Taxon specific projects that include observations of the wrong taxa

I recently came across some oddities that I wasn’t sure how to correct, which led me to some even more bizarre observations that seem to have been included in lots of the “wrong” projects. This will be easier to explain using examples. Check out the Southern California Squirrel Survey. I was confused because it says there are 27 species in the project, but many of the species are not squirrels.

This led me to other observations that have been included in a bunch of projects where they don’t belong.

How do these and other erroneous observations get removed from these projects? I haven’t been able to figure out how to do this.

I’ve seen that before on projects where project terms & rules didn’t limit the taxons or map area (e.g. Arachnids of Texas: I’m guessing they didn’t limit taxon so people could add observations where the arachnid is in the background, but I don’t know why the area is also open).

The squirrel project you linked does have those terms & rules, but I wonder if maybe those observations were added before the rules were present.

It also happens when people put wrong or joke identifications into a record and it is an old project where the auto aggregator is still turned on. When the ID is corrected, it does not lead to a cascading removal from the project.

Unfortunately only the project administrator can then remove them


Looking at some of those, it’s possible that an overly enthusiastic participant has been adding observations to projects in an overly zealous way. @tiwane might be able to see if it’s a specific user that is doing it, and determine if it is something that needs further investigation/action.

It really is hard to imagine seeweed being relevant to a project on lepidoptera! I will say though, that the one for the squirrel survey could be fine. I recently created a project to cover a survey we did of a beach dune for a specific spider species, and included observations of other taxa at that location that were either relevant to the target species (predator/prey/host/habitat), or even just of environmental interest in terms of the dunes generally. It (the survey) can be about “what is living here that affects the surveyed species”!


Hmm, definitely odd. I reached out to mordena about the SCSS project’s rules history, and I also asked bjdion about project additions. We’ll take a look behind the scenes as well.

As an aside, I had a chance to interview Miguel a few years ago about the squirrel survey. He’s a great biologist and is awesome at outreach too.

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