[Taxacom] Wikipedia classification

dipteryx at freeler.nl dipteryx at freeler.nl
Tue Jul 7 01:58:43 CDT 2009

Van: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu namens Jim Croft
Verzonden: di 7-7-2009 0:53
>And while you are at it, taxonomic concepts need to be thrown
>into the mix.

>I have been arguing with Rod Page (unsuccessfully - not sure if this
>is Rod's fault, my fault or twitter's fault) that Wikipedia does not
>document, resolve or disambiguate taxonomic concepts well (i.e. at
>all) and most times presents an anonymous single view of a taxonomy
>that can not be unambiguously resolved to anything other than
>'Wikipedia's view' (and who is this Wikipedia dude anyway?). 

Perhaps this failure is due to perspective: the bottom-up view (from 
the data compiler) is (or should be!) to be very careful about what 
taxon concept is being used, as otherwise one quickly ends up with 
attributing the wrong information to the wrong taxon. The top-down 
perspective (from the end-user) is to want-the-information-we-want-and-
want-it-now (or "when I use a name, it means what I want it to mean; 
neither more, nor less" to paraphrase slightly) and the pesky details 
should take care of themselves.

But yes, when it comes to plants the English Wikipedia in great part is 
no better than hearsay ("word on the street is that ...") leaving the 
reader guessing (what corner of what street?). The German Wikipedia does 
have a single perspective (namely that of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Website), 
which has its disadvantages, but at least it is clear.
* * *

>In order to keep faith with its principle of [citation needed],
>Wikipedia needs to explicitly refer to which concept it is using...

This looks like a separate matter to me:
1) be explicit about the taxon concept(s) used
2) provide references per individual taxon concept


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