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

Thomas Pape tpape at snm.ku.dk
Tue Nov 3 01:36:37 CST 2015


>>> It is, and must be, implicit that assessment of usage applies to the date the 4th Edition was published

I do not agree. The concept of "prevailing usage" should be taken to mean 'as of now' or 'current'. There is nothing particular about the year 2000, and defining "prevailing usage" with this year as a fix-point would become still more strange as time goes by.
I agree that there is a risk of 'flip-flopping' as described by Doug, which simply adds to my disinclination towards relying on prevailing usage as currently defined to be an effective instrument for establishing stability in nomenclature.

There is growing evidence that the concept of 'prevailing usage' should be carefully considered, perhaps even abandoned, in the next version of the Code.

/Thomas Pape

-----Original Message-----
From: Taxacom [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Doug Yanega
Sent: 3. november 2015 00:57
To: Sven Kullander; taxacom
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Formation of family names e.g. Diplogasteridae vs. Diplogastridae in Nematoda (and similar)

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.

Peace,

-- 
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)
              http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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