Thanks for the response Allison,
As has been reiterated here several times, the initial status on iNat was to obscure based on rank, with changes made by curators. This is literally in the first paragraph in the curator guide under “Editing Taxon Geoprivacy Settings” .
Yes, the situation in February had in many cases more species being obscured than is the case now. But it’s not really the same situation at all. I think it’s pretty clear from this thread that most people felt that the existing statuses were pretty poor, but changes were mostly not being made due to the lack of a defined process and nobody feeling empowered to really make the final call. Generally, there was a lack of urgency, but these things are becoming increasingly urgent. iNat use is growing by an insane degree. 42% of Canadian observations have been made since the first post in this thread! 15% in the past month!!! Consultants, conservation authorities and non-profits are increasingly using the data for all kinds of useful conservation and outreach purposes. Obscured observations are totally useless in most cases.
It doesn’t really bother me much that a species for which no risks from open locations are present is being obscured because nobody is properly empowered to actually make that decision. Whatever, it will get fixed eventually. If anyone really cares, there are ways that they can make the change happen. What does bother me is when somebody is empowered to make that decision, and then not only doesn’t do so, but prevents other people from doing so. Really, the problem is not that Monarch is currently being obscured in Nova Scotia. The problem is that it will apparently be obscured long-term regardless of how idiotic that is.
Not sure if I’m quite getting my point across here. It’s the difference between “Species X is obscured because nobody has gotten around to fixing it yet” and “Species X is obscured because somebody has without justification decided that it will be obscured indefinitely and is unwilling to listen to any arguments to the contrary”. Those are two very, very different situations.
As an example, the Nova Scotia endangered species act notes:
13 (1) No person shall
(a) kill, injure, possess, disturb, take or interfere with or attempt to kill, injure, possess, disturb, take or interfere with an endangered or threatened species or any part or product thereof;
(b) possess for sale, offer for sale, sell, buy, trade or barter an endangered or threatened species or any part or product thereof;
(c) destroy, disturb or interfere with or attempt to destroy, disturb or interfere with the specific dwelling place or area occupied or habitually occupied by one or more individuals or populations of an endangered or threatened species, including the nest, nest shelter, hibernaculum or den of an endangered or threatened species;
(d) contravene any regulation made with respect to a core habitat; or
(e) contravene an order made pursuant to Section 18.
Nothing here indicates that it is illegal for a private citizen to provide information relating to the location of an endangered species. The CDC may have further obligations given their governmental status, but if those obligations are interfering with their ability to act in this role they should be recusing themselves and leaving the decision up to somebody else. Neither iNaturalist nor its users have any legal obligation whatsoever to obscure endangered species in Nova Scotia or any other province.
There is no reason there should be multiple methods. It is frustrating that Ontario made the bizarre decision not to make any changes proactively and to override all the existing statuses, but I feel confident that we will eventually get somewhere reasonable that is comparable to some other provinces. However, if Atlantic CDC is using different standards than other places, they are wrong. When deciding if something should have open locations on iNat, the decision should be based on the potential costs and benefits of that species being open on iNat. Anything else is irrelevant.
This is almost tautologically true. What British Columbia and Manitoba and Ontario are doing is acceptable. The risks to something like Monarch are no different across the country, there is zero reason different provinces should be treating it differently. Allison, I don’t think you are the one who can make that decision, but somebody needs to be able to tell a CDC that they have obligations and that they will lose their privilege of making geoprivacy decisions if they refuse to even attempt to meet the responsibilities that come along with that. Reading between the lines I suspect you agree with me to some extent there.
Why do the CDC think they’ve been brought in? Just to gesture dumbly at the list of endangered species? If they refuse to actually use their expertise, then there is no reason for them to be involved in the process.
[edit: There was some text here about species in the area being open that should really be obscured. But a bunch of species that are not legally listed species ARE actually obscured in the Atlantic provinces (e.g. Showy Lady’s Slipper). Not sure if whoever is responding to requests is even aware of this?]
What recourse will be taken against a CDC that is flat-out refusing to participate in the process? I am really, really tired of posting in this thread, but I’m not going to let the CDCs just cripple the use of iNat for actual data because they can’t bother to put any actual thought into their decisions.
That’s understandable. The appropriate response in these cases is to either indicate that there will be substantial delays in getting to the request, or to just not make a decision and leave it up to the community. Otherwise, going forward, if I receive such a response that makes literally no attempt to identify potential risks from open locations, I am going to treat it as a lack of a response and unobscure that species after consulting with people here or elsewhere to ensure that there is no actual risk.
edit: edited to improve tone. I am finding it increasingly hard to communicate constructively in this topic.