[Taxacom] WoRMS fixes Kerguelenia ...

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Fri Sep 3 01:26:01 CDT 2010

Yes, I take your point, but I think that this is a bad way of structuring 
things*, and I don't think the issue is merely about misspellings (some taxa 
were missed out completely, whereas others from the same publication were in). 
It is also worrying that we have 

Source   Not documented 
on the species pages for species described in the recent Zootaxa publication, 
and the sources for the other taxa are secondary sources (other databases). 
Wikispecies cites primary sources wherever possible...

* either the edit history should be removed for taxon pages above species, or 
they ought to log any changes affecting those higher taxon pages. As things are, 
the user can cite a page whose content can change dramatically without any 
indication of this in the edit history of the cited page itself, and this could 
easily lead to problems...

On Wikispecies, any changes affecting the content of what appears on a genus (or 
other) page are logged in the edit history of THAT page ... my point being just 
that this is a more powerful structure than WoRMS and the like ...



From: Geoffrey Read <gread at actrix.gen.nz>
To: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Sent: Fri, 3 September, 2010 6:09:01 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] WoRMS fixes Kerguelenia ...

Hi Stephen,

As already explained when you look at genus-level you are looking in
effect at a summary display. Whereas in this case the changes took place
in the species-level entries elsewhere.  That's where you go. Okay, go
there and, sure, the pages for those won't show the before and after
content, only evidence that an improvement (hopefully) has occurred. If
you want that before & after, if it's relevant to your work to have a
history of spelling corrections in WoRMS, then it's up to you to record it
as you go. As I said earlier it's possible to do that easily.

In this case you knew the Kerguelenia species spellings were not as
published. Well, you're obviously the one guy that's never going to cite
this page (the wrong page to cite anyway) - except for fussing about it on
Taxacom.  I know it won't impress you if I say that users should always
check the original information once they've found it on a secondary source
like WoRMS, but it's true. Just the same as with literature cites in
commercial products from ISI and the like - plenty of errors there and we
know to expect some.

On making more interesting corrections and changes than attending to data
entry misspellings, I suppose it's possible in my own editing that I can
make public notes explaining changes more than I do already (I do keep
track in my private notes), but I can tell you it can get very very
complicated fixing faulty interrelated database records, and I doubt many
people would be interested in the detail of my editing work. Only in the


On Fri, September 3, 2010 4:31 pm, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> I still fail to see anything of use here! The entries don't link to
> documents, and you don't know it what way the page was changed or
checked by
> these editors. It looks good, but is completely pointless ...
> If someone cited this Kerguelenia page on 2010‑08‑27, just
before the recent
> problem was fixed, if you try to verify what they did, you come to the
> conclusion that they misread the page, because now when you look at their
> cited
> link, you see different info and no indication of subsequent changes...


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