[Taxacom] Paper on taxonomic standards in herpetology

Wolfgang Wuster w.wuster at bangor.ac.uk
Wed May 15 17:03:18 CDT 2013

On 15/05/2013 22:45, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> But Wolfgang, can't you see that there is no solution here. Your 
> veiled threats to promote the disregard of the Code amongst the 
> herpetological community would just alienate that community from the 
> rest of the taxonomic community, and their non Code compliant 
> nomenclature (and associated taxonomy) would then be ignored by 
> aggregators who are trying to make Code compliant databases of world 
> biota, and possibly rejected by editors of taxonomic journals that are 
> wider in scope than just herps. In effect, the herp community would 
> become a taxonomic vandal to be ignored, and so the problem grows ...

So what solution do you propose? All we ever hear when the issue of 
vandalism is raised is "grin and bear it" or "we have always done it 
like that". Can you not see that that is simply not good enough? The 
latter of these arguments has been used throughout history to justify 
oppression and failure to reform, and the former sounds rather like the 
attitude of right-wing religious zealots towards rape victims ("grin and 
bear the rape, but you must keep the name"). Nobody in herpetology wants 
to ditch the Code, but there comes a point where we need to look for 
ways of defending our vital interests. That's not a veiled threat, it's 
an observation.

Moreover, I think it would be in the interests of the whole of taxonomy 
to pay more attention to these goings-on. How do you think the outside 
world will view a science whose public face, in the shape of names for 
high-profile taxa, is dominated by the kinds of excesses we have been 
seeing and discussing here?

Dr. Wolfgang Wüster  -  Senior Lecturer
School of Biological Sciences    Bangor University
Environment Centre Wales
Bangor LL57  2UW                 Wales, UK
Tel: +44 1248 382301  Fax: +44 1248 382569
E-mail: w.wuster at bangor.ac.uk

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