Remove all curators and start from scratch

The list of curators who have done no or almost no curating is very long. This is a large amount of people who have access to abilities like changing geoprivacy settings, deleting comments, creating taxa, and suspending other users. I would propose:

:heavy_check_mark: Allow only site staff to grant/remove curator status (implemented January 2021)

:heavy_check_mark: Require prospective curators to fill out a short form and agree to abide by curator guide and community guidelines, be approved by site staff based on familiarity with iNat, expertise, other factors at the staff’s discretion (implemented January 2021)

:radio_button: Send all users granted curatorship prior to January 2021 a message requesting they go through the same process

:radio_button: After x amount of time, remove all curators who have not yet gone through the new process (and send them a message saying their curatorship has been removed referencing the prior message and new process for becoming a curator)

Great idea. Curators have a lot of power and it always makes me nervous that we have so many. It would be great to start over and also make it more clear what people are curating (content VS taxonomy vs behavior vs helping newbies etc). Maybe also more visibility at a glance that someone is a curator


I generally support, I would however in order to ensure there does not become an immediate bottleneck on curation tasks say that the iNat staff / Admins be able to retain individuals they clearly feel meet the criteria above and have clearly demonstrated an ability to act as responsible curators.


7 posts were split to a new topic: Figuring out how edits to posts here work

Gee, I really hope you’ll call me back up …
In order to have less of the fall-off-a-cliff lack of curators problem, how about we send a message (email, site notify, and orange bubble on their profile page) “Current Curators will loose that status on May 1st (you pick a date) unless you agree to the Enhanced Curator Agreement before that time” (the ECA being Cassi’s second bullet point).

Additionally, perhaps elevation to curator status should be by peer acclaim, wherein a regular user clicks “Apply to be a Curator” on their profile page, and that raises a special flag ( where if 5 net positive “yes” votes are achieved (or 6 yes 1 no…) then they become curator? It might take a few weeks for them to get votes, but then at least the group elevated them, and not one person.


If i am reading it right, i don’t think the goal is to purge active curators, just to purge inactive ones then have a check in on exactly what curators are supposed to be doing. There are so many different curator duties (taxonomy, dealing with spam, dealing with inappropriate content, dealing with bugs, helping newbies, etc) that it gets really confusing. And there are some great taxonomists who aren’t great conflict resolvers (or vice versa). I also wish taxonomic curators and community curators were split out though that’s probably a different feature request.


As a someone who was made a curator way back but never actually participates in iNat curatorial activities, I’m all for this idea. I think it’s generally better to give extended permissions only to those who actively use them. The idea of sending out an email requesting an action per the suggestion of @lincolndurey appeals to me more than culling the herd without giving them a chance to remain active first.


Makes sense to me. I reversed some steps in the proposal — message, then “cull” ;)

Wondering if this trial forum will be turning into a pumpkin soon tho…

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yeah i am hoping they can transfer these posts over at least

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Just an update: as of last week, 26 site curators had not been active on iNat for the last 6 months. I’m gonna see if we can get hard stats on who’s done “curatorial” action in the last 3 or so. I’m all for allowing only staff to grant curator status as well, although that’ll make me a bit busier.


I think it otherwise turns into the zombie apocalypse where if every zombie just bites a few people, eventually everyone is a zombie, but with curators :)


Note that some of the things that only curators can do are not visible in the little summary on . For instance, I recently asked to become a curator so I could fix some issues with common names (misspellings, improper capitalization, etc.). I did those things (and intend to do more in the future), but the little summary on that page just says " 0 taxa curated, 0 taxon changes added, 0 flags resolved".

I am not objecting to the proposal here, just pointing out that there is more to curation than the summary on the People page shows.


I would be fine with this suggestion. I am one of the inactive curators. I asked for curator status because I thought I could use it, but I found it so confusing I was intimidated to try, other than adding common names and default photo suggestions (if those are curator functions). I did read the curator guidelines several times but I never got the hang of it. I would try again if there was some kind of tutorial or something.


Interesting idea, though I share the fear that there would be a huge curation bottleneck if this were to happen. We’d have to make sure that staff have the capacity to handle what could be a slough of curator “applications” in a short amount of time.


Hopefully currently active curators would just be kept as-is after agreeing to the curator guidelines (though maybe divided into different task areas and/or levels, if that suggestion is accepted), and only the “inactive” curators would need to reapply.

Any user can perform those functions. They just can’t edit common names added by others, or change system default common names.


I thought only curators could change the default photo, once there is a default photo in place. I might be misremembering though, and I don’t know how to test my theory.

Unless it’s changed recently, I was able to change default photos before becoming a curator.


@janetwright if you want you can remove curator status from yourself by going to your profile page and clicking on Admin Tools:

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Just an update here, I’m working on a spec for splitting the duties of a curator into curator and moderator (with taxonomic and community responsibilities, respectively - and one could have both). I believe that’s been brought up several times in the past. And I’m also toying with the idea of some sort of application form that could be standardized.


As a fairly longtime curator, this seems reasonable to me. I would add that while the taxon reference frameworks have given me a whole new tangle to get enmeshed in, the increasing locking-up of parts of the taxonomic tree into curated frameworks means that I can’t actually fix a lot of the ungrafted taxa as they accumulate at the curation page.