[Taxacom] while we're on the topic...

Dennis During dcduring at gmail.com
Fri Mar 27 13:35:00 CDT 2020


Not only Wikipedia and Wikispecies, but also Wiktionary would benefit from
contributions of all kinds by taxonomy experts. Wiktionary is a good home
for material on the etymology of taxonomic names and for vernacular names
of taxa.  It is also a great place for specialist vocabulary of all kinds
in ALL languages.

On Fri, Mar 27, 2020 at 2:21 PM Tony Rees via Taxacom <
taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:

> I commend Doug for his suggestion. While I must confess that when I do edit
> Wikipedia, it is generally on non-scientific topics (such as my other,
> leisure interests), I certainly appreciate the efforts of those that do and
> find it an extremely useful preliminary guide to the existing literature on
> many taxa, especially since in my more taxonomy-related (databasing)
> activities I frequently encounter names of taxa, or relatively obscure
> groups of taxa, which previously meant nothing to me!
>
> And as Doug says, online is everything these days - especially when one
> cannot get to a library, or have moved away from an academic affiliation,
> with the various bricks-and-mortar resources (plus journal subscriptions)
> which come with that...
>
> Regards - Tony
> Tony Rees, New South Wales, Australia
> https://about.me/TonyRees
>
>
> On Sat, 28 Mar 2020 at 05:02, Doug Yanega via Taxacom <
> taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
>
> > While I suspect at least a few readers rolled their eyes at the
> > suggestion offered to John Grehan regarding entering taxonomic data into
> > Wikispecies and Wikipedia, I'd like to advocate this as a very
> > reasonable suggestion - though while maybe not for John's purpose, then
> > for any of us who have taxonomic expertise, access to primary
> > literature, and are presently doing much of our work online due to
> > various social distancing measures in place. There are a lot more laymen
> > and students around the world who are extracting scientific information
> > from the internet today, in part because of the recent crisis, so
> > helping improve these important resources is a very timely endeavor.
> >
> > Both WS and WP are substantial community crowd-sourced resources, and
> > it's generally true that typing a taxon name into Google will give one
> > or both of these wikis among the top hits, if not THE top hit. This
> > means that time and effort spent entering data into these resources is
> > not being wasted; it is being viewed by LOTS of people, and used by lots
> > of people. The utility of these resources depends upon quality control,
> > however, and that depends upon having *lots of taxonomists* who are
> > involved in seeing to it that the information is both *up-to-date* and
> > *accurate*. At present, it's a fairly small but dedicated core group of
> > taxonomists, including myself, who are handling the bulk of this work,
> > and it would be spectacular to have some more of you come join us in the
> > effort.
> >
> > You can start simple; have you published any peer-reviewed papers in the
> > last few years describing new taxa or revising an existing group? If so,
> > just go into WS and WP and see if the taxa in your work appear, and if
> > they follow the accepted classification. If not, then update things
> > accordingly, with citations to your work. The process of editing is very
> > straightforward and intuitive (most of what you would need to do can be
> > accomplished by cutting and pasting with editing of similar content;
> > even entire articles can be good templates), and - for the most part -
> > there are very few administrative policies you would need to be
> > concerned with. The two most significant are the "No Original Research"
> > policy, which means that until and unless you can provide a link to a
> > peer-reviewed citation that includes the information you wish to add (a
> > "Reliable Source"), you should*not*add it (otherwise it might be
> > removed), and the policy surrounding "Undue Weighting", which basically
> > means that if there are reliable sources that are in conflict*andno
> > community consensus* as to which is correct, then all should be cited
> > and the conflict discussed directly and impartially, rather than the
> > editor arbitrarily or subjectively choosing the one they prefer.
> >
> > The existing taxonomic infrastructure in both places is largely complete
> > down to the family level, so it is mostly the inclusion of ranks below
> > family that would be significant, though there are still some regions of
> > conflict in higher ranks in WS, where some recent large-scale changes
> > have not yet been fully incorporated (mostly because they are
> > labor-intensive changes). Again, so long as you are adhering to the
> > policies mentioned above, and not failing at the technical aspects
> > (e.g., formatting of citations and such), these resources work in a
> > ratchet-like fashion; improvements are retained, but not vandalism. The
> > more traffic a page receives, the faster any damage is fixed, so you
> > should never worry about whether a contribution you have made will
> > persist, or whether someone will come along and screw with it. WS in
> > particular sees essentially no vandalism at all.
> >
> > I will similarly put in a plug for iNaturalist, another crowd-sourced
> > project that could sorely use assistance from actual taxonomists, not
> > only to help correct glaring errors in their classification hierarchy,
> > but especially to help fix glaring errors in the identifications of
> > images that are posted on the site. I know a significant number of
> > instructors who - in lieu of being able to take students into the field
> > - are presently using (or intending to use) iNaturalist in their
> > teaching curriculum, and this means they REALLY need some help from
> > experts to prevent students from learning things that are untrue. For at
> > least a few of you, the process will work both ways, too - that is, the
> > photos on iNaturalist may very well contribute to your own research,
> > with new distribution and phenological data, or even the revelation of
> > entirely new taxa.
> >
> > I do hope that a number of you will step forward and start contributing;
> > now more than ever before we need to do what we can to ensure that
> > people have easy access to genuine science rather than misinformation.
> >
> > Thanks,
> >
> > --
> > 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)
> >               https://faculty.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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> >
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>


-- 
Dennis C. During


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