[Taxacom] wikipedia & taxonomical authority

Roderic Page r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
Wed Jul 30 08:56:24 CDT 2008


Dear Chris,

Three things:

1. If the fly shown in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ 
Melangyna_viridiceps is, indeed, misidentified, then you could correct  
that entry. This is the power of a wiki.

2. I don't follow why you think that this Wikipedia page is the reason  
for the other misidentifications you have found. What evidence do you  
have of cause ("misidentified image in Wikipedia") and effect  
("widespread misidentification elsewhere on the web")?

One of your examples (http://macromath.blogspot.com/2005/06/aposematic-fly.html 
  ) cites this URL as the source of the identification -- http://www.geocities.com/brisbane_flies/CommonHover.htm 
  -- i.e., NOT Wikipedia. You've no evidence the other identifications  
were based on Wikipedia.

3. Just because somebody asserts that an image is of a given taxon, we  
don't have to believe it. I'm sure we could all find examples of  
taxonomists we wouldn't trust (e.g., *cough* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Meinertzhagen 
  ). It's about reputation, which we can develop measures for  
(presumably you'll beat "barnybug"), in the same way that sellers on  
eBay have a reputation.

Regards

Rod



On 30 Jul 2008, at 14:12, Thompson, Chris wrote:

> As for Roderic's comment:
>
> Wikipedia: The taxonomic community seems
> somehow afraid of them, yet I suggest this is not based on much more
> than folklore.
>
> Let me give a real example of this "folklore"
>
> The wikipedia has an entry for "Hoverfly" [European common name for
> family Syrphidae, Order Diptera; known in North America as flower  
> flies]
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melangyna_viridiceps
>
> They include a picture of a species identified as "Melangyna
> viridiceps," an endemic Australian species. Unfortunately, the picture
> is of Simosyrphus grandicornis.  In the references, there is a link to
> CSIRO photo gallery where there is a picture of the real Melangyna
> viridiceps.
> http://www.ento.csiro.au/aicn/name_c/a_980.htm
>
> Now that the wikipedia has associated the scientific name of hoverfly
> with Melangyna viridiceps, one can google that scientific name. And  
> one
> discovered there are numerous pictures now on the web identified as  
> this
> species. Google generates some 1,130 hits and we find
>
> The species now "occurs" in Europe in Dave's Garden
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melangyna_viridiceps but is really  
> Eupeodes
> luniger
>
> The species now "occurs" in New World, here is Toxomerus species
> http://flickr.com/photos/pyerotalone/2431464869/in/pool-idplease
>
> And here is Syrphus sp. Listed as Melangyna viridiceps and a species  
> of
> Eristalis (but at least this has "I think" as a modifier)
> http://www.flickr.com/photos/barnybug/page21/
>
> Here is Scaeva pyrastri as Melangyna viridiceps
> http://macromath.blogspot.com/2005/06/aposematic-fly.html
>
> I could go on, and one afternoon I did. And about two-third of all the
> unique images on the web as Melangyna viridiceps are mis- 
> identification
> simply because of an error in Wikipedia of associating that name with
> the common name hoverfly.
>
> That is REAL folklore, Rod.
>
> Smile :)
>
>
>
> F. Christian Thompson
> Systematic Entomology Lab., ARS, USDA
> c/o Smithsonian Institution MRC-0169
> PO Box 37012
> Washington, D. C. 20013-7012
> (202) 382-1800 voice
> (202) 786-9422 fax
> www.diptera.org Diptera Website
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Roderic Page
> Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 4:58 AM
> To: Taxacom
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] taxon wikipedia type resources
>
> I'm sure Roger will have his own views but to my mind there is a world
> of difference between a mailing list, data integration, and a wiki.
>
> A wiki is publicly visible, editable by anyone (in principle), and can
> display a complete history of edits. This means it can rapidly change,
> draw on a large community of contributors, and those contributions are
> traceable.
>
> Whatever taxonomists make of them, others are starting to explore
> their uses (e.g., see Gene Wiki
> http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.0060175
>   for an interesting use of Wikipedia). The taxonomic community seems
> somehow afraid of them, yet I suggest this is not based on much more
> than folklore.
>
> Mailing lists are conversations, and in the absence of archive and
> search tools such as http://taxacom.markmail.org/ , it becomes hard to
> extract information over time. The audience for any given mailing list
> is small (TAXACOM's subscribers will be a tiny subset of those
> interested in, or able to contribute to, taxonomy).
>
> Database integration sites are important, but in many cases they lack
> ways for people to correct and annotate errors, even if those errors
> are obvious
> (http://iphylo.blogspot.com/2008/06/more-gbif-errors-courtesy-of-fishbas
> e.html
>  ). The fact that errors in GBIF persist for months, if not longer,
> suggests that this model of authoritative integration has flaws. If
> GBIF, say, had simple tools for community annotation they could
> dramatically improve the quality of their data.
>
> I suggest that we need all three. Wiki's exploit the fact the the
> number of people able to improve a wiki page is vastly greater than
> the number of "experts" on the topic of that page. Already, Wikipedia
> handily beats EOL in terms of content, a situation I don't see
> changing anytime soon.
>
> In closing, an interesting question would be why Wikipedia is so much
> more successful than Wikispecies.
>
> Regards
>
> Rod
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> On 29 Jul 2008, at 06:38, <Tony.Rees at csiro.au> <Tony.Rees at csiro.au>
> wrote:
>
>> Hi Roger,
>>
>> My question would be, what is the scope of such potential
>> "collaboration", and how is it different from (on one hand) a mailing
>> list where people can ask or answer questions of a taxonomic nature,
>> (on
>> another) data integration sites such as NBN, GBIF, OBIS etc., to  
>> which
>> contributors can upload their own data, and (on the third hand -
>> aliens/mutants only) wikipedia/wikispecies? (Although in principle  
>> the
>> latter is for citations to existing work, not publication of original
>> information).
>>
>> I would agree with Paddy that if you can provide a compelling enough
>> answer to the first question, then EOL is a good potential home for
>> whatever is possibly required, since a single one stop shop is in
>> principle better than many...
>>
>> - Tony Rees
>>
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>> [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Roger Hyam
>> Sent: Tuesday, 29 July 2008 4:40 AM
>> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>> Subject: [Taxacom] taxon wikipedia type resources
>>
>>
>> I was wondering if anyone could help me find some examples of  
>> taxonomy
>> web sites that will accept contributions from general users in the
>> style of wikipedia/wikispecies. To qualify they must allow anyone to
>> register and contribute. Contributions must appear live, as part of
>> the data without going through an editorial process. Sites that only
>> allow users to comment or upload their own data don't really count. I
>> am looking for collaborative works. The sites could cover any kind of
>> taxonomic related information - not just actual taxa
>>
>> I am wondering why I don't come across such site in my work.
>>
>> Many thanks for your thoughts,
>>
>> Roger
>>
>>
>>
>>
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>>
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>
> ---------------------------------------------------------
> Roderic Page
> Professor of Taxonomy
> DEEB, FBLS
> Graham Kerr Building
> University of Glasgow
> Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
>
> Email: r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
> Tel: +44 141 330 4778
> Fax: +44 141 330 2792
> AIM: rodpage1962 at aim.com
> Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1112517192
>
> http://iphylo.blogspot.com
> http://taxonomy.zoology.gla.ac.uk/rod/rod.html
>
>
>
>
>
>
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>

---------------------------------------------------------
Roderic Page
Professor of Taxonomy
DEEB, FBLS
Graham Kerr Building
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK

Email: r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
Tel: +44 141 330 4778
Fax: +44 141 330 2792
AIM: rodpage1962 at aim.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1112517192

http://iphylo.blogspot.com
http://taxonomy.zoology.gla.ac.uk/rod/rod.html









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