature has rules for correct spelling that can sometimes be tricky to interpret correctly. So, best to be doubly sure that you know what the correct spelling should be before committing a taxon change for it, so that another taxon change is not needed later to change it back.
Thanks, I hadn’t had a chance to try that out yet, good to know.
I emailed them directly about one and never heard back. Also asked in a big Arachnology facebook group, got a few “likes” but no answers.
So far none of the changes I’ve made listed any disagreements.
Is atlasing a group easier than it looks? At first I thought I’d just be able to check off countries, states, and other regions … importing handmade maps looks like a lot of work though? I have more reading up to do.