[Taxacom] "Classification of Life" in Wikispecies

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Mon Dec 13 16:07:00 CST 2010

Doug is, of course, quite correct, though the Wikimedia policies are a little 
bit too simplistic to apply rigidly in all cases to biodiversity informatics. 
Specifically, in b.i. there can be numerous putatively reliable sources, all 
contradicting one another. My main principle is that 'the perpetuation of 
falsehoods' is to be avoided at all costs, even if that does require a 
compromise with the policies of NOR and/or NPOV in order to choose a source 
which is most likely to be trustworthy ...


From: "dyanega at ucr.edu" <dyanega at ucr.edu>
To: Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Sent: Tue, 14 December, 2010 10:15:17 AM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] "Classification of Life" in Wikispecies

Chuck Miller wrote:

>The great thing about WikiPedia/Species is that if you don't like it or
>agree with it, just change it.  Freedom reigns at WikiMedia! Everyone
>and anyone is free to change anything on WikiPedia/Species.  So, jump in
>there and amend it to use Mayr.
>Of course, anybody else is free to change it again, and again, and

No, that's simply not true. Anyone who has a RELIABLE, RELEVANT CITATION is free 
to change any article in order to include information from that citation. You 
can't go into Wikipedia and put whatever you want, or delete whatever you want, 
and you absolutely, ESPECIALLY, cannot insert your own personal opinions - there 
are rules, and if you violate them, whatever you add is generally reverted by 
one of the many editors (like myself) who vigorously enforce the rules. You 
could also expect a polite message explaining that you were violating policies 
regarding issues such as


or others.

If there is a dispute over alternative classifications, then what you *can* do 
is go in and delineate the dispute, giving citations for BOTH sides, a summary, 
and then you can state "At this point, the majority of authorities in this area 
are still following classification X". You can't simply go in and REMOVE 
something you don't agree with. Doing that is a good way to get banned from 
Wikipedia, and this has happened to some taxonomists who thought they were above 
the rules.

It's the perpetuation of falsehoods like these about how Wikipedia operates that 
prevents more informed, authoritative people from contributing. It's called a 
"vicious circle" - and you can look that up in Wikipedia.



Taxacom Mailing List
Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu

The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either of these 

(1) http://taxacom.markmail.org

Or (2) a Google search specified as:  site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom  
your search terms here


More information about the Taxacom mailing list