What determines what common name is displayed?

Recently I noticed that the display name for the common name of Protobothrops mucrosquamatus changed.

For a long time the display name showed Taiwanese habu, but now it reads brown-spotted pit viper

When I check the curation history I see that on the 27th of September this year brown-spotted pit viper was added/changed(?) as a name, but there is no indication of why this would change the display name.

So, if a species has several common names, equally commonly used, what triggers a change in the displayed common name?

(For the record I don’t particularly care that the name of this species was changed to this, but it is a trifle annoying when one has been in use for a long time and then it suddenly changes.)

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when the name order is moved around. You can move names up and down the hierarchy to prioritise the display of one over others

this name wasn’t added on the 27th, it was destroyed (it was an exact duplicate of the existing brown spotted pitviper in the system)




FWIW I made that change because the snake is found throughout much of Asia and not just Taiwan, so the English name that wasn’t specific to a place seemed more appropriate. There currently isn’t a way to explain one’s actions on the Manage Names page. I guess I could have made a flag to explain and then resolve it, but that seemed like a bit much for a relatively small change.


That could cause edit wars, as two people vie to have the name they know best be the default name.

you could say the same thing for other features, eg people vying for the default photo. That’s one of the reasons why we can see the taxon history now, allows conflicts such as these (which realistically are not common at all) to be more transparently addressed and better resolved. I see no reason to not allow the names to be shuffled around


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