[Taxacom] taxacom NZ Inventory

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Tue Nov 16 23:29:15 CST 2010

so, can I paraphrase that somewhat to:

'a checklist record which isn't backtrackable to anything such as a specimen, a 
literature record, or an observation, is largely or entirely devoid of any 
meaning or utility?'

BTW, on Wikispecies, I attempt to make all names and taxonomic placements 
backtrackable to literature records

From: Paul Kirk <p.kirk at cabi.org>
To: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>; gread at actrix.gen.nz
Cc: Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Sent: Wed, 17 November, 2010 5:39:08 PM
Subject: RE: [Taxacom] taxacom NZ Inventory

I've just returned from a very pleasant visit to China so I'll attempt to raise 
the tone ... . My task was to help them to start to build the checklist of the 
Chinese fungi and my constant mantra was - build the database and the checklist, 
amongst other things, is a product of this database [sorry Stephen, no 
wikipedia/wikispecies mentioned in this context]. The database in its simple 
form contains three types of 'records' - those based on specimens (from living 
or dead collections of fungi), those based on published data (from the 
literature) and those based on field observations (dominant for some taxa). Each 
of these record types has it's own strengths and weaknesses. The import point is 
that the names of the fungi used in these records are the basis of the checklist 
(NOT the reverse) and as such, each record provides the supporting evidence 
Stephen correctly identifies as missing in some 'ink-on-paper' (and database) 
products and - I might add - most wiki implementations, although these might 
have some of the significant literature cited (but I'm sure not all checklist 
building relevant literature). A simple web site built on this database provides 
direct access to the 'supporting evidence'. The two - web site and ink-on-paper 
output - go hand in hand. Of course, in the near future the database becomes 
redundant in the web of data T.B.-L. wants us all to build. When this day 
arrives I'll abandon all my redundant databases and I hope other will abandon 
their redundant wikis.

From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu on behalf of Stephen Thorpe
Sent: Tue 16/11/2010 23:42
To: gread at actrix.gen.nz
Cc: Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] taxacom NZ Inventory

Hi Geoff,
I'm not quite sure whether to interpret your tone as sarcastic or straight up,
but it probably really doesn't matter anyway ...
Let me just clarify that there are a very small number of professional
entomologists whom I have ever had the need to "complain about", and this has
always been reluctantly and in self-defense, so the problems aren't a result of
the complaints, but the complaints are a result of the problems (although it
tends to escalate both ways). 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?

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.


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