[Taxacom] BioNames and others names

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Mon Jun 3 12:45:56 CDT 2013

What you mean is, most people have a sufficiently vague definition, that
they don't really care about the differences.  Then they turn around and
complain about the dirty databases, because the dirty database has a less
precise definition than what they *really* want.


From: Roderic Page [mailto:r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk] 
Sent: Sunday, June 02, 2013 11:27 PM
To: Richard Pyle
Cc: 'Paul van Rijckevorsel'; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] BioNames and others names


I guess I'm with Paul on this one. In most cases when people talk about
names they mean generic names, binomials / binomens, and

trinomials / trinomens. They don't care about the details, nor even about
names, they want the stuff connected to the names. It's our job to help that
process, or otherwise get the hell out of the way.


Imagine we are a book publisher. We could invoked wonderfully complex models
of what a "book" actually is (see
ds ) and ask people what do they mean by book, do they understand the full
complexity of what it means to say "I want this book" (which edition,
physical version, electronic, what access rights, which translation, etc.).
Or we could be Amazon and give them the book. If it's not the book they
wanted, we give them other choices. We let people decide what they want, and
do our best to give it to them.


If we were book sellers we would be out of business in seconds. 






You specified the"broader taxonomic/biological community ", and
that means a dipterist talking about plants, and a plant taxonomist
talking about flies, in which case there will be clarity. The problems
will start only when the dipterist starts talking about flies ...


No, that's my point.  If you spread the group to include the "broader
taxonomic/biological community" (instead of just "taxonomists"), then the
probability that any two of them will agree on a precise definition of
"taxon name" is even lower.  

I think the key difference you and I have here is the degree of precision of
the definition.  It's easy to find two botanists or two zoologists to agree
on what a "taxon name" is so long as the definition is not precise.  The
problem comes when you get down to the precision definitions.

Roderic Page
Professor of Taxonomy
Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences
Graham Kerr Building
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK

Email: r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
Tel: +44 141 330 4778
Fax: +44 141 330 2792

Skype: rdmpage
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rdmpage
Twitter: http://twitter.com/rdmpage
Blog: http://iphylo.blogspot.com
Home page: http://taxonomy.zoology.gla.ac.uk/rod/rod.html

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roderic_D._M._Page

Citations: http://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?hl=en

ORCID id: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7101-9767


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