Taxa with subgenera etc need to be locked?

While reviewing flags, I saw a comment posted that taxa with subgenera etc must be set as locked so as any new species added are forced to be manually assigned by curators to the appropriate subgenera (or whatever the relevant level is).

I was unaware of this as a policy, can someone please point out to me where this policy is stated.

Does it also mean that we need to be going in and locking all the relevant taxa which do have these listed which will number in the hundreds, if not more likely thousands ?

A guess: There was an issue in the past – not sure if it remains – where an imported species would be automatically assigned to the nominate subgenus of its genus instead of to the genus if the nominate subgenus already existed. Many such automatic assignments are wrong because the species belongs to a different subgenus or is of incertae cedis at subgenus rank. If locking the nominate subgenus would prevent this action, it may be worth locking that subgenus.

1 Like

It’s not just a problem of grafting to the nominate subgenus (which is clearly wrong). It’s also a problem when it grafts to the genus (which isn’t really wrong, it’s just too coarse). If the subgenus it belongs to exists in the iNat taxonomy, then grafting to the genus can cause unintentional disagreements in IDs.

As an example, let’s says species Foo bat is in subgenus Bar, but in the iNat taxonomy it’s grafted directly to Foo instead of to Bar.
On an observation, one user adds an ID of subgenus Bar, while another user adds what they think is a more specific ID: Foo bat. Both users intend to agree that it’s in subgenus Bar, but the system registers a disagreement because the system thinks Foo bat is not in Bar.

To my knowledge, there is no written statement requiring the locking of genera that have subgenera. Rather, it’s a practice that has arisen from curators deciding that they would rather be flagged right away when a species is added that might need a subgenus instead of allowing it to incorrectly graft only to be discovered and corrected later down the line.

I don’t think manually locking all genera with subgenera is the best plan. Personally, I would do it for the genera that get a lot of imports (e.g. Camponotus), and then ask the devs to add a check to the importer that would automatically prevent a graft to genus if the genus has subgenera.

3 Likes

I have only used locking for multiple genera with the same name, which make automatic imports go to the first created taxon.

I know that genera like Megachile and Camponotus are locked because of their subgenera, but it does seem strange, why do we only lock some of them?