[Taxacom] The 'X' factor

dipteryx at freeler.nl dipteryx at freeler.nl
Thu May 20 03:01:01 CDT 2010

Van: Jim Croft [mailto:jim.croft at gmail.com]
Verzonden: wo 19-5-2010 23:24
> yeah, yeah... we know the rools... but there is no multiplication
> thingy on the keyboard.

> This 'rool' had its origin in the day when lead type was king and
> it was as much of a pain to set the multiplication thingy as it was
> to set an 'X'.

Well, lead type allowed things that are out of reach now, but they
are not in the Code now (there once was a suggestion to have two
multiplication signs, IIRC a big one for crosses between genera 
and a small one for crosses between species. And briefly there
was a special symbol for clones, which was so exotic that it was 
a headache even in lead type; it does not appear possible 
to render it in HTML at all. But not now)
* * *

> but the world has moved on, babies are issued with iThings 
> at birth and if something is not on an ascii keyboard it just 
> does not happen... no-one knows how to search on a multiplication 
> thingy or even enter it.  Heck, even the act of multiplication 
> itself is done with a '*'  :)

I have no experience with ascii-keyboards (one of those wonderful
gizmos they only have in Australia?), but is in ASCII; a page
like http://ascii.cl/htmlcodes.htm reports that it is supported 
in all browsers, so I don't see any particular difficulty.
* * *

> c'mon,.. admit it... we have all used the 'X', at least once, 
> in our lives...

Well, with a typewriter you have to, and it is tempting in a quick
e-mail, although I see that the Taxacom-archive has no difficulty
with the real thing (this as opposed to italics, which you can 
forget about). However, on a web-page? And especially on a page 
that purports to give directions on usage on web pages!
* * *

> I have been watching this for years and have not seen a single
> example where using an 'X' as the hybrid tag, in a database or 
> a printed page, is ambiguous. It just offends traditionalists. 
> Shoot the lot of 'em! It is the information content and 
> communication that is important

Actually, if you argue in this vein, why use a hybrid tag at all? 
It is not part of the name anyway. Does it convey any useful 
information to those who are dealing with quick and dirty text 
* * *

> A tweak of the code would make everyone's lives a lot easier...

Obviously, it would be possible to delete the hybrid tag from 
the Code entirely. Arguably, it belongs in the cultivated plant 
Code rather than in the botanical Code. Who is stopping you 
from putting in a proposal?


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