[Taxacom] Formation of family names e.g. Diplogasteridae vs. Diplogastridae in Nematoda (and similar)

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Mon Nov 2 17:57:04 CST 2015

On 11/2/15 2:51 PM, Sven Kullander wrote:
> Article 29.5 says "is in prevailing usage". It does not say "was in prevailing usage in 2000".  Prevailing usage had to be assessed based on most recent usage frequency by current/most recent specialists, not at a specific point back in time, which would be counter to the idea of prevailing usage as a best estimate of current adoption of a name (even if such adoption may have been initiated long ago) by specialists on the group.
It is, and must be, implicit that assessment of usage applies to the 
date the 4th Edition was published - prior, but not subsequent. Any 
other interpretation would render this and all similar Articles 
*absolutely worthless*. Consider this scenario:

Prior to 2000, 5 authors use spelling A. In 2000, when the new Code 
comes out, one of these authors cites spelling A, and points out that it 
is in prevailing usage, and therefore must be maintained under 29.5. In 
2005, a different author claims that they believe spelling B is correct, 
and convinces 9 other authors to use spelling B in 2006. This violates 
Article 29.5, and if we accepted it, it would switch the spelling from A 
to B (10>5). If 10 more authors then came out in 2009 and published 
using spelling A, the spelling would switch back to A (15>10). If 15 
more authors then published in 2012 using spelling B, it would switch 
back to B again (25>15). It could therefore flip flop back and forth 
FOREVER, which is about as unstable as you could possibly get.

Clearly, the Article is NOT intended to allow spelling to change back 
and forth indefinitely based solely on who has swung the pendulum in 
their favor most recently. All of the Articles invoking prevailing usage 
MUST have a date beyond which the assessment stops, or ALL of them could 
be easily circumvented by simply out-publishing one's competitors. The 
Code is intended to STOP the arguments, not prolong them into infinity.


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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