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

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Thu Apr 30 16:34:49 CDT 2015

Thank you Nadia and Adolf for actually taking the time to think about what I posted, unlike some others on Taxacom who merely gave a knee-jerk response (with emphasis on the "jerk") aimed at me. The matter is a serious one to the extent that people do go to these Wikimedia sites for information, and I'm not sure how many of them understand the extent to which the "information" presented is a result of power plays and "consensus" (=mob rule, =oppression of minority views). These Wikimedia sites are governed from within, by "community consensus", but the community is simply a function of who manages to avoid being blocked, and the community can choose enforce or not any "rule" it likes. The inevitable result is mobs of vicious little pricks making up and enforcing the "rules" as they go along. The wider public deserves better than this. The sites simply get dominated by those who take pleasure in devaluing and obstructing the work of anyone who does not
 conform to their own short-sighted goals and limited abilities. Unfortunately, there are some people like this also in taxonomy and on Taxacom.


On Fri, 1/5/15, Nadia Talent <nadia.talent at utoronto.ca> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Wikispecies has gone to the dogs, best to disregard it now
 To: "Adolf Ceska" <aceska at telus.net>
 Cc: "Stephen Thorpe" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>, "Scott Thomson" <scott.thomson321 at gmail.com>, "Taxacom" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 Received: Friday, 1 May, 2015, 1:11 AM
 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
 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”. 
 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:
 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
 On Apr 30, 2015, at 3:22, Adolf Ceska <aceska at telus.net>
 > 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
 > Adolf Ceska

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