Remove all curators and start from scratch

if we were to redo curation, we should probably also find more people who can be curators for certain locked groups, to help out with that load. If there were a way to vet or regulate it, that would work, but i get why they lock changes when 100s of people can do it.

I myself am not a taxonomist, when i started out i did some taxonomy work because it was 2011 and literally less than 5000 accounts existed, but now i am way outclassed in the taxonomy department. I’m more a curator to try to help resolve other issues when i can. And to clean up common names, etc, but even that i haven’t done in a long time.


Managing common names and junior synonyms is an important part of iNaturalist curation, imo, and I really wish it was reflected on the People page.


I’m a very hands-on learner, so I understand the feeling.

Maybe there should be some sort of system in place where users interested in curation could play around with curation tools (Taxon Changes, Frameworks, Flags, etc.) without actually affecting the site, like a more public static-version of iNaturalist. When I first became a curator I actually did a lot of stuff with Non-avian Dinosaurs. I wanted to play around/familiarize myself with Taxon Changes and I knew that if I made some sort of mistake on this corner of the tree it would not affect any important observation data.


Definitely. I used to do a lot of work cleaning up ungrafted taxa, but now I’ve almost given up. It seems like large portions of the tree (e.g., most of Animalia) are locked up so that only @loarie can fix them, and since he doesn’t have time for that, there’s a huge pile of ungrafted and flagged taxa sitting in limbo.


I think there is a circular issue going on here. Groups are only supposed to get locked when all species in the dedicated reference are in the database.

So to me a further question that needs review is why are people trying to add species in groups that are supposedly complete ? Are new things in the reference not getting added ? Is it an issue with synonyms ? Other ?

I tend to think it is more an issue with synonyms and an issue with what happens when you try to add as a a new record a name that is already a synonym, or the completeness of the entry of documented synonyms in the database.


2 posts were split to a new topic: Curating locked taxa

Agreed. I wouldn’t mind seeing “place curation” represented too.


Principle of least privilege is a pretty common IT security thing, and would seem to reasonably apply here as well.


Like a beta test environment, or a dev instance?

1 Like

Is there a feature request about separating these two?
If not I might make one.

However, it might be true that taxonomic curators will need to be also good at resolving conflicts anyway, because often there are conflicts between different taxonomy…

Well, that would definitely involve purging curators if so, because i don’t think most of the taxonomic curators are very good at this, nor am i. Really if there is conflict you’d just also need a moderator who isn’t nevessarily a taxonomist but has those skills. I honestly see this issue as one of the most problematic for iNat, i see it causing all kinds of problems all around, with people put in moderator positions where they shouldn’t be, and others denied ability to help with taxonomy because they aren’t well suited to be moderators. And there’s also a very significant power discrepancy when you give one contingent moderator powers.


Perhaps if both curator and moderator were possible and available to apply for, one application form would still only be needed, but you could specify if you don’t one of them in the application. I haven’t seen the application yet, so if this isn’t possible forgive me. (Although, I might end up applying soon because the amount of flags I’ve added are going up and Latrodectus my main group of study is undergoing a taxon reform :sweat_smile:)

1 Like

As someone who applied in fall of 23 the form has a section that says “if you would like to edit taxonomy, fill this out” and another that says “if you would like to moderate fill this out” I filled out both and was granted curatorship


Oh so they both are already a thing! Good to know.

No, there are no “separate magisteria” (yet). The application just asks about both because both are available to curators. Curators are not required to be interested in doing both.

1 Like

Curator is one set of privileges, there is no separate moderator power, a curator can curate taxa and moderate, but the application form asks about taxonomy and moderation separatly


Thank you for elaborating!

Ok, based on my new understanding what I think would be appropriate would be not to remove that, but also allow you to specify if you wouldn’t like one or the other.

1 Like

If implemented I would hope that the requirement for current curators to go through the “modern” (post Jan 2021) application process in order to remain a curator would not be applied to curators who were granted curatorship post Jan 2021, since they have already been through the current application process.


That sounds very reasonable. I think that everyone should have to go through the same process to become a curator.

1 Like