[Taxacom] wikipedia & taxonomical authority

Roger Hyam (TDWG) rogerhyam at mac.com
Wed Jul 30 11:19:11 CDT 2008


Thank you Rod and everyone else for your contributions.

I wasn't looking so much for a definitive list of resources but a  
general idea of why these systems are so rare and so rarely adopted.

For the record I have just added a comment on the wikipedia page  
regarding the possible misidentification of the fly Chris mentions:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Melangyna_viridiceps

Perhaps Chris could put some comments on there as to why he thinks the  
image is wrong and suggest a replacement.

There are very few sites we could do this on!

Many thanks,

Roger


On 30 Jul 2008, at 14:56, Roderic Page wrote:

> 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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>>> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
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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
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Taxacom mailing list
>> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
>>
>>
>>
>
> ---------------------------------------------------------
> 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
>
>
>
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Taxacom mailing list
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom

-------------------------------------------------------------
Roger Hyam
Roger at BiodiversityCollectionsIndex.org
http://www.BiodiversityCollectionsIndex.org
-------------------------------------------------------------
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR, UK
Tel: +44 131 552 7171 ext 3015
Fax: +44 131 248 2901
http://www.rbge.org.uk/
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