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

Paul van Rijckevorsel dipteryx at freeler.nl
Tue Nov 3 02:16:10 CST 2015


One of the key features of all Codes of nomenclature
is that they are retroactive, unless expressly limited.

Art. 29.5 is not expressly limited. An implicit date
might be implied by its closeness to Art. 29.4, but
these provisions prove not be a pair of complementary
provisions, as Art. 29.4 is much more restricted in scope.

A line of reasoning based on "what makes sense" is
inherently very weak, as what makes sense to one
person does not necessarily makes sense to another.
The whole purpose of a Code of nomenclature is to
lay it down precisely, and not leave it to the imagination
of its users.

Another line of reasoning would be that spelling is set
by the first person to publish a thorough analysis of
prevailing usage. If this is done in, say, 2010, why 
not take practice until that date into account? And
if such an analysis is published in 1998, its quality
is not affected by its being published prior to 2000.

Paul

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Thomas Pape" <tpape at snm.ku.dk>
To: "Doug Yanega" <dyanega at ucr.edu>; "Sven Kullander" <Sven.Kullander at nrm.se>; "taxacom" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, November 03, 2015 8:36 AM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Formation of family names e.g. Diplogasteridae vs. Diplogastridae in Nematoda (and similar)


>>>> 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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