[Taxacom] two names online published - one new species

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Fri Jan 22 15:54:59 CST 2016

> This illustrates my point. Currently (and probably for a good while yet to
> come) only you (plus maybe one or two selected others?) have access to
> these logs. 

That is not correct.  As I made clear in my email, everyone has access to those logs. Just not via the website.

> Combined with your unrestricted editing rights as "Zoobank
> keeper", this gives you the power (which I have no reason to think that you
> have or would use, I'm just talking hypothetically here) to "rewrite history" by
> making hidden retroactive changes to registration details. 

Yes, this is correct - I do have the ability to edit the timestamp field in the EditLog Table, if I chose to do so.  However, what I do not have the ability to do is change the EditLogID value for each record.  This is assigned by the database automatically and in chronological sequence.  Thus, any effort to tamper with the time-stamp values (by me, or by anyone else) would be immediately discoverable due to a mis-match between the chronology of the timestamp values and the EditLogID values.  Moreover, the database is replicated, so there is a lower-level record of transaction logs managed by the databse itself, that I would not only need to know how to manipulate (I don't) but also be able to manipulate on all the replicated servers.  In short, although it may be technically possible to tamper with the editlog timestamp values in a way that would be difficult to discover, I suspect that the effort to do so would be rather substantial -- far more so than what I (or anyone else) has time to do.

> Anyway, if I did
> edit the record for Systematic Entomology, in order to introduce archiving
> data, you might have access to those logs, but would you in fact notice?
> Would a big red flashing light and siren alert you to this? My point here is just
> that details on ZooBank which determine the availability of published taxon
> names do not seem to me to be entirely secure or immutable. This is
> however something of a side issue.

You're focusing on the small problem, and ignoring the larger problem -- which is that there is not yet a formal determination on how the date of availability for purposes of nomenclatural priority is even defined (see my previous email).  Moreover, the difference between an un-verified registration record (i.e., all records in ZooBank), and a verified record (on which editing restrictions will be imposed) has not yet been defined.

So, perhaps you might consider re-directing your activities from the items I listed in the "unhelpful" catgory, and instead focused on the "helpful" actions, we can have a more productive discussion.  Specifically:

How do YOU think the date of availability for purposes of nomenclatural priority should be defined (see my previous email)?

What criteria do YOU think should be important for including in the record verification process?

How do YOU think that process should be designed?

What do YOU think the process for amending verified records should be?

I'm not trying to bait you.  These are legitimate questions.


More information about the Taxacom mailing list