[Taxacom] resend Kingdom Protista (and Subkingdom Chromista)

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Fri Oct 30 23:18:43 CDT 2015

Hi Tony,

Thanks for bothering to reply. Just to address two of your comments: 

(1) WP "notability": There is a strong consensus on WP to the effect that all species are notable enough for their own article. Most biodiversity editors on WP actually waste (I mean spend!) most of their time creating pages like this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyncostola_ochraula), which I think you will agree is not really all that helpful! However, there is a big enough community doing just that to continue (remember that WP policies, like "notability" lack very precise definitions, and don't have to be enforced - it is just a matter of the will of a big enough consensus).

(2)"the characters that distinguish it from closely related taxa might be of interest to include" Yes, but unfortunately, that could cause problems with OR policy ("Original Research"). For the example I gave, there is only an inadequate original description from 1880, with a lot of closely related new species discovered since then (many still undescribed). There is no published source to cite for distinguishing characters, in the modern context. I can recognise the species, based on my past experience in local museum collections. So, the best that I can do on WP is to add a photo of a specimen identified by me, since that is the only way OR can creep in without laying onseself open to challenge on WP.

(3)Since I am a curator on EoL, I could repeat the article there, except that I can't add the image to the article very easily, and there is nobody with both the ability and the inclination to confirm the ID from the image so that it would go automatically from iNaturalist to EoL, GBIF, etc., as a "research grade" observation. This is a big problem. I have thousands of images of species on NatureWatch NZ/iNaturalist, but there is nobody with both the ability and the inclination to confirm the IDs! Most of my confirmed ones are bloody plants!

The WP article on Peristoreus flavitarsis pretty much cites everything sensible that has been published on the species, apart from one ecological paper which classifies it as a "pasture pest"! This is nonsense, so best ignored (it is difficult to state on WP that a source is wrong, so best to just ignore it completely).



On Sat, 31/10/15, Tony Rees <tonyrees49 at gmail.com> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] resend Kingdom Protista (and Subkingdom Chromista)
 To: "Stephen Thorpe" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
 Cc: "Kenneth Kinman" <kinman at hotmail.com>, "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 Received: Saturday, 31 October, 2015, 4:45 PM
 I don't think
 it is a particularly good idea to attempt to redirect a
 discussion on higher classification per se into one of the
 merits of studying [higher order] systematics versus alpha
 taxonomy - if you want to do this, I suggest you start a new
 thread under that or a similar topic.
 Having said that, I will answer your
 question "What does the
 reader want?" [regarding an encyclopedic entry
 on species X] by saying "a concise summary of what is
 reportedly known about that species". In the example
 you give, that would presumably be, not a lot at the present
 time (although the characters that distinguish it from
 closely related taxa might be of interest to
 You might
 also give some thought as to whether every species described
 would fulfill Wikipedia's well known
 "notability" requirement, as I would have thought
 that at least some would not (although I think you could
 make a better case for all genera). On the other hand,
 compendia like Fauna Europaea, Encyclopedia of Life, Atlas
 of Living Australia etc. would be a natural home for
 whatever information could be gleaned about all species
 within their remit, whether "notable" by Wikipedia
 standards or not. So you might wish to pose the question,
 how does information from the general biological literature
 about any particular species (in particular the lesser known
 ones) reach, for example, Encyclopedia of Life, and what can
 be done to improve that process. However at the heart of
 your post is probably a more basic one, which is who
 researches the little known taxa in the first place, and how
 is their work funded... Again I think, requiring a topic of
 its own (and not a new one, probably)...
 Best - Tony
 Rees, New South Wales, Australiahttps://about.me/TonyRees
 On 31 October 2015 at
 13:03, Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
 not forget that higher classification is primarily just a
 way to organize species information, many species of which
 are very poorly known (in part because too much funding goes
 to higher classification). On this note, I would like to
 exhibit an example Wikipedia page for a poorly known species
 I would be very interested if anyone has comments on how to
 improve pages like this. What does the reader want?

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