[Taxacom] Wikipedia classification

Kleo Pullin kleopullin at pacbell.net
Sun Jul 5 02:16:58 CDT 2009

--- On Sat, 7/4/09, Una Smith <una.smith at att.net> wrote:

> From: Una Smith <una.smith at att.net>
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Wikipedia classification
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Date: Saturday, July 4, 2009, 10:02 PM
> On Sat, Jul 04, 2009 at 06:05:29PM
> -0600, Mary Barkworth wrote:
> >What surprised me was that there was no indication
> which is the senior
> >and which the junior what should really be used rather
> than the junior.
> That information belongs on the pages about each genus, not
> on the
> disambiguation page.  The purpose of a Wikipedia
> disambiguation page
> is not taxonomic disambiguation.  Wikipedia is an
> encyclopedia, not
> a systematic treatise, and although some editors would like
> Wikipedia
> to tell the reader what name should be used, others are
> adamant that
> this is not the job of an encyclopedia.

Listing "senior homonym" or "valid" beside one of the genera on a 
disambiguation page is not requiring wikipedia to be a "systematic 

If I come across mention of a genus and have not a clue what it is, going
to a disambiguation page and being given 3 articles to click on and read 
until I find the senior homonym is a good way to send me away; and there's
no advantage to the encyclopedia or the reader to creating a clueless 
disambiguation page.  

The explanations of what a senior homonym and junior homonym are can all 
be found elsewhere, or can be wikilinked, but simply listing "senior 
homonym" or "valid" beside the correct genus makes the disambiguation page 
much more useful for the encyclopedia's reader.  Even without 
understanding of the meaning, the reader seeking the correct genus might 
start with the senior homonym.

Disambiguation pages for other types of articles include information meant 
to guide the reader to the more specific article they are seeking;
Wikipedia disambiguation pages for surnames, for example, will include a 
word or two, "American football player," "18th c. British clergyman."

Kleo Pullin

More information about the Taxacom mailing list