Dioctria's picture

Correcting spellings and adding latin names

Could I request that where a revision has been posted to add a latin name or correct a spelling mistake in a name, then at least some users agree with both the imperfect (but correct) and the complete revisions.

Whilst I fully support getting the completely correct identifications onto the system and promoting them as the most likely ID, I do feel sorry for new or inexperienced users when I see their correct ID receiving no credit because they made a typo in the name or didn't know how to find the latin name.

I have tended to provide the correction in a comment and ask the original poster to update it, but of course that might not happen and I won't always remember to check back. If a few of us could give credit for the correct but imperfect ID then I'd feel better about adding corrections myself. :-)



anonymous spotter's picture

Good point -

In my case, it's the way I was taught science (a long while back!): that once you start trying to be accurate about something (e.g. by adding a systematic name), then you should be scrupulous about getting it right. But you make a good case for encouraging the inexperienced.

Ray Turner's picture


It is something I do regularly because surly the new/inexperienced user has got it right (I’m assuming it’s just a Latin name missing here) just sans the Latin.


jccurd's picture

Completely Agree

I agree entirely, it seems at least unfair and frankly a little churlish to apply corrections as alternative ids when the original observer clearly knows what the organism is.

I posted a Blue Tit (merely because I was playing with a new digiscope) but my 20+ year old Collins Bird Guide had an old scientific name. It was still clearly a Blue Tit.

I do approve of your approach, putting suggested changes in as a comment giving the original observer a chance to learn, enhance and keep credit.

Masked Marvel's picture

I agree too!

I posted this on a closed thread somewhere else, but seems more appropriate here:

iSpot works at its best when all the scientific names are correct and therefore there is always going to be a temptation to correct incorrect names. I'm an "expert" in amphibians and reptiles, where there have been huge taxonomic changes in recent years (and still ongoing). As a consequence, there are a couple of iSpot "recommended" scientific names which have now been superseded (or in the case of one species, reverted back to an older name). The most popular ID guide for Europe still in print is also way out of date with at a guess, 25%+ of the names now changed and several more species described since its publication, which doesn't help.

As an expert I usually resist this temptation to amend the name, for the sake of not depriving an otherwise correct identification of credit and add it to the comments (which don't always get read...). But this means the observations don't link up, or are not as accurate as they could be. Or, someone else does change it.

I appreciate that identifications can't be edited, but maybe there could be some facility for administrators or experts to correct the name without affecting the original identifiers feedback?

Fenwickfield's picture


I get rather irritated by this as I have even had people putting a new ID on and all they have done is given an alternate common name,which would not really count anyway as I had the scientific one right(so I give up) this will always happen but lucky it is the minority.I always try if it is someone new and they have the id right but not added correctly to put it in comment's and hopefully they change it so I can agree.


anonymous spotter's picture

That is annoying -

as you say: but this whole issue is the proverbial can of worms. As noted in a previous forum topic, I do not usually check the systematic name when I agree to something, so if it has changed, is mis-spelt, or just fundamentally wrong, I am unlikely to spot this.
Common names can be a real problem too, of course. I had never heard the word "dunnock" until I was in my late twenties - they were Hedge Sparrows to me, although I did know they weren't related. I was taken to task on this site for using the latter name. Marsh Marigold has literally dozens of common names, though I suspect that there are jokers who, when asked what a plant is called locally, will simply invent a name!

Refugee's picture

Tricky one

I have had another related problem.
As can be seen there is both a moth and a tree here and there was only one option offered when i entered the common name. Perhaps this could be done by adding a check box that comes up when an insect name is found when the observation is in plants and so on. Then another common name could be used for a second attempt. In this example it would have been "Conker".
This may also help with observations that have been put in the wrong place right from the start too.