[Taxacom] Why Defend the Code?

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Fri Oct 9 18:13:06 CDT 2015

Putting to one side the personal attacks aimed at me, and the associated false claims (e.g., I do not have "no position", I have an honorary position), I actually agree with Mike that "our system of nomenclature is under attack", and that this is a problem to be solved. I disagree with Mike that the way to solve it is to mindlessly defend the Code as it is. The Code needs to change in order to solve this problem. Specifically, it needs to be simplified so that increasing numbers of people don't just throw their hands up in despair about it and walk away. Claiming that anyone with half a brain can easily understand the Code is only going to frustrate those perfectly intelligent people who find it to be more difficult. Make it easy to do nomenclature, and the problem will solve itself.


On Sat, 10/10/15, Michael A. Ivie <mivie at montana.edu> wrote:

 Subject: [Taxacom] Why Defend the Code?
 To: "Taxacom List" <TAXACOM at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 Received: Saturday, 10 October, 2015, 12:02 PM
 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
 referred to below.
 I just received a private email asking why I would waste my
 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
 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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