[Taxacom] Why Defend the Code?

Michael A. Ivie mivie at montana.edu
Fri Oct 9 18:02:14 CDT 2015

This may have been precipitated by a recent set of events, but it is 
targeted at a broader group of messages that put me over the edge on the 
last one.  No individual person, living or dead, if specifically 
referred to below.

I just received a private email asking why I would waste my time 
challenging someone with no position, no credibility and well known as a 
pedant and seeker of attention?

Why indeed.  Because I am an educator and a systematist.  It is time we 
all wake up to a few things.  First, our system of nomenclature is under 
attack.  Few students are given a class in its use, most are told the 
rules are difficult and arcane.  This is giving rise to a movement to 
simply do away with compliance.

Second, compliance with our Code is voluntary.  There is ZERO 
enforcement available.  We are just a thin line from a break to anarchy.

Therefore, when someone wants to, repeatedly, claim the Code is poor, is 
difficult, is not well thought out, or otherwise in need of endless 
negative blather, there are people who read that.  Hundreds more are 
exposed to this forum than ever post to it.  If such negativity comes 
from someone who projects a facade of expertise, people may even believe 
him or her.

I understand the Code is not perfect, but it does work.  It does require 
diligence, and takes time from other activities that may be more fun, 
but it is not that hard.  We need to reinforce in the minds of our 
peers, and especially the younger members of our profession, that using 
the Code is what is expected, and it is not something to dread.  And, 
when mindless attacks are made claiming it is defective, difficult or 
irrelevant, we must defend it vociferously.



Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D., F.R.E.S.

Montana Entomology Collection
Marsh Labs, Room 50
1911 West Lincoln Street
NW corner of Lincoln and S.19th
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717

(406) 994-4610 (voice)
(406) 994-6029 (FAX)
mivie at montana.edu

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