Change how subgenera are displayed?

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Tim. Reichard

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Nov 14, 2017, 11:15:44 AM11/14/17
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Throughout the iNat web site, could subgenera be displayed in the format "Bombus (Megabombus)" instead of "Subgenus Megabombus"? 

And do that without changing the way of entering the bare subgenus when creating a new taxon?

E.g., if Subgenus Megabombus (child of Genus Bombus) needed to be added as a new taxon, one would enter "Megabombus" as the taxon name, assign it to parent "Genus Bombus", and it would display as "Bombus (Megabombus)".

Tim

tony rebelo

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Nov 15, 2017, 3:04:24 AM11/15/17
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I disagree.  The subgenus name is not a taxonomic name on its own:  it can only exist in combination with its generic name.  Just like a species name comprises Genus + specific epithet - the specific epithet is not a valid taxonomic name on its own.

But the bottom line is how the system displays the name.   If the system merely displays the name, then it would only display as (Megabombus) - coding it to display genus and subggenus may be more difficult than just coding it as Genus+subgenus.  This can be more complicated in plants with subgenera, series and subseries as subgeneric levels of classification. 

bouteloua

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Nov 27, 2017, 9:34:16 AM11/27/17
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On some areas of the website, it just says the name of the subgenus, and on other areas, says "Subgenus XXX." 

My preference would be that it would display as Tim mentioned, e.g. "Bombus (Pyrobombus)", but at the least, can we make it say "Subgenus Pyrobombus" instead of just "Pyrobombus" ?

cassi
subgenusdisplayinat.png

tony rebelo

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Nov 28, 2017, 2:34:00 AM11/28/17
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Surely we should just request curators when adding subgenera to include the genus.  So instead of entering "Pyrobombus" they enter "Bombus (Pyrobombus)".
Would that not solve all the problems (explicit, obvious, require no code changes) as well as being technically correct (the subgenus name is not valid on its own, only with its genus)?
if so, no further changes needed ...

tony rebelo

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Nov 28, 2017, 2:36:51 AM11/28/17
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On Tuesday, 28 November 2017 09:34:00 UTC+2, tony rebelo wrote:
Surely we should just request curators when adding subgenera to include the genus.  So instead of entering "Pyrobombus" they enter "Bombus (Pyrobombus)".
Would that not solve all the problems (explicit, obvious, require no code changes) as well as being technically correct (the subgenus name is not valid on its own, only with its genus)?
if so, no further changes needed ...

PS: Similarly for sections and subsections:  It would be "Gladiolus (Densiflorus) (Calcaratus)" - and not just  Calcaratus

Donald Hobern

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Nov 28, 2017, 5:27:17 AM11/28/17
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If the subgenus is added correctly, it will be as a child of a genus, in which case a code change is the most natural way to add the formatting.  Making it part of the entered taxon name for the subgenus will cause confusion elsewhere in the data management.  Here is one of mine that surprised me the other day by gaining the name "Metallina", which turned out to be a subgenus of Bembidion - the species identification has now stabilised: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/3358894.  Clearly iNaturalist knew that Metallina was a subgenus within Bembidion and displaying "Bembidion (Metallina)" should not be too hard.

Donald

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Tim. Reichard

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Nov 28, 2017, 10:06:59 AM11/28/17
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I considered the burden on the taxonomy curators when I made this feature request. That's why I proposed to change only how subgenera are displayed and to leave how subgenera are entered as-is. Subgenera are near the bottom of the taxonomic tree where taxa are exponentially more numerous than higher up, and assigning even more species to subgenera is an enormous task, sometimes hours of work for a single genus. While entering the genus a second time when creating a subgenus taxon is a small amount of work, doing it for many subgenera is an unnecessarily bigger task.  And for the same reason, I want to avoid any chance that taxon searches for subgeneric parents of large numbers of species would require having to construct the whole "Genus (Subgenus)" format manually for every genus-parented species being assigned to a subgenus, which is several times more tedious than just searching for the bare subgenus (at least for non-nominate subgenera). 

Finally, we were already instructed to enter subgeneric taxa with the bare subgenus name as the taxon name, so numerous subgenera are already entered this way. Changing the entered format would require a lot of work by curators to taxon-swap every single one to the new format, one at a time.  Of course, if a site developer would want to do that in a bulk-action way, it may be a lot simpler and faster to spend that developer time instead changing the displayed format with no other changes.

Tim


tony rebelo

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Dec 5, 2017, 4:53:29 AM12/5/17
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On the other hand it will probably (I stand under correction) be far easier to edit subgenera, sections and subsections (as per the plant code) than to write code to deal with all of these options in all the different places that these need to be displayed.  So long as the programmers have taken that into account when the guidelines were written then it is best to stick to the guidelines provided by the programmers.

However, try enter Bombus as a species ID for any observation:  - the subgenus is there as "(Bombus)".  that is wrong - the subgenus must be "Bombus (Bombus)".  presented on its own is incorrect.  Clearly a LOT of programming will be needed to get this to work properly (three perhaps four fields between Genus and Species) - so perhaps it is time to review the guidelines?  Novices will not differentiate between "Bombus" and "(Bombus)" - that is too obtuse for most users, but "Bombus (Bombus)" is unambiguous.
Spare a thought for a user presented with Gladiolus (genus),  Gladiolus (subgenus), Gladiolus (section): what on earth does that mean?  (fortunately, there is not a Gladiolus (genus) - invertebrate as well.)

tony rebelo

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Dec 21, 2017, 4:45:32 AM12/21/17
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Just bumped into https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/50702-Cypraea

Subgenera are listed (but formatless, as recomended) but it is impossible to work out what is going on: 

Now it turns out that both of these subgenera are empty: in fact, none of the subgenera have children.


Worms does not list this subgenus for Cypraea (http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=205978&sortby=alpha) (nor is there a species by this name)

Similarly "Cypraea (Erosaria)"   has been elevated to full Generic status (http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=137876)

Surely then, both these should be syonymized and shown in strikethrough.

However, it is the lack of formatting that is most confusing.
Firstly, the compiler did added the generic name (against the recommendations, but which I approve), but then they did not capitalize the subgeneric name and they did not include it in parenthesis.
If a formatting solution is found, it will create the names

Subgenus (Cypraea blasicrura)
Subgenus (Cypraea erosaria)

which is equally wrong and even more confusing. 

I would strongly like to punt for a slow edit of all subgenera to the format "Genus (Subgenus)".   It requires no programming (and similarly no extra programming for "Section", "Subsection", "Series" or "Subseries", and nor is it confounded by a series or section sometimes being below a subgenus (or section or series), and sometimes not.

For multiple levels the coding could be:
Subgenus Gladiolus (Gladiolus)
Section Gladiolus (Gladiolus) (Gladiolus)
Series Gladiolus (Gladiolus) (Gladiolus) (Gladiolus)  or where there is no section: Series Gladiolus (Gladiolus) (Gladiolus)

(Note that the species name does NOT include the subgeneric names, but is just the Genus + specific (and subspecific) epithet.

In the above case, what should I do?  Flag this for attention by the curators?  Ignore it?  (no matter what decision is made about subgenera, this needs attention).

For completeness (in case someone wants to curate): 

On Tuesday, 14 November 2017 18:15:44 UTC+2, Tim. Reichard wrote:

bouteloua

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Dec 21, 2017, 11:31:56 AM12/21/17
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"I would strongly like to punt for a slow edit of all subgenera to the format "Genus (Subgenus)". It requires no programming "
In the current system, names are forced to Sentence case, so even though I entered "Antonia (Rebela)," it displays as "Subgenus Antonia (rebela)"


"In the above case, what should I do? Flag this for attention by the curators? "
Yes, please.

"Ignore it?"
Depends on how much ignoring it bugs you.
subgenus-test.png

Patrick Alexander

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Dec 21, 2017, 5:41:14 PM12/21/17
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Regarding formatting of infrageneric names in plants, see ICNafp Article 21: http://www.iapt-taxon.org/nomen/main.php?page=art21

Some examples taken from Art. 21: Costus subg. Metacostus; Ricinocarpos sect. Anomodiscus.

Writing out the rank in full ("Costus subgenus Metacostus") is a little unusual. There is a little variation in what abbreviation is used; I'm noticing IPNI uses "subgen." rather than "subg.". Omitting the genus is common practice when it's obvious from context what genus you're talking about; for instance, in a work about the genus Costus, it would be perfectly ordinary for the author to just write "subgenus Metacostus" after the first instance. Other than those bits of wiggle room, we really shouldn't deviate from the form "Costus subg. Metacostus" where ICNafp applies.

These are all just plain wrong:
Costus (Metacostus)
subgenus Costus metacostus
subgenus (Costus metacostus)
subgenus Costus (Metacostus)
Subgenus Costus (Metacostus)
Subgenus Costus (metacostus)

Series Gladiolus (Gladiolus) (Gladiolus) (Gladiolus)
Gladiolus (genus), Gladiolus (subgenus), Gladiolus (section)

Those are also, to me at least, kind of hard to parse. They look like nomenclatural word salad.

There is not going to be a uniform solution that works under ICZN and ICNafp. The possibilities mentioned in this thread are all more or less wrong and confusing relative to one or both codes. A long-term fix would be to have different formatting by code, along the lines of "Costus (Metacostus)" for ICZN and "Costus subg. Metacostus" for ICNafp. I don't think it would matter in any practical sense whether the name is stored in the iNaturalist backend as, e.g., "Costus subg. Metacostus" or just as "Metacostus" with a rank marker and appropriate rules for formation of the name in full when displayed. Short of that kind of real fix, trying to impose a single kludge across taxa seems like a bad idea. First, I'm not sure it makes sense to put a lot of effort into "fixing" content within a database that won't allow the content to actually be fixed. Fix the database, then fix the content. Second, consistency across taxa is really not what we want. If we go with an ICZN-like kludge, the animal taxonomy presumably becomes somewhat less wrong (but, well, still wrong), but we'd be putting time and effort into making the plant taxonomy worse; and similarly for an ICNafp-like kludge.

My suggestion is: if it's a problem in particular cases, change the infrageneric names in a way that is likely to make sense to users of that taxon. For plants, I think names of the form "subgenus Metacostus" are probably the least-worst of the options currently available in iNaturalist. For animals, I don't really know but from the above discussion it sounds like "subgenus Costus (metacostus)" might be the least-worst.

Regards,
Patrick

James Bailey

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Jan 16, 2018, 5:15:33 PM1/16/18
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Following from my thread, the subgenus name on its own is practically as useless as having a species name with no genus attached. Genus (Subgenus) may not be "correct", but this is the default form in most American publications, such as BugGuide, who display subgenus headings.
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