[Taxacom] Neoromicia nanus or Neoromicia nana?

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Tue Jan 14 17:12:53 CST 2014

No, one just needs to be an expert in ambiguous legalese! 
So, why then, on the taxon filter proposal, is the community for decision on a herp name (for example) restricted to the herpetological community??

From: Doug Yanega <dyanega at ucr.edu>
To: Francisco Welter-Schultes <fwelter at gwdg.de> 
Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu 
Sent: Wednesday, 15 January 2014 12:04 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Neoromicia nanus or Neoromicia nana?

On 1/14/14 1:03 PM, Francisco Welter-Schultes wrote:
> Doug,
> I appreciate your valuable suggestions and contributions to such
> discussions. Your proposal sounds good, at least from a theoretical point
> of view. For the practical life I would modify the time spans and say, at
> least one year is fine, but I would add an additional requirement that at
> least 4 or 5 independent researchers with approved experise in the
> discipline (I see the difficulty to define such a status) must confirm the
> correctness of an entry, before the entry gets an approved status. Maybe
> these thoughts are already incorporated in your model. Just absence of
> sufficient affirmative comments within 3 or 5 years should not
> automatically lead to modifying the official status of a name.
At this stage, the model we are considering is self-selected 
auto-notification for everyone who is a registered user of ZooBank. 
Users would go to a long checklist of keywords, and select which 
keywords were of interest, alone or in combination. For example, you 
might decide upon "Palaearctic" for biogeographical region, "Mollusca" 
for taxon, and combine them - so any time a name is placed in ZooBank 
that has both keywords (Palaearctic AND Mollusca), you would be 
automatically sent an e-mail notification, saying you have one year from 
that date to review the entry, at your discretion. If there were 500 
people who also used that same combination of keywords, then all 500 
would get the same e-mail notification simultaneously, and have the same 
year to review each entry. I would presume that out of several hundred 
people getting an e-mail, finding 4 or 5 who would respond is not going 
to be difficult. Those who failed to act within a year would have no 
grounds for complaint when the decision is finalized without their 
input; a year is plenty of time to raise one's objections (I call this 
the "Speak now or forever hold your peace" principle). Note also that 
any ZooBank records which are disputed would be flagged, triggering a 
different set of notifications and a modification of the verification 
process (e.g., each such case would be assigned an impartial referee).
> My experience is that at least malacologists may easily take more than ten
> years until an expert finds the time to work on such an issue. In many
> subgroups it's 20 years. This is due to the unpaid nature of professional
> work in this field.
It sounds like we may be confusing taxonomy with nomenclature here. It 
should not require waiting for a taxonomic expert in order to determine 
whether a name is available, who the author was, what the date and 
journal was, what type specimens or taxa were involved, what the 
original spelling was, and grammatical status (gender of genus names, 
and whether epithets are nouns). Most of that should be easily resolved 
by anyone, expert or not, unpaid or not, malacologist or not, with 
access to the original descriptions, and the Code. Experts are needed 
for decisions regarding validity and synonymy, or phylogeny, which are 
outside of the scope of ZooBank and the ICZN. Bear in mind that when one 
is dealing with nomenclature, one does not need to be an authority on a 
group to know how the Code should apply in a given situation. Therefore, 
instead of a nomenclatural dispute among malacologists being limited to 
review just by malacologists, it would be open to review by *any other 
registered ZooBank users*, regardless of discipline. Nomenclature is not 
discipline-limited; the same exact nomenclatural rules apply whether it 
is a mollusc, insect, snake, or dinosaur! The idea is, after all, to 
AVOID cliques and infighting, not to encourage such destructive practices. 


Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology      Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314    skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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