[Taxacom] The strain between Wikipedia and Science

Peter DeVries pete.devries at gmail.com
Fri Mar 4 21:12:43 CST 2011


Hi Steve,

I did not see your post until now.

For example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visiana_brujata

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visiana_brujata>- Pete

On Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 4:09 PM, Stephen Thorpe
<stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>wrote:

> > What is the Wikipedia policy on taxonomic hierarchies? They seem to be
> somewhat inconsistent.
> Also I keep running into pages where the binomial is not a binomial but a
> trinomial or something else.
> I have also notices at least 300 pages where the binomial does not match
> the
> page title or text.
> Is there some standard way that pages should be marked up so it is clear
> that the article is about a species or a genus or a family etc?
>
> Perhaps you can offer some real examples, so we can take a look and
> probably fix them up ...
>
>  ------------------------------
> *From:* Peter DeVries <pete.devries at gmail.com>
> *To:* Doug Yanega <dyanega at ucr.edu>
> *Cc:* TAXACOM at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> *Sent:* Sat, 5 March, 2011 8:23:29 AM
> *Subject:* Re: [Taxacom] The strain between Wikipedia and Science
>
> Hi Doug,
>
> Thank you for your Wikipedia efforts.
>
> I had some questions that I thought you might be able to offer some insight
> for us.
>
> What is the Wikipedia policy on taxonomic hierarchies? They seem to be
> somewhat inconsistent.
>
> Also I keep running into pages where the binomial is not a binomial but a
> trinomial or something else.
>
> I have also notices at least 300 pages where the binomial does not match
> the
> page title or text.
>
> Is there some standard way that pages should be marked up so it is clear
> that the article is about a species or a genus or a family etc?
>
> Thanks,
>
> - Pete
>
> On Fri, Feb 11, 2011 at 12:32 PM, Doug Yanega <dyanega at ucr.edu> wrote:
>
> > Given that, after something on the order of 6000 edits, I have
> > possibly done more editing of Wikipedia than any other contributor to
> > this list (the top-ranked biologist on WP has done over 118000 edits,
> > the second-ranked 68000, but I don't think they're on this list), I
> > can address some of the issues here, though my experience is with the
> > English WP, and perhaps there is a less civilized culture on the
> > German WP, from Francisco's description.
> >
> > Francisco wrote:
> >
> > >It is impossible to correct errors in Wikipedia, if these errors are
> > >repeatedly published in scientific publications, mainly in the
> > >secondary literature. It is extremely difficult to get an error
> > >corrected in Wikipedia even if this error was published only once in
> > >one single scientific publication - and the amateurs do not know that
> > >this publication is not significant, at least in what concerns this
> > >special statement.
> >
> > One of the core WP policies - "Neutral Point of View" (NPOV) - is
> > being misapplied in such cases. Yes, an erroneous statement, once
> > published, cannot simply be removed by someone who knows that it is
> > incorrect; that is one of the side-effects of true neutrality.
> > HOWEVER, if something erroneous has been published and someone ELSE
> > has published a statement declaring the work to be erroneous, then
> > NPOV means that this criticism can be included, and cited. The actual
> > policy: "All articles must adhere to the Neutral point of view policy
> > (NPOV), fairly representing all majority and significant-minority
> > viewpoints published by reliable sources, in rough proportion to the
> > prominence of each view. Except in articles devoted to them,
> > tiny-minority views need not be included. Where there is disagreement
> > between sources, use in-text attribution: "John Smith argues that X,
> > while Paul Jones maintains that Y," followed by an inline citation.
> > Sources themselves are not required to maintain a neutral point of
> > view; indeed most reliable sources are not neutral. Our job as
> > editors is simply to present what the reliable sources say. "
> >
> > Any editor who removes a citation to a critical reference (e.g.,
> > "Paul Jones maintains that Y") in order to preserve a discredited one
> > (e.g., "John Smith argues that X") is guilty of an NPOV violation. If
> > you revert their removal of the critical citation, and explain that
> > their removal was inappropriate, and they remove it *again*, that can
> > be drawn to the attention of administrators, who generally take a
> > VERY dim view of "revert wars".
> >
> > >Some proportion of scientific knowledge has not been published at
> > >all, for example very simple and basic facts - it is occasionally
> > >impossible to mention such knowledge in Wikipedia.
> >
> > If one reads the rules carefully, the policy is that common,
> > easily-verified facts do NOT need to have citations given. Here is
> > the quote: "To show that it is not original research, all material in
> > Wikipedia articles must be attributable to a reliable published
> > source. But in practice not everything need actually be attributed.
> > This policy requires that all quotations and any material challenged
> > or likely to be challenged be attributed to a reliable, published
> > source in the form of an inline citation, and that the source
> > directly support the material in question." and it gives the example:
> > "Paris is the capital of France" needs no source because no one is
> > likely to object to it, but we know that sources for that sentence
> > exist."
> >
> > Of course, there are jerks who challenge everything, even statements
> > like "Paris is the capital of France" just to make themselves feel
> > more important. If they are persistent, however, admins can rein them
> > in, and even block their access or protect the articles they are
> > screwing with.
> >
> > >Inconsistent application of different rules applied for WP
> > >contributors is also a problem - well-known members of the inner
> > >circles of the Wikipedia community feel allowed to publish anything
> > >they like, but a scientific expert who likes to contribute is forced
> > >to provide published references for every single statement. In cases
> > >of divergent opinions concerning a special question, the amateur who
> > >knows the rules and how to win such a case, will always win,
> > >regardless of the expert providing published references to support a
> > >view or statement.
> > >
> > >They also feel free to delete every contribution they like. This has
> > >been addressed in the survey. The rule is that you can delete
> > >anything you like, just by saying "not encyclopedia relevant",
> > >without any consequences.
> >
> > This is generally NOT true, because administrators are generally NOT
> > tolerant of bad behavior. If you can solicit administrative
> > intervention, even the most devious editors can be sanctioned. That
> > being said, it can be difficult to persuade admins that someone is
> > acting in "bad faith", and one must often know and be able to cite
> > the core WP policies that are being violated in a particular case. In
> > other words, admins do not generally care about the academic nature
> > of a dispute, but - like a lawyer - if you tell them that NPOV, 3RR,
> > and WP:OWN violations are taking place, then this will get their
> > attention. You can even call for arbitration, and bad editors always
> > lose when this happens.
> >
> > >I have been forced outside the biological section of the German WP
> > >community and today I contribute mainly to the English WP where such
> > >behaviour is less strongly developed, and I experienced more
> > >tolerance. I also learned that other German bioscientists were
> > >equally chased away, and they also started contributing to the
> > >English section. I would have wondered if this would have been my
> > >single personal problem.
> >
> > This, again, makes it sound like the German WP is not populated by
> > administrators who are genuinely interested in promoting and
> > protecting WP's core policies. In every contentious case I have been
> > involved in with the English WP, one way or another administrative
> > intervention resolved the problem, and either sent the fools on their
> > way, or forced them to actually play by the rules, instead of hiding
> > behind them. Of course, for someone who is unable or unwilling to
> > spend the time necessary to deal with administrators, this may not
> > seem like such a great system ("Sure, I can eventually win this
> > battle, but if it takes 2 months, is it worth my time?"). For me, the
> > number of times I've had to go to such extremes has been very minimal
> > - maybe a half dozen genuine problems in almost 10 years of editing -
> > so maybe I've been fortunate in that regard, and you've been
> > unfortunate.
> >
> > Sincerely,
> > --
> >
> > Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology        Entomology Research Museum
> > Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314        skype: dyanega
> > phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
> >              http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
> >  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
> >        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> >
> > Taxacom Mailing List
> > Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> > http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> >
> > The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either of
> these
> > methods:
> >
> > (1) http://taxacom.markmail.org
> >
> > Or (2) a Google search specified as:  site:
> > mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom  your search terms here
> >
>
>
>
> --
> ---------------------------------------------------------------
> Pete DeVries
> Department of Entomology
> University of Wisconsin - Madison
> 445 Russell Laboratories
> 1630 Linden Drive
> Madison, WI 53706
> TaxonConcept Knowledge Base <http://www.taxonconcept.org/> / GeoSpecies
> Knowledge Base <http://lod.geospecies.org/>
> About the GeoSpecies Knowledge Base <http://about.geospecies.org/>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
>
> _______________________________________________
>
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
>
> The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either of these
> methods:
>
> (1) http://taxacom.markmail.org
>
> Or (2) a Google search specified as:  site:
> mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom  your search terms here
>
>
>



-- 
---------------------------------------------------------------
Pete DeVries
Department of Entomology
University of Wisconsin - Madison
445 Russell Laboratories
1630 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706
TaxonConcept Knowledge Base <http://www.taxonconcept.org/> / GeoSpecies
Knowledge Base <http://lod.geospecies.org/>
About the GeoSpecies Knowledge Base <http://about.geospecies.org/>
------------------------------------------------------------



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