[Taxacom] wikipedia & taxonomical authority

Roderic Page r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
Thu Jul 31 03:34:56 CDT 2008


One could ask at what point do we need to know "who". Given that we  
have access to a history of edits, we can judge the value of the  

In the case of the changes to the Helice crassa page, the update to  
the genus Austrohelice was made by  "Dysmorodrepanis" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Dysmorodrepanis 
  ), who we can see has a long history of editing. We can also engage  
that user in conversation ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Dysmorodrepanis 
  ), if we wish.

Just how important is knowing who "Dysmorodrepanis" actually is? Don't  
we have enough information to make some judgement of who good they  
are? Isn't this roughly how we make judgements "offline" (i.e., we  
look a a body of work and make a judgement, base don our own reading,  
and the reaction of others). I'd hate to think we attribute authority  
simply based on a name.



On 31 Jul 2008, at 08:44, Chuck Miller wrote:

> Regarding "the history of who is doing what is visible"
> Most "whos" on Wikipedia are anonymous using names like flip02,
> darthvader, fuzzy bunny, etc.  So, how do you really know "who" is  
> doing
> what? You just know "what."
> EOL intends to provide real "whos" for its species pages.  At least if
> you know "who" wrote the "what", you have a chance for reporting the
> issue to them.  Of course, the "who" might have lived in the 19th
> century and won't listen.
> Chuck
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Karl Magnacca [mailto:kmagnacca at wesleyan.edu]
> Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 2:26 PM
> To: TAXACOM at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] wikipedia & taxonomical authority
> On Wed, July 30, 2008 8:05 pm, Neal Evenhuis wrote:
>> Who corrects EoL pages? I thought they were going to be a sort of
> wiki?
> Likewise, many databases like ITIS are also crammed full of outdated  
> or
> sometimes outright wrong information, but trying to get it fixed is
> practically impossible.  At least with a wiki-type interface, changes
> can be made when spotted and the history of who is doing what is
> visible.
> Karl
> =====================
> Karl Magnacca
> Postdoctoral Researcher
> Department of Zoology
> Trinity College, Dublin 2
> Ireland
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> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
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Roderic Page
Professor of Taxonomy
Graham Kerr Building
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK

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