Question about taxonomy changes

A couple of years ago, I had ID’d this observation ( as genus Mustela, thinking it was either a Long-tailed or Short-tailed Weasel, which were both in that genus at the time. Since then, Long-tailed Weasel has been moved to a different genus (

My ID of Mustela remains the same, but it no longer means what it did two years ago. Should the taxonomy change have automatically fixed this (i.e. moved my ID up to the next common parent), or is that left up to individual users to find and correct these?


I started a flag to discuss here:


This is an interesting idea (figuring out the new most recent common ancestor in the revised phylogeny and moving IDs). I think it would be pretty difficult to implement, but not impossible.

However, I think that a major problem with this would be that the “system” doesn’t necessarily know what users were thinking when they made an ID and why. All the different scenarios would have to be carefully thought out. For instance, how would IDs change (if at all) for non-RG observations (where the “correct” taxon is not “known”)? Would explicitly disagreeing IDs be handled differently from agreeing at a higher taxon (as in the example)? We already have issues where disagreements sometimes don’t seem to make sense in the ID thread when there are changes.

I think the biggest issue, however, is changing a user’s ID input automatically (without their input). This is a pretty big change, and I think might upset a lot of people (seeing the ID and saying “I didn’t do that!”). In the case of a one-for-one taxon swap/split, it can be pretty straightforward so I don’t think that there is an issue. This is already done when a species name changes for instance (and some people do disagree if they don’t like the new name/disagree with the taxonomy). But for these more complex situations, it could lead to additional confusion.

My personal guess is that it is best left to individual users. However, I’d be interested to know how large of a problem this is. If it’s only a small proportion of observations, the individual approach may work well enough. But if this is a widespread issue leading to IDs that don’t make sense, it might be worth the time to figure out an implementation.

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I have an obs in my mavericks.
Our Plectranthus was changed to Coleus. Flagged the 2 who had ‘Plectranthus’ IDs but I am still the maverick, with the new correct name.
The automatic taxon swops are okay once you are used to - but but - I, never changed that.
We should be formally notified by iNat. I would have presumed this worked seamlessly, but it doesn’t.
One for one swops work. Anything more complicated slides into I haz a confuz

Splitting the genus taxon into a sensu stricto version and the “new” genus is pretty standard and helps resolve these confusing old IDs.

I’ll close this discussion so we can focus the conversation in one place. Thanks!