[Taxacom] taxacom NZ Inventory

Geoff Read gread at actrix.gen.nz
Tue Nov 16 18:57:53 CST 2010

Hi Stephen,

You've explained that you were offered two opportunities to be involved in this project, first as 
an author, then as a reviewer. Unfortunately for everybody you, presumably the best expert to 
do a particular segment, declined both of them. It's not a good look that you are now 
complaining that it is an inferior product to what you could have done. Why would we not 
suspect this is partly some sort of sour grapes reaction on your part?

It's a bit difficult to respond to your comments of one part of just one of the many checklists in 
the book because, unlike you, I don't have a prepublication pdf and can't see exactly what the 
presentation is in volume 2 that you find inadequate. This is why it seems to me unfair that 
you have launched into public criticism of it, before we can all join in on the topic (when the 
book is published - noting you've not seen the book itself - just like the rest of us), and I 
regret that you couldn't wait till then. Noting also that the checklists are a relatively minor 
component of these review volumes.

For the first volume, where my group polychaetes appeared, we were asked to provide some 
indication of the known but unpublished generic and species occurrences, and so we did, 
supported by station numbers that would enable backchecking in the museums later when 
these taxa were finally fully investigated. This, while not ideal, seemed a reasonable way of 
doing it. People can disregard such records as not fully verified - because they aren't - but I 
think they are of interest.

Static printed checklists *do* have value as frozen-in-time states of the play, even today. And 
they will have irritating silly errors like your non-updated beetle, and a few spelling mistakes 
too probably, but hey, perfection forever eludes us. 


On 16 Nov 2010 at 15:42, Stephen Thorpe wrote:

[...]  As someone who spends most of my time trying to 
> build a solid and freely available information resource on biodiversity, the 
> seriousness of an officially endorsed publication on N.Z. beetles which is maybe 
> 25% utter bo!!ocks, and which will probably be widely used and cited, may seem 
> somewhat greater to me than to most other people? Perhaps you could comment on 
> whether you see that, assuming that it is true, as either a problem or as 
> nothing of any importance? And whether you see any value in checklists with no 
> supporting evidence?
> Stephen

> ________________________________
> From: Geoff Read <gread at actrix.gen.nz>
> To: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>; Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Sent: Wed, 17 November, 2010 12:14:55 PM
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] taxacom NZ Inventory
> Thanks Stephen,
> Interesting reading for all, and a fine demonstration of why the professional 
> entomologists whose work failings you seem often to complain about have become 
> wary of your tendency towards erratic and injudicious behaviour. What a talent 
> you have for getting yourself into strife.  I'm sure everyone can better 
> understand now why you made the comments you did, and value them appropriately.
> Best,
> Geoff
> >>> Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz> 11/17/10 10:21 AM >>>

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