[Taxacom] iSpecies with Wikipedia

Bob Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Fri Mar 28 05:25:16 CDT 2008

Coming in late, here, on what looks like a great discussion, and just
wondering how long, exactly, a consensus classification is supposed to

One year, with synchronised annual revision by thousands of cooperating

Or maybe no fixed duration? Maintain a website with the e-consensus of
the moment, and users check the site and reference their classification
with 'Accessed 0304 GMT, 17 October 2011'?

I ask because I work in a poor, benighted corner of zoology which has
entire *families* regarded by specialist consensus as temporary
holding-bins for weird genera whose relationships are currently

Several of these consensus-es have persisted happily for decades.
Taxonomy being a work in progress, and with nowhere near enough workers,
a few genera might get pulled out and properly sorted some day, leaving
the rump for posterity. And, of course, the same thing happens with
holding-bin genera and their constituent species.

It all sounds pretty fluid, which to me as taxonomist is OK, but isn't
this discussion about confidently presenting an inclusive classification
for non-taxonomists to use? Hence my question: are these non-taxonomists
to understand that the consensus has a use-by date?
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery
and School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
Contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
(03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195

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