Plans for 2019 Clements bird taxonomy updates

We are days away from the 2019 Clements update being released. Significant numbers of the changes from the 2018 update remain unprocessed and in draft mode.

What plans are in place to deal with the 2019 update, and what steps can curators take to help since birds are locked to changes by only 2 people on the site ?

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It is my understanding that the rest of us can still make changes, only that they remain in draft mode until applied, right?

Yes and no, some changes can be made in draft mode, but for instance you can’t create a new taxa if needed, since that is locked as well.

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You should be able to make new taxa, you just can’t activate them.

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There seems to be a reoccurring impression among some curators that branches on the tree are completely un-editable if they are ‘complete’/‘Frameworked’. This is l untrue - as @bouteloua and @cmcheatle describe above, most curators can still edit quite a bit.

We need better means of explicitly making it apparent that having a Framework does not mean that part of the tree is ‘locked down’.

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Well, the issue is that while some edits can be made by normal curators, the ones that matter cannot.

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Or if they do matter – in terms of helping the taxon curators with “background” work for needed taxon changes – then that should be made much clearer to the curator community, maybe with a specific list of helpful tasks for “locked” taxa in the Ways to Help Out wiki topic.

Counting myself among those curators - I think I’ve gotten that impression from some of the message wording associated with actions on those taxa. So yes, whatever we can do to make it more apparent what kinds of help other curators can contribute to locked taxa would be a win-win.

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Pretty much everything that can be done by regular curators has now been done for the 2018 changes - creating new taxa, drafting taxon changes, atlasing new taxa. Not all new taxa have range maps yet, though I’ve added some of these where IUCN has the post-split ranges. As noted above, the delay has been in committing the draft taxon changes - there are currently 150+ draft changes for birds waiting to be committed. It does seem that an additional taxon curator for birds would be useful.

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…to help spread the workload

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Ebird is turning on the changes on August 7th. The list has not been officially released yet, maybe that is the timing. Apparently it is a larger than normal update, with 100 plus splits being done alone, with a main focus outside Europe and NA

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Just out of curiosity, do they normally include a list of changes?

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Yes, that is what they do.

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I dont know when the actual file will be released on the Clements reference page, but if anyone wants to get started, or see what the changes are :

https://ebird.org/news/2019-ebird-taxonomy-update

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@loarie @maxkirsch would it be useful for other curators to help draft changes for this year?

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