[Taxacom] Wikipedia classification

Una Smith una.smith at att.net
Sat Jul 4 18:55:10 CDT 2009

On Sat, Jul 04, 2009 at 04:42:22PM -0600, Mary Barkworth wrote:
>You mean that, under the zoological code, a generic name can be used for
>two different groups of organisms? This is disambiguation? 

No.  Like the botanical code, the zoological code does not allow
taxonomic homonyms to have equal standing.  But taxonomic homonyms,
like homonyms more generally, exist.  On Wikipedia, disambiguation
refers only to putting a disambiguation page at an ambiguous base
name (here Latreillia);  many ambiguous base names are homonyms.
It is not a taxonomic concept.

Disambiguation concerns page names, not article titles aka topics.
Once Wikipedia has enough of these senior/junior homonym pairs, it 
may be worthwhile to create a special type of disambiguation page
for them.  However, disambiguation pages can be (and are) used to
disambiguate far more than taxonomic homonyms.  Incoming links to
disambiguation pages are patrolled, to fix the links, and there 
are tools to prevent creation of new links.  Thus, disambiguation
pages help to avoid what sometimes happens:  editors who do not
know there is a homonym involved create a "mashup" article about
disparate topics.

I think there was an initial idea that Wikipedia would use only
valid scientific names, but now it is more and more common to make
redirect pages for all junior synonyms and invalid homonyms, and
to note those synonyms and homonyms on the relevant article, so
that Wikipedia can be used as an adjunct to the world literature.
Perhaps because many editors are not taxonomists, Wikipedia seems
to be farther along in dealing with common names than taxonomic

	Una Smith

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