Updates to conservation statuses in progress in Canada

Thanks you Carrie and Allison, this looks great.

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Curator guides on .org and .ca are now updated with the new process. Updated French translation is still needed for the .ca curator guide (FYI @jpage_cwf).


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One more point. Is the expectation that someone will be checking this thread occasionally, or that any more general questions/comments should also sent through email? Either is fine, but I think it needs to be clear.

I doubt there will be many more such comments as long as this new process is followed.

Hi Reuven, I will try to check the forum at least once a week. However if there is an urgent issue and I haven’t seen it yet, please don’t hesitate to email me.


I try to check the forum every day but do not always have time to respond thoroughly and quickly. Like Allison, if something needs to be brought to my more urgent attention for some reason, please email me.

Looks like there was an error during import of these Canadian NatureServe statuses; I’ve seen several of these missing en.places_names:


@bouteloua what species was that from? I wonder if this happened from changes to places. Please send a few taxa affected by this error so I can investigate.

@bouteloua and I corresponded via direct message about this. In short, at some point in the past, I suspect a duplicate place for Quebec was merged or deleted, so there were some orphaned conservation statuses unassociated with places in iNat. Most of these were made redundant by more statuses for Quebec, but I corrected a couple of gaps (which were just for S4/S5 statuses so nothing is being obscured by these anyways). The issue cassi found was unrelated to the other updates.

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In the case of geoprivacy, which has 3 modes (open, obscured, private), what does this mean?

Curators must ultimately follow the recommendation from the CDC and are invited to discuss any concerns with the iNaturalist community in order to promote a broader discussion and identify alternative solutions that are agreeable to all parties.

Not sure I understand the question. Can you elaborate? Is your concern that private taxon geoprivacy is not an option agreeable to all parties?

No, I mean if the community disagrees a taxon should be obscured or private, and the org believes it should be, how can an alternative solution that is agreeable to all parties be identified?

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Maybe I have misread the documentation, but it is my understanding that so long as it is communicated then the decision of the organization is final and binding.

well, maybe we need to clarify that. I don’t think that’s a good solution; that being said it seems like the plants in Ontario are finally getting straightened out. But, it would be etter not to have to go through this again and again in different places. I think the agency should only be able to ‘demand’ obscuring if they can justify that there is a reasonable risk. Set the bar low, but it should exist. Things shouldn’t be obscured just because their range only has a small area of overlap with a state or provence.

I’m not really sure what is unclear about it. Straight from the curator’s guide 'Curators must ultimately follow the recommendation from the CDC '.

Yes, I’d agree 100% it would be nice to have a decision making model that everyone agrees on, but in the end, it’s clearly not a democracy. The CDC decides, period.

i think you’re missing my point now. That’s a policy in the curator’s guide. It isn’t a law of physics. The iNat admins are very reasonable, if overworked, and there’s no reason to believe they won’t be willing to adjust the policy if we can demonstrate the current one isn’t working. No it isn’t a democracy, but the agreement between iNat and NHI is a voluntary one on both sides and the policy can change. (for what it’s worth, i think it’s a very good thing to have the partnership overall, we just have to figure out this issue).

In my mind what needs to be resolved is whether NHI is supposed to be able to just randomly decide to obscure stuff for political or other reasons, or whether there needs to be evidence (again, low bar evidence) of a potential threat to the species (at least in the case of globally common plants). And, in the end, we were able to work out with Ontario NHI that the species that had no conceivable risk from sharing location would not be obscured. It was just a long and laborious process and I want to make sure some other group doesn’t just decide to ask for everything to be obscured just because they don’t feel like dealing with it.

I dont dispute that the iNat management can choose to change or revoke the agreement with NatureServe. But unless or until that is done, with what is currently in place, I don’t see any lack of clarity on what the role and requirements are of curators and iNat users in the community.

right, but i am not breaking the rule, i am describing how it should be fixed.

The text that was bolded is what is not clear.

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I see @bouteloua’s point that as written it is inconsistent. I think due to the elaboration of the process/steps in the last revision to the guide, the final clause is redundant/contradictory/confusing. I will change the curator guides (.org and .ca) to this:

[…] Curators must ultimately follow the recommendation from the CDC. and are invited to discuss any concerns with the iNaturalist community in order to promote a broader discussion and identify alternative solutions that are agreeable to all parties.

I suggest that we re-examine this process in 2020 to see how the iNat community, CDCs, NatureServe Canada, and iNaturalist Canada are feeling about it then.

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Thanks. That is, at least, clearer. :)

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