[Taxacom] "Why would you waste your time editing Wikipedia?"

Una Smith una.smith at att.net
Sun Sep 21 15:38:18 CDT 2008

Jim Croft wrote:
>Coming back to your Wikipedia example, conceptually there should be
>nothing wrong with citing a specimen as a reference, for example,
>"Found forming large understorey populations in open Eucalypt forest
>(Brown 3452 in herb. CNS)".  It could be argued that specimens are
>quite a bit less evanescent than a databse record or a website.

I agree.  But most Wikipedia editors, like people in general, have
no idea that "Brown 3452 in herb. CNS" refers to a physical specimen 
in a herbarium, akin to a book or manuscript in a library.

On Wikipedia there is a general reluctance to accept a database record
or website as a reliable source.  Those sources are too evanescent.
On the other hand, there is also reluctance to accept an unpublished
document held in a library, on the grounds it is too difficult to see
and verify ... and there is the unlikely possibility the library will
send its holdings to a landfill.  Never will happen, right?  We know
how some herbarium and museum collections *have gone* into landfills.

Every wiki has its own culture.  Wikimedia Commons accepts original
research in that you can deposit a photo there with your own ID on it,
without providing a reliable source for the ID.  And Wiktionary does
accept Usenet as a reliable source of quotes documenting usage.

	Una Smith
	New Mexico

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