[Taxacom] Wikipedia rewrites

Kleo Pullin kleopullin at pacbell.net
Wed Feb 4 19:25:51 CST 2009

For plants Wikipedia does appear to use APG II and an agglomeration of the latest major papers.

For species Wikipedia does fairly well with usable, well-sourced descriptions of organisms, both extant and fossil species.  Some of their cetacean articles are beautiful and a delight to read.  

There are a lot of problems on Wikipedia even within species, such as the denigration of scientific names for article titles, but, in my opinion, the problems haven't detracted greatly from the overall good quality of species information available from Wikipedia.  I go there first to quickly grab a higher or lower taxonomy and a first reference for an unfamiliar species.

There are disruptive editors with agendas among the species editors--but academia is not safe from this aspect of discussing evolutionary relationships.

I am a microscopist, though, and this is a problematic area on Wikipedia, and it represents the sort of problems that people with expertise in an area can encounter.  Microscopy is unusual because there are a lot of people with a little knowledge and basic competence even with electron microscopes and advanced light microscopes.  However, correcting their errors in Wikipedia articles, even correcting them armed with solid references, such as texts and recent peer-reviewed journal publications, is not happening.    

I like contributing to a free knowledge base, so I do edit Wikipedia articles, mostly California native flora and fauna pages, plus marine life.  However, I don't edit microscopy articles because it is frustrating seeing accurate information deleted, revised, and dumbed down to incorrect, or seeing inaccurate information carefully watched and maintained. 

There are areas on Wikipedia where experts don't stand a chance.  Species pages does not appear to be such an area.  The taxonomy and related nomenclature articles could use some help, though.

K. Leo Pullin

--- On Wed, 2/4/09, Richard Zander <Richard.Zander at mobot.org> wrote:

> From: Richard Zander <Richard.Zander at mobot.org>
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Wikipedia rewrites
> To: "Doug Yanega" <dyanega at ucr.edu>, TAXACOM at MAILMAN.NHM.KU.EDU
> Date: Wednesday, February 4, 2009, 1:42 PM
> Question:
> Does Wikipedia follow APGII? or perhaps an agglomeration of
> the latest major papers? 
> _______________________
> Richard H. Zander
> Missouri Botanical Garden
> PO Box 299
> St. Louis, MO 63166 U.S.A.
> richard.zander at mobot.org
> ________________________________
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu on behalf of Doug
> Yanega
> Sent: Wed 2/4/2009 12:44 PM
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Wikipedia rewrites
> According to APG II, the Asclepiadaceae is a former plant
> family now
> treated as a subfamily (subfamily Asclepiadoideae) in the
> Apocynaceae
> (Bruyns 2000).
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