Problems understanding a Community Taxon

I’m wondering if somebody could please kindly explain how the Community Taxon operates with this observation ?

The subspecies hasn’t been properly curated. It’s currently a child of the Life node rather than Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae:

This throws the Community Taxon calculation out of whack and results in what you see on the page:

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I still don’t get it. There are more identifications for Chroicocephalus scopulinus than for Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae, so why is the species with fewer identifications considered the correct one, and the one that has more identifications is considered the maverick?

Also, the thing about there being only two bird curators who can’t get to these species changes is never explained. Why are there only two? It seems like there are plenty of birders on the site.

It’s because the subspecies taxon is orphaned and not properly placed in the taxonomy. It looks like it’s being treated as equivalent to “Life” in the About page.

So it was intentionally attached to "Life"on the taxon page in order to get an edge over Chroicocephalus scopulinus to get Research Grade despite having fewer IDs?

I can’t see the ‘About’ as it shows an error message.
So if it’s attached below life then it would be a Kingdom wouldn’t it? The two conflicting IDs would be between one Kingdom and another so surely the majority Kingdom would become the ID? From then presumably it ought to become further refined as far down the levels as it can?
If it is equal to Life then wouldn’t Life, in this case, still have the majority of the IDs?

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I’m just glad I’m not the only one who is baffled by this.

I dont think it was likely intentionally attached to life to gain an edge or otherwise but rather the new subspecies was added, and since no one other than the 2 bird curators can edit it, it is stuck as an orphan.


I don’t get this either, but I do hope they get it properly grafted before committing the following taxon swap:

This is outside of the normal functionality for iNat, so no surprise that it’s behaving oddly. If this taxon is being treated as “equal” to Life, then the default would be to bump up to the next taxon uniting both taxa - that doesn’t exist in this case, and the result seems to be defaulting to the latter taxon.

Thank you everyone for the comments and explanations. :) I think I have a fair understanding now and it seems like this is not a common situation so presumably not one we’ll come across very often in future.
FYI @obscurus .

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I may be wrong, but what I think happened here is that someone was able to add the new taxon/scientific name, but not able to attach it to the taxonomic framework. I’m surprised the system would allow that to happen, but apparently it did. With the number of other changes pending as a result of the new Clements list, it would be good if that ability was closed off.

This little bird: has over a hundred observations while currently an ‘orphan’.
This frog: also seems to be in a similar situation.

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It happens all the time when people use the auto lookup tools to add species and it can’t determine where to link it, especially for shared species names, or locked taxa.

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I think it is due to the Taxon being locked, in which case the system should not allow the new species or subspecies

I disagree the system should not allow it. Even for locked taxa there are new or missing things that need to be added. The problem here is no one can fix it other than one person.

Having one taxa curator is counter-productive. As a further example, I am currently the only curator for a different group. There are no urgent things there, but I have been locked out of the site for 9 days now due to the Google login lockout. I have no idea if there are flags or messaged from folks getting increasingly angry at no response (until the site says logging via Google will no longer be accepted, I prefer to not create a dedicated login, I want the Google issue fixed and to continue to use that).

what is the reasoning behind having only one person who can do these updates, even though it is apparently impossible for one person to keep up? I’m sorry I keep asking these basic questions, but if people are going to make IDs on my observations before taxon changes have actually been made on iNat, I would like to understand this better, especially if it’s going to change my ID to “maverick.” I think this must be confusing to other people as well, who are not even on this forum

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I also would prefer my organisms to be identified with taxa that are not dominating orphans in draft form. It seems these observations are effectively ‘lost’ until the only one or two people in the world can include them do so.

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Have to agree that a few extra people authorised to make these changes would be good. There are hundreds of changes in the latest Clements list, and we’re already about 3 months into the next year. There’ll be another update next August and presumably every year after that. Sharing that load seems to make sense. Are there any plans along those lines @tiwane ?

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I generally deal with more community-related issues, @loarie is our main point person on taxonomy.