[Taxacom] Wikispecies has gone to the dogs, best to disregard it now

Nadia Talent nadia.talent at utoronto.ca
Thu Apr 30 08:11:04 CDT 2015


Stephen, I’m surprised that you have persisted so long with wikispecies. I gave up long ago when it became clear that for vascular plants the one-taxonomy-to-bring-them-all-and-in-the-darkness-bind-them philosophy of wikispecies was being used to belligerently “correct" more recent taxonomy, such as that citable to the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families back to the 1964 A. Engler's Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien. As Adolf describes, there is no real remedy against ignorance that doesn’t involve many hours of soul-destroying argument with the ignorami. The notion that simple is better than accurate seems to be entrenched in many minds (or perhaps “minds” is not the correct term). Wikipedia actually has the ignorami-rule-accuracy-takes-second-place approach enshrined in “policy”. 

WP:NOTJOURNAL
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:What_Wikipedia_is_not
in the section "Wikipedia is not a manual, guidebook, textbook, or scientific journal"
as of 28 April 2015 outlaws any text in the lead section of an article that isn't "written on the assumption that the reader will not or cannot follow [the] [hyper]links, instead attempting to infer their meaning from the text" where the reader is defined as "any literate reader of Wikipedia without any knowledge in the given field”.

The lead sentences of the page Aneuploidy were recently replaced by nonsense, in order to avoid the word “monoploid”, which some people who claim to be educated about genetics are not familiar with. The problem was eventually resolved by installing text that is both readable and accurate, but this only came about after a huge fuss. Without the fuss, I am sure that the simple, false statement would have persisted, and the person trying to revert to a correct statement would probably have been blocked from editing. It was such a small thing, but the number of volunteers who think they know enough and who resist checking any references is, well, depressing.

The Simple English wikipedia is even worse; if anyone feels a need to be appalled, try looking at:
https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject
where it was proposed that a project be set up to edit medical articles, so that participants in a class on medical communication could be invited to contribute to the wiki. Nope, experts mustn’t be encouraged, we’d rather present inaccurate medical information.

I’ve just started reading all the posts at http://wikipediocracy.com
It was recommended to me by a wikipedian colleague as somewhat heartening. I don’t yet have much idea of how helpful it could prove to be.
 
-------------------------------
Nadia Talent
Research Associate,
Royal Ontario Museum,
Green Plant Herbarium (TRT),
Department of Natural History,
100 Queen's Park,
Toronto, Canada, M5S 2C6
http://nadiatalent.github.io

On Apr 30, 2015, at 3:22, Adolf Ceska <aceska at telus.net> wrote:

> I have been using a great database for storing photos, microphotos and drawings of collected objects that should enhance our herbarium collection database. This jpeg database has been brilliantly programmed and it uses all the system design conventions computer programmers have ever developed. Furthermore, it has an email attached to it that the users can interact and discuss identification problems. It would have been an ideal tool as an extension of a regular herbarium database system. The problem is that it was designed and developed without any major participation of the herbarium data management people. I am in the same situation as you are, whenever I call for fixing some obvious blunders in the system, I am being ignored. Everything I say is just my usual rhetoric, not worthy of a response. 
> Adolf Ceska




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