Wikispecies:Village Pump/Archive 40

High-order category system of Wikispecies

A while ago, back when Stephen was still around, I wanted to have an in-depth look at it. I never got around to it because I wanted out of the drama, but I'd like to have some talk about it now. There's some high-order questions we probably want to figure out (i.e. "Do we want have nothing in Special:UncategorizedPages?"), but this is really to discuss the strange categories that currently exist.

The highest order category currently number 30. I'll focus on those here (and delve into subcategory systems not discussed below at later times). I count the following:

Now in my opinion these groups fall into four different broader categories:

  • Clearly good categories (but which may need renaming or moving within the hierarchy)
    • A, E, G
  • Clearly bad categories (generally I consider all subcategories of these equally as bad categories)
    • B, F-1
  • Category in need of further discussions as to both organisation and usefulness
    • C, D, F-2

I will come back to discuss what to do with various bits of the hierarchy, but I believe the last three categories, owing to their complexity and/or need to talk about their usefulness, should be cleared first. Circeus (talk) 01:58, 18 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

@Circeus: I imagine this is coming up now in no small part due to my massive amount of edits. One of my goals in 2017 for Wikispecies is cleaning up and logically organizing categories but that starts with categorizing everything so that I can get a look at them all in the first place. Several months ago, I went through the most basic part of the hierarchy trying to bring some logic to it and it was only after I had finished the maintenance reports that I wanted to submit my "vision" to the community. (But please don't think I am trying to cut you off--I'm very glad that you are interested in discussing this.) Simply put, the root category should probably only have about a half-dozen options—including the meta category of Category:Wikispecies about help, maintenance, policy, etc. I very much hope the community wants to see navigation of the sort that Andy proposed above and that we think that the style I suggested from OrthodoxWiki is worthwhile. If anyone cares more about my opinions, I'd be happy to lay them out at length but I'm very much interested in reading others' take on this topic. Thanks again. —Justin (koavf)TCM 05:12, 18 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Actually it is completely unrelated to your work (although I'm aware that some preliminary work had been done in the interval). I started formulating my thoughts better a little after new year and had something written in my sandbox a little over a week ago.
I have a similar vision to your. In fact I expect/hope that eventually everything except what's in category A will get either moved down in the hierarchy or deleted altogether, but for most of what I've listed here (regardless of whether they were Stephen creations or not), I didn't feel entirely comfortable with unilaterally deleting them, plus I figure discussing whether we want to have "reference by topic" is a worthwhile discussion to initiate. I'm neutral on that issue. Circeus (talk) 06:05, 18 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

@Circeus: I commend your "courage" in opening this problematic Pandora's box. Since Stephen devised a plethora of categories, many of them conflicting and irrelevant, we're in exigency figuring out which we need and which we don't, and how to organize the ones we do need. My tendency is to altogether brush aside the categories we do have and to start out with a clean sheet. To resolve (1) Which are the essential categories we need? (2) How to organize them? Mariusm (talk) 07:32, 18 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

The categories I am most highly concerned with are those in group C and D. Group C are possibly relevant (as I explain below), but I lack expertise to really determine how relevant to taxonomy/nomenclaturet they are, but I'm not entirely clear that categories (as opposed to lists) are the most useful way to collate this information. Both category groups are (in my opinion) in serious need of a concerted reorganisation effort, and determining a useful hierarchy should not be left to single user: that's what lead to this... less than ideal system in the first place! Circeus (talk) 07:54, 18 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

My reasoning is that as the first step we have to concentrate and agree upon the main categories. We might follow this by turning our focus on the sub-categories for each of the main ones. The main categories can be for example:

  1. Taxon (s)
  2. Taxon Authorities
  3. Publications
  4. Journals & Books
  5. Residencies
  6. Geographic Locations

Mariusm (talk) 12:56, 18 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

My attitude towards categorisation in general is a reservation against new categories. (1) Every system of categories needs some maintainance work. When everybody is supposed to participate in maintainance, this needs consensus among a majority of the regular members of the community. If not, a start easily is made by somebody, but later on interests of the initiator may shift, and the category may get neglected. Moreover, personal capacities of WS are limited. So, in my opinion, we should be restrictive and accept only category systems, that really are helpful. But there is a strong reservation against every nice-to-have category, especially if the initiator cannot explain easily, why this is good and helpful. (2) I don't like the prospects of a messy mix of ideosyncratic categorisation systems, where categories are filled randomly. I don't like categories, where hardly anybody knows, what has to be in it and what should not be in. Ideally, a category should include most of the existing articles/subcategories belonging there, and not only some few of them, and there should be a minimum of misclassified entries. I am warning of making a quick start of some new categorisations in the hope, that someone else sometimes in the future will fill it.
This said, I would like to question also some categories under the "good" section A), especially in Category:Names, but also in some other main categories there. If there seems to be nobody left to continue with categorisation and maintainance, the category may well be deleted at all. Regards --Franz Xaver (talk) 17:09, 18 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

How I'm proceeding

Just to clarify: My goal is to prevent this discussion from escalating into a complicated nest of topics resulting in no consensus. As such I intend to proceed through in small, fairly easy to handle chunks to reach clear consensus upon in a progressive way. Because these three sets of categories have to be dealt with eventually, and represent somewhat similar issues (complicated, somewhat incomplete and isolated category subsets), I've chosen to start with them.

I fully intend to cover the entirety of the higher-order categories(including some thorny issues at the core of what Wikispecies is about, namely whether we are about "names" or "taxa"), but doing all of it all at once it a recipe for accomplishing nothing. So I would appreciate if we could try and keep the discussion on-focus? Circeus (talk) 17:56, 18 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

@Circeus: I have had a look at the categories you have isolated and I think that the majority, if not all, of B-on wards can be deleted with no harm to the project. They look just like as series of uncompleted or unsuccessful experiments and very confusing without the background thoughts. See here Oxynaspis joankovenae, New Zealand Threat Classification System, CASIZ overlap with Repository?, Baffling and Taxonomic theory very incomplete Regards Andyboorman (talk) 20:59, 18 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, most of the categories from B onwards (and some parts of A) seem to be problematic or unnecessary to me. --Franz Xaver (talk) 22:48, 18 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Fossil categories

This system is a mixed creation by Stephen, @Kevmin: and @Neferkheperre:, of which only the latter has been active of late. It mixes and matches physical source (e.g. amber), period (cretaceous, pleistocene, pliocene...), geography (Category:Geologic Formations) and taxonomy.

I believe to be made useful (i.e. if we keep it) it needs (in addition to being much more widely used) either a complete redesigning on bases agree by all (note that a completely different system is being used under Category:Ostracoda) or a reduction to the single Category:Fossil taxa (with parent category:Extinct taxa) at least until we have more editors interested in this specific area. The information is probably manageable as pages instead of categories in the meantime. Circeus (talk) 01:58, 18 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

I view the geologic formations categories (which should include amber categories as a subset) to be the temporal equivalent of the geographic locations categories for extant taxa. The ostracods category is something I dont understand either and there are subcategories in Category:Fossil taxa that are currently misscategorized.--Kevmin (talk) 16:37, 18 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Given that there is (as I understand it) a significant consensus against geographical categories, I'm not sure if that's an argument in favor or against them here. (Which is a separate issue entirely from having type information on name pages, for which I rather we were broad than restrictive.) Circeus (talk) 17:43, 18 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
In my opinion, we should consider some categorisation according to geological period. However, the rest seems to be unnecessary and may trigger the creation of a chain of subcategories with the potential to be unmanageable in the long run. Even the geological period would need some guidelines in order to keep it consistent. Anyway, I am not in favor to have fossils as a subcategory of Category:Extinct taxa. This would mash up paleontology with conservation issues, given the fact, that "extinct" is one of the assessment categories of the IUCN Red List. --Franz Xaver (talk) 23:03, 18 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]


These categories relate mostly to symbiotic or parasitic relationships. A discussion needs to take place with regard both to their usefulness overall and to how to organise them.

This is not an area of expertise to me, but I am given to understand that symbiotic and parasitic relationship quite often are tangentially relevant to taxonomy (notably in lichens). However given the rather... spotty coverage and unwieldy structure of these categories at this point I am somewhat at a loss as to the best way to treat them. Circeus (talk) 01:58, 18 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

At least this will need some clearance. How can Category:Parasitic Cirripedia be a subcategory of Category:Symbiotic marine taxa? As far as I see, in Category:Mangrove Symbionts there are at least some species included, that may be stenoecious species, but not at all symbionts. --Franz Xaver (talk) 23:12, 18 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]


This hierarchy is a creation of @Kempf EK:. It mixes both aspects of the fossil system (but with a markedly idiosyncratic category structure completely unrelated to that in Category:Fossil taxa) and bio/ecololgical categories, some of which I find of greatly dubious usefulness for wikispecies (e.g. Category:Luminescent Ostracoda). Circeus (talk) 01:58, 18 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Proposal for policy

Wikispecies:Categories Are we suggesting that there should be a policy regarding the creation/maintenance of categories? If so, I'd like to take a couple of weeks to talk about our category structure, proposed maintenance, and to draft up some copy for a vote around mid-February. Does that seem wise? —Justin (koavf)TCM 21:15, 18 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Addendum And lest it seem like I'm undermining User:Circeus' approach, I hope I'm not. I think that he is correct that we should have more specific conversations about particular issues with categorization that hammer out a definable consensus rather than a sprawling talk that resolves nothing. —Justin (koavf)TCM 21:59, 18 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
I don't think there's much of a need for a category-specific policy. In my mind this would ultimately be an extension of a content policy if we had a proper one... but we don't. We only have (as far as I'm aware) Wikispecies:What Wikispecies is not, and that page is clearly not detailed enough to clarify, for example, whether a category like category:publishers is appropriate. That page even states "Wikispecies do[es] not have any pages about the actual universities or museums themselves", which given that no one objected to category:repositories (and people in fact seemed to consider it good content), is clearly untrue.
Yes, I intend to eventually bring up this issue at some point, but maybe a separate debate need to be launched about content policy and the nature of Wikispecies' data. Specifically we can't seem to figure out if we store nomenclatural information in general (i.e. should all name have pages regardless of their taxonomical/nomenclatural status?) or "taxonomical" information only (i.e. we only have separate content pages for names in current use). These lead to significantly different approaches to categories. For example, if the former is accurate, then we have little justification for having categories with the words "species" or "genus" in them, for we are not interested in taxa, only in names of taxa. If the latter is accurate, then a _lot_ of pages for synonyms should have their data merged into the accepted name. Circeus (talk) 22:08, 18 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Some time ago, I had addressed the names versus species question. However, to my disappointment, there was not much response. Maybe, the reason was, that at that time Thorpe had claimed, that people at WS are unable to understand the question. Anyway, this would be another discussion.
Concerning a policy on categories, I wished that everyone understands, that an introduction of a new set of categories may have consequences for all of the WS community. In such cases, a discussion at the Village Pump should be required before implementation. The addition of these two new categories to the taxonavigation templates are an example. If these two categories are OK, everybody creating taxonavigation templates would be required to include these categories. So, probably everyone would be concerned and everyone should be informed, so that he could add these categories. In my understanding, we should define here, which kind of newly created categories require some discussion here. --Franz Xaver (talk) 22:41, 18 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Circeus: if I read you right, your primary task is to reevaluate what WS is and what it isn't. In this you departed from your initial goal of categories organizing. Please take in consideration that WS is an evolving project and as such it can't have too rigid restrictions. Some loose ends are essential to allow for improvements & adjustments. For example — we'll have to eventually address the incorporation of geographic distribution data which is an essential part of every serious catalog or species directory, yet you can't impose this by strict policy — it must gradually evolve from failed starts and trials into a coherent state. Mariusm (talk) 07:31, 19 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Mariusm: @Franz Xaver: @Koavf: @Tommy Kronkvist: I thought @Circeus: was after some consensus/thoughts about clearing out some rather useless categories before an in depth discussion about the topic or indeed the philosophy of WS. More of a maintenance task me thinks a bit like Repository links above. I think we should be grateful and support both initiatives. Having said that could the offending categories be delinked from taxon pages and parked as subcategories into Categories for Discussion? We could then agree to delete or develop them as required. Andyboorman (talk) 16:11, 19 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

I agree very much with this. For along time, there has been ongoing discussions from people with different opinions, it would be good to settle the relevant policy and working routines, maing the cooperation more easy. AND avoid conflicts. Dan Koehl (talk) 19:24, 19 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

A modest proposal

I think this comment of @Franz Xaver: resonates most with me:

I don't like categories, where hardly anybody knows, what has to be in it and what should not be in. Ideally, a category should include most of the existing articles/subcategories belonging there, and not only some few of them, and there should be a minimum of misclassified entries.

As such here's the three primary rules I think categories for taxa/name pages should be judged by:

  1. Is the category directly relevant to the taxonomy or the nomenclature, broadly construed, of the name/taxon on that page?
  2. Is it straightforward to tell, from the data one can reasonably expect to find on that page, whether the name/taxon belongs to that category?
  3. Is the category facially redundant with an existing page?

I was already working with criteria 1 and 3 in mind, but Franz' comment makes it abundantly clearl to myself what exactly was bothering me about the three category groups I've put up for discussion here.

By these criteria no category/subcategory under B,C or D is salvageable other than Category:Fossil_taxa, of which no subcategory is salvageable. Being a fossil taxa triggers a number of rules under the nomenclatural codes, and fulfills Criterion #1. All other details (time period, geological formation...) are essentially equivalent to geographical details for living taxa, which there is (As far as I know, correct me if I am wrong) broad consensus not categorise by, essentially because it fail this criteria. If they were onsidered to fulfill criterion #1, all categories in group B and C fall would still fall afoul of criterion #2, as only specialists of the relevant would be able to tell where they belonged at all within these categories. Categories of group C should probably be handled as material (i.e. list pages) in userspace, or are more useful to Wikipedia.

Both categories under F fall afoul of criterion #3, and their subcategories to one of the other two criteria.

Circeus (talk) 03:16, 20 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

First Deletion Round

@Neferkheperre, Franz Xaver, Dan Koehl, Koavf, Andyboorman, Mariusm, and Kempf EK: Alright. I'm aware there's only so many people active around here, and so I'm going to assume any strong opposition would have been voiced by now

Based on the relative lack of such opposition and the basic criteria outlined in the section above, I'll start clearing out the categories in group B a week from now (February 1) unless someone object. Category:Littoral Marine Species's contents I will convert into a list format for use in Neferkheperre's userspace. Circeus (talk) 20:40, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

A new category

Category:Monotypic taxa Not sure where to put this so I figured I would just alert other editors that I have created it. —Justin (koavf)TCM 04:44, 23 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

In my opinion, this category is not a useful one. Please, delete it. --Franz Xaver (talk) 05:33, 23 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Actually it is not really clear, where to use Template:Moty, including this category. Should it be used e.g. for the family Symplocaceae, which contains only one genus with however about 300 species? (This would be contrary to the usual practice in botany.) Should it be used for every species, which at present is not subdivided into subspecies? In this case, it would concern the vast majority of species. --Franz Xaver (talk) 06:00, 23 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Franz Xaver: Do you think the template should go as well? —Justin (koavf)TCM 06:02, 23 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, this should also be removed, however only after a final discussion. There was some controversy on this template – see Wikispecies:Village pump/Archive 26#Help. The template was blanked for some time. I do not know, whether anybody is using it at present. --Franz Xaver (talk) 06:08, 23 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Of course I disagree that moty should be blanked and deleted. It is to me clear to where it can and is used - for a monotypic taxon at whatever rank where I commonly encounter its use in scientific literature. I really do not see a problem except where monospecificity is required. I was also going to suggest that Category:Monotypic taxa be created as the first stage of using categories. We then could have a hierarchy of subcategories perhaps culminating on Monospecific. It seems that Franz disagrees. Of course I will go with consensus, if moty is to go, even though I do use it, for example on Brassicaceae where the term is much used by the specialists in lierature. However, I must point out that moty was unilaterally deleted by Stephen Thorpe without consensus or vote, although there was some agreement by others for his action. Andyboorman (talk) 13:43, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Andyboorman: OK, I could accept a solution, where Category:Monotypic taxa is a category containing e.g. Category:Monospecific genera, Category:Monogeneric tribes, Category:Monogeneric families. --Franz Xaver (talk) 14:00, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Franz Xaver: @Koavf: my thoughts as well. We then could go to a situation where moty is removed from the name section of the main taxon pages and the data allocated to respective categories - is that the way forward through the semantic maze? Andyboorman (talk) 14:05, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Im blocked again

Just to inform, I have once again been blocked on SwWp, see Rfc Swedish Wikipedia blocking policy violation and Administrator abuse. :( Dan Koehl (talk) 19:26, 19 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

identification with species

Anyone who knows about or interested in determining this photo with the correct species. Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 13:57, 20 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

I'll check more later, but for the moment I've put it in Category:Unidentified Ploceus. In principle though, it is a captive bird, and therefore very suspect, including a high risk of it being a hybrid - I would certainly not use it to illustrate any article about the species, least of all the Wikispecies page. Find a good quality located wild bird for use instead. - MPF (talk) 23:21, 20 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Template deletion

Template:Moty Should this be deleted or remain? Note the discussion linked by Franz Xaver above. Thoughts? —Justin (koavf)TCM 06:10, 23 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

This template is used in circa 1000 pages. I think it may be used (and even a category added) but only in monotypic genera. Also the graphic isn't quite appropriate. Mariusm (talk) 06:43, 23 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Mariusm: I made and then deleted the category over the past four hours. Do you think the template is valuable? —Justin (koavf)TCM 08:52, 23 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Koavf: I think that the category is needed more than the template because it lets group all the mono-species genera for whoever interested. I suggest making 2 categories: (1) monotypic genera (2) monotypic familiae (meaning families containing one species only - to group these will be really interesting). There can be also 2 corresponding templates, each containing the respective category within. Mariusm (talk) 10:29, 23 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Koavf: and @Mariusm: I use the template for various taxa, but would not disagree with changing its appearance. LInking to ctaegories is fine as well and could be useful. Andyboorman (talk) 11:20, 23 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
My issue with the term "monotypic" is, that there are different practices of use in zoology and botany, as described in en:Monospecificity. By this, the term has lost much of its clearness and significance. If it should be agreed, that higher taxa containing only one species should be tagged somehow, I would rather prefer having two different terms (= categories, templates), i.e. "unispecific" for botany and "monospecific" for zoology. This could be used for tagging monospecific/unispecific taxa at any rank. Anyway, "monospecific" can also be used in botany. So, using the term "monospecific" for both zoology and botany is also acceptable to me, but I have a strong reservation against the somewhat ambiguous term "monotypic". As Mariusm, I would rather like to have a category only approach. --Franz Xaver (talk) 13:55, 23 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Please, see also the argumentation by Lundqvist (1990) in Taxon 39: 138 – JSTOR. (The proposed change of the Code did not pass, but the argumentation shows one more facet of this problematic term.) --Franz Xaver (talk) 14:14, 23 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
I agree with Marius. "Monotypic" is simply not clear. If created, it should use a code-neutral term, like "single-species genera" or "single-genus families" as appropriate. Circeus (talk) 05:35, 24 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
I disagree with Marius and Franz, as to me monotypic is a perfectly clear and understandable word commonly used in science, even though the exact meanings differ according to disciple. These differing meanings can be picked up in the WS dictionary. By the way unispecific and monospecific are linguistic synonyms in the English language, whose precise meanings also will only be apparent in context, due to differing meanings of the word specificity . Monotypic may not have strict status in formal taxonomy, but neither do many other common terms used here and in literature. By inventing our own sets of terminology we are going against the precept that WS does not invent, but reflects. When a peer reviewed scientific paper writes about a monotypic family, subfamily, tribe or genus they are making legitimate points of classification and taxonomy and using the tag on a taxon page here is not misleading but a mere reflection. All IMO of course. Andyboorman (talk) 10:28, 24 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
To clarify my position, I'm not opposed to the word "monotypic" per se. I'm opposed to its unqualified usage, meaning grouping monotypic-genus with monotypic-familia with monotypic-tribe etc. It makes no sense to lump all these instances together in a single category. Moreover, by the phrase "monotipic taxon" one can't be sure if it means "a single species in a familia" or "a single genus in a familia". By specifying "monotypic genus" and "monotypic familia" for two distinct cases, and by referring exclusively to "a single species in a genus/familia" all this confusion will be avoided. Mariusm (talk) 11:30, 24 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Andyboorman: That's the problem with the term "monotypic": It is commonly used and everyone thinks, he knows the meaning. However, if one is looking more closely, one will notice, that the term is used to mean different things. The terms "monospecific" (or "unispecific") are less ambiguous. ("Unispecific" is less commonly used. It's meaning is the same.) That's not an invention of a new terminology – see DOI: 10.1111/j.1096-3642.2010.00681.x, DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12507, DOI: 10.3372/wi.34.34201. These terms are not derived from "specificity" but from "species". Thus, they clearly are meaning taxa (genera, tribes, families) containing only a single species. On the contrary, a "monotypic family" may mean either a family like Symplocaceae (see [1]) with more than 300 species or really a monospecific family like Ticodendraceae (see [2]. If WS was trying to restrict the meaning (or use) of the ambiguous term "monotypic taxon", actually someone may object this to be an invention. Regards --Franz Xaver (talk) 16:44, 24 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Franz Xaver: I do not disagree with your examples, both are monotypic and only Ticondendraceae is monospecific/unispecific. So what actually is the problem with that? Monospecificity is a particular more restricted case of a monotypic genus. Monotypic still has value as a description and is commonly used and understood as such for many reasons, surely? As to @Mariusm:'s point, it may have value to be that pedantic to enable greater clarity for the less specialist user. However, if it comes down to producing a hierarchy of categories then that is another debate. As to etymology I believe it is a bastard word derived from Greek, monos + Latin, species, form, facere, to make. It also has particularly defined usages in population biology, ecology and medicine, how geeky is that! Regards Andyboorman (talk) 19:04, 24 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Andyboorman: Yes, for linguistic reasons, being a blend of Greek and Latin, the term "monospecific" is less correct than "unispecific". That's one of the reasons, that a minority, especially in botany, is preferring "unispecific". The other reason is the use of "monospecific" in ecology and medicine. (Also "unispecific" sometimes is used in different contexts.) The usage in ecology is not really discouraging, as also there it means "containing only a single species". --Franz Xaver (talk) 06:06, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

[Undent] @Andyboorman: It's not even clear to anyone in this discussion what type of pages the template should be/is meant to be used on in the first place. Helwingiaceae and Cannaceae are monogeneric, but not monospecific. Phyllonomaceae is both, yet the genus didn't get the template. Why would that be? Finally while using it on a species page may be, strictly speaking, accurate, it is probably the least helpful place I can think of to put this template on. (And besides I'm pretty sure "monotypic" is not normally used for species in any branch of biology.) Circeus (talk) 21:17, 24 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

@Circeus: Phyllonoma is neither monotypic nor monospecific, the page has now been updated to add some extra 3 species - a bit of research would show that the old edit using GRIN was incorrect, as happens all too often. Regards Andyboorman (talk) 11:32, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Well said, Circeus. I don't get how we entered this pedantic discussion on semantic subtleties, when we didn't agree yet on (1) Which rank will carry the categories. (2) How to divide them properly so they might accomplish some useful purpose. Mariusm (talk) 05:14, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Mariusm: Well said. Monotypic, unless qualified, is not rank specific and so could be used as the highest level category surely? Regards Andyboorman (talk) 11:38, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
If we want to tag monospecific/unispecific genera/tribes/families and monogeneric tribes/families, we should call them "monospecific" and "monogeneric" respectively. @Circeus: Some examples for the use of "monotypic species": DOI: 10.1080/11263500903374625 and [3]. --Franz Xaver (talk) 06:17, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Please stop bickering on linguistic nuances and let's make a decision on the important issues. Can we agree on making 2 categories: (1) monotypic genera (meaning genera with one species only) (2) monotypic familiae (meaning families with a single species)? Mariusm (talk) 13:03, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Short answer: No! --Franz Xaver (talk) 13:07, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
If you call it "monotypic", you will not be able to avoid, that families like Symplocaceae or Phyllonomaceae get categorised there. Folks will not understand the intention, that only families with a single species should be included. --Franz Xaver (talk) 13:23, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
When genus-group taxa are originally named, type species are designated, at least after 1900 thereabouts. Older genus-group names may have type species designated subsequently, not originally. Many genera are named with only one species assigned in original publication. This is monotypy, and this mandates type species designation. Otherwise, monotypic has little practical use, as most genera will acquire more species. If we do establish monotypic categories, we will have much extra work keeping up, as statuses change. I have never seen monotypic families used in literature, as family-group names are derived from genus names. Neferkheperre (talk) 13:29, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Neferkheperre: In literature you can find everything, e.g. DOI: 10.1163/193724087X00216, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2013.1067. --Franz Xaver (talk) 13:51, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
The above contribution by Neferkheperre shows another unterstanding of the term "monotypic", i.e. a taxon name with only one type (holotype, lectotype, neotype) and not with several syntypes. @Neferkheperre: Did I understand correctly? Also the argument by Lundqvist (1990) in Taxon 39: 138 (JSTOR) follows this line. However, as it seems, this is really a minority position. --Franz Xaver (talk) 14:09, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

[Undent] Here is my original meaning, from ICZN Code: "68.3. Type species by monotypy. When an author establishes a new nominal genus-group taxon for a single taxonomic species and denotes that species by an available name, the nominal species so named is the type species. Fixation by this means is deemed to be fixation by monotypy, regardless of any cited synonyms, subspecies, or unavailable names, and regardless of whether the author considered the nominal genus-group taxon to contain other species which he or she did not cite by name, and regardless of nominal species-group taxa doubtfully included or identified.

68.3.1. If a new genus is divided into subgenera at the time its name is established, and if the nominotypical subgenus contains only a single species, that nominal species is deemed to be the type by monotypy of the new nominal genus."

My original thought was type fixation for genera, but I can see broader implications. Neferkheperre (talk) 15:16, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

@Neferkheperre: this debate here isn't on "monotypy" in the sense of taxon fixation; it is something quite different. It may be interesting to group Genera and Familia where only one species is described so far. Surly maintaining this list will be difficult but nevertheless I think it worth trying. @Franz Xaver: I'm not fixed on the word "monotypic"; what interests me is the substance behind the categories which we might establish. Mariusm (talk) 16:06, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Mariusm: OK, we can agree to have categories for genera and families, which contain only a single species, if you are not fixed on the word "monotypic". --Franz Xaver (talk) 16:29, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Franz Xaver: How about "Category: Genera with a single extant species" and "Category: Familiae with a single extant species"? Can this pass your perlustration? Mariusm (talk) 05:14, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Mariusm: These names would be acceptable to me. However, they are rather long. Why not "Monospecific genera" and "Monospecific families" (or familiae)? --Franz Xaver (talk) 08:14, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
For me it's all right. The question is will the average user understand what these names stand for. Of course we can elaborate on the meaning in the explanatory prefaces. What do the others think? Mariusm (talk) 10:21, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Internal error

I have on my computer an internal error: [WIdFvwpAAD8AAVa-hv0AAACF] 2017-01-24 12:17:03: Fatal exception of type "ConfigException". Who can help.PeterR (talk) 12:22, 24 January 2017 (UTC) Its ok now again PeterR (talk) 12:22, 24 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

This was affecting several (all?) WMF projects for a few minutes, around the time you posted, yesterday. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 13:56, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]


{{Blocked}} seems to be broken, see, for example its use on User talk: Can anyone fix it, please? @Koavf and Tommy Kronkvist: You (and some IPs) edited it most recently. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 14:06, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Gambel's quail - original description

I have been doing some research on Gambel's Quail and started with the Wikipedia entry. There was a misspelling, but one with consequences to understanding who did the original description of the species. The spelling of the author's name in the parenthesis before correction was (Gambell, 1843); I corrected the spelling by removing the double 'l'). My question is: Should I add a citation for the original description? Note that was my first correction and I have never edited or adding anything else on Wikipedia. Kesdonahue (talkcontribsblock logall projects)

Yes, that is entirely fine.Circeus (talk) 20:23, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

GMail sending email alerts to spam

Heads up if like me, you get email alerts from Wikispecies, and use Google Mail.

I just found a bunch of mine in my spam folder :-( Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 22:15, 25 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

@Pigsonthewing: I also use email notifications and stopped getting them specifically from this wiki but not other WMF ones... —Justin (koavf)TCM 03:04, 30 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Approval of DanKoehlBot

Crystal Clear action run

I kindly ask the Wikispecies community to give User:danKoehlBot Botstatus, and approve the Bot on the above stated motivation, and that it be given 'bot' rights.

Link to approval is right here.

Purpose of the bot is spell-checking and corrections of typos, with AWB.

Please also note, that there is a workaround for the typo configuration to accept a typ/bad spelling, just put the word inside this template: {{Not a typo|StrangeWord}} and the word will be neglected by AWB., this is important when running spell-check with a bot.

Dan Koehl (talk) 04:15, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

@Dan Koehl: how can you ensure the spelling checker won't tag and "correct" geographic names, Latin names, foreign-language reference titles etc. which are present in abundance due to WS taxonomic nature? Mariusm (talk) 10:27, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

A fair question, @Mariusm: I think thats unlikely cause it hasnt during the last months of testing. But there would be a need for test and evaluation period. Dan Koehl (talk) 10:43, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

I would like to see what the spell checker will make of the following text: "This familia incertae sedis revalidated by Johnn et al., 1885" Mariusm (talk) 15:57, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
OK, let me try that. Dan Koehl (talk) 16:01, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]


Have I understood right, that now there is a consensus to subst:ing BASEPAGENAME and change all [[BASEPAGENAME]] into [[susbt:BASEPAGENAME]] ? Dan Koehl (talk) 06:25, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

And all Category:something (New Zealand), should be deleted? Dan Koehl (talk) 07:00, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Yes to both. Andyboorman (talk) 08:39, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

@Andyboorman, PeterR, Thiotrix, Mariusm, Accassidy, Neferkheperre, and Floscuculi:, and others, please confirm that my five last deletions of categories are correct, and according to consensus? Dan Koehl (talk) 09:46, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

AND, please also confirm correct removal of : Category:Campylomma (New Zealand), as well as removed templates like: {{NZOR}}, ==NZOR== using AWB, is also reflecting the latest consensus. Dan Koehl (talk) 10:12, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

@Andyboorman, PeterR, Thiotrix, Mariusm, Accassidy, Neferkheperre, and Floscuculi:, can someone please confirm that theres a consensus to delete all categories something (Australia) and category something (New Zealand), please? Dan Koehl (talk) 14:29, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

There is a discussion in village pump here about this; and more recently here. Burmeister (talk) 15:27, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

There's a consensus to delete each and every Category: <<taxon name>> (<<any country>>)Mariusm (talk) 15:48, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, these categories are redundant and unnecessary, as this information can be placed on taxon mainpages. Please do check each for reference citations. Occasionally some can be found which are not templated, and some templated citations with no other transclusions. If someone is busy, just leave them for me. Neferkheperre (talk) 15:53, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Confirmed delete all categories something (Australia) and category something (New Zealand) after a check through, as well as similar country categories that come into the net. Regards Andyboorman (talk) 14:07, 27 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Very good, and thanks @Mariusm, Burmeister, Neferkheperre, and Tommy Kronkvist:, just wanted to make sure. Ill have this done in two steps, presently listing all Category: <<taxon name>> (<<any country>>) in Category:Candidates for speedy deletion, and will afterwards mass delete all the files, but I was thinking it may be good if everyone who feel concearned can look through the list, which is now constantly growing... (thousands of files)
You can see this operation going on at recent changes, if you click on show bots. Dan Koehl (talk) 16:11, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Please note NZOR is now a universally dead link so there should be no need to be concerned about it. Andyboorman (talk) 14:07, 27 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Andyboorman:, I noticed that Template:NZOR was used on apr 400 pages, Im removing it now with User:KoehlBot. I guess we can delete that template? Dan Koehl (talk) 14:42, 27 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Dan Koehl: Yes delete the template. I have tried to resurrect its link but to no avail, as the search procedure is very different. NZOR itself has changed radically since the NZOR template was created see here Cyclosorus and so a new template will be needed if required. Andyboorman (talk) 14:53, 27 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
I will change all [[BASEPAGENAME]] into [[susbt:BASEPAGENAME]] as well. Dan Koehl (talk) 16:05, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
To get rid of all NZ related cats is fine goal. --Floscuculi (talk) 18:44, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

@Mariusm, Burmeister, Neferkheperre, Tommy Kronkvist, Floscuculi, Andyboorman, and PeterR: @Thiotrix, Mariusm, Accassidy, and Franz Xaver:, did you look into the apr 4 000 files, now stored and listed in Category:Candidates for speedy deletion?

How long time would you need to check them up? When can I start to delete them? As you may understand, I would be happy to have a consensus to delete them, before I start? Dan Koehl (talk) 18:50, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

I have been whittling at them all morning, at intervals. I have found several reference citations in need of transclusion. I have been deleting as I go. I didn't realize we had so many. Neferkheperre (talk) 19:20, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Some categories contain reference templates, which need to be transferred to the respective taxon page. Sometimes the respective species taxon page is not listed in the genus taxon page. Sometimes synonyms are mentioned in the category, which are missing in the respective taxon page. So, the categories have to be checked individually. I checked some and deleted them immediately, after having done the necessary edits in the taxon pages. In my opinion, mass deletion in a batch modus is not possible. --Franz Xaver (talk) 19:25, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
OK, good I waited to delete, theres no hurry, but I think its good we now have them stored together in one place. Thres probably more than the +4 000, and they were only (New Zealand), Im now hunting the (Australia) categories.
I will simply wait for discussions and decision what to do with them all.
Later, Ill start to convert all the [[BASEPAGENAME]] into [[susbt:BASEPAGENAME]] Dan Koehl (talk) 19:39, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
*just noticed the discussion*
For these category, rule of thumb should be to delete any category that doesn't have the sequence "* {{Aut" (or "*{{aut") on it. This sequence is diagnostic for untemplated reference. Not all such references (e.g. stuff about invasive species) will be good, but they all need to be checked manually.
At least in this way Stephen's meticulousness is helping us. Circeus (talk) 22:20, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

@Dan Koehl:. Sorry I just got to this. What do we gain by changing to the [[susbt:BASEPAGENAME]] convention? I have missed any suggestion as to the advantage it conveys to repay the extra typing. Accassidy (talk) 21:53, 26 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

All well, @Mariusm, Burmeister, Neferkheperre, Tommy Kronkvist, Floscuculi, Andyboorman, and PeterR: @Thiotrix, Mariusm, Accassidy, Franz Xaver, and Circeus:, so far no decision has been taken regarding what to do with the categories, and although I have understood that there is a consensus to change all [[BASEPAGENAME]] into [[susbt:BASEPAGENAME]], but its never to late to debate.
Since you came in later Accassidy, and most probably not everyone has taken part of our discussions, I was reminded that this started with a small group of members, regarding a topic where all have their right to take part of decisions. Whatever will be decided, I guess there will be alot of work, which would benefit on being shared by as many as possible. Maybe I should send a mass message, inviting all members to this discussion? We should be very sure about what we are doing, when and if we delete some 4 000-8 000 categories? Dan Koehl (talk) 01:07, 27 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
I'm pretty sure consensus if for deletion of the categories (I've deleted I believe well over a thousand manually). It's just that not all of them can be straight up deleted. I've provided an easy criterion to tell which shouldn't be auto-deleted. I have no opinion re: the Basepagename thing,. Circeus (talk) 02:52, 27 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
I'm don't think that converting [[BASEPAGENAME]] into [[susbt:BASEPAGENAME]] is a good idea. The advantage of [[BASEPAGENAME]] is it saves retyping when species are getting new combinations. I advice to drop this conversion for now and have a poll on this. Please, @Dan Koehl:, can you specify exactly what are the advantages in converting [[BASEPAGENAME]] into [[susbt:BASEPAGENAME]]? Mariusm (talk) 06:45, 27 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Hi all, and thanks for the automated message: it's been a while since I've been here. If I remember well, the categories with the taxon + country was meaningless because a taxon can be endemic in more than a country, and with the globalisation started in the XVI century with european travellers navigating all around we cannot say what origins from where, e.g. sheeps are from NZ or Europe :) Here my grain of salt: for distribution maps and similar information, it's always better to have a template in the page (with countries or continent codes, so that doing a search it will be easy to find information). The deletion job shouldn't be done "by hand", but using a bot on a dump, of course. For the [[susbt:BASEPAGENAME]], Mariusm captured the main reason not to do it, imho. I would use redirects instead. --Ruthven (talk) 08:03, 27 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Accassidy, Alfredalva, Andyboorman, BanKris, Burmeister, Circeus, and Ed Uebel: @Faendalimas, Floscuculi, Fagus, Franz Xaver, Hector Bottai, Jianhui67, and Jessen: @Koavf, Korg, Mariusm, MPF, Michael K. Oliver, Murma174, and Neferkheperre: @Orchi, PeterR, Pigsonthewing, RLJ, Ruthven, Thiotrix, and Tommy Kronkvist:, I agree with you that a poll would be good. Would you care to set up a poll for this? The poll may include bullet list where memebers can submit advantages/diadvantages, for the respective systems, [[BASEPAGENAME]] and [[susbt:BASEPAGENAME]]? Dan Koehl (talk) 10:27, 27 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

I'm all for getting rid of the BASEPAGENAME entries by substing them; they can cause unexpected problems, most noticeably when moving a page due to its taxonomic rank being changed (e.g. a subspecies split as a species). - MPF (talk) 23:31, 27 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

@MPF: Can you make an example please? I know that I joined the discussion late, that I might be bothering, but I am still convinced that we can find a better and more flexible solution. --Ruthven (talk) 10:42, 29 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
It's ages since I ran into one so finding an actual example would mean digging a long way back through my contribs. But if one imagines a case where e.g. Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii is split to become a species Phalacrocorax desmarestii; if it had had BASEPAGENAME in, the following would be left without a careful re-check:
Familia: Phalacrocoracidae
Genus: Phalacrocorax
Species: Phalacrocorax aristotelis
Subspecies: Phalacrocorax desmarestii
when it ought to be changed to:
Familia: Phalacrocoracidae
Genus: Phalacrocorax
Species: Phalacrocorax desmarestii
Since the purpose of using BASEPAGENAME is to automate editing, there would be a strong tendency for the necessary checks and required "manual" editing to get neglected. - MPF (talk) 11:31, 29 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Help me on this, because I'm not sure of having understood everything. BASEPAGENAME is the name of the page. In your example, you have written [[Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii]] in your page. When you change the name of the species (i.e. you move the page), you still have [[Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii]] when you would like to have [[Phalacrocorax desmarestii]]. It is correct?
If this is you problem, you can use the magic word {{BASEPAGENAME}}, that always write the name of the page. So, if your problem is the Taxonavigation where {{Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii}} should be transformed in {{Phalacrocorax aristotelis}} (the new template you made for the splitting), you just have to write {{ {{BASEPAGENAME}} }} (mind the spaces). NB: It the template doesn't exist, you'll naturally have a red link. --Ruthven (talk) 12:40, 29 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, you have to change [[Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii]] to [[Phalacrocorax desmarestii]], and to remove the previous parent species line [[Phalacrocorax aristotelis]]. My point is that if you have to edit 'manually', you will see and remember this need, and will do it; if you assume that automation will do it all for you, you are very liable to forget to do particularly the latter. - MPF (talk) 11:27, 30 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
So in both cases, if the user doesn't pay attention, this will end up in a red link or a mistake. The most logical would be to not use {{BASEPAGENAME}} because the basic user is not aware of magic words and Mediawiki subtilities, so just write [[Phalacrocorax desmarestii]] instead, without the BASENAME thing nor doing any subst:. All is more natural and if there is an error, it will be a "manual" error. --Ruthven (talk) 18:06, 31 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Links in VN-section

Never saw before, that the VN-section contains links to the corresponding WP-pages: IMO this is superfluous, as the WP-links are provided by Wikidata now (left column). --Murma174 (talk) 10:33, 27 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Agree, this seems to be newly implemented? Dan Koehl (talk) 11:03, 27 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
To my impression this was implemented by one user in 2009: and subsequently copied by other users. --Murma174 (talk) 17:23, 27 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Impracticable!!! Burmeister (talk) 17:29, 27 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Agreen, @Dan Koehl:, think your bot can handle that? Circeus (talk) 19:27, 27 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Maybe, let me have a look... Dan Koehl (talk) 20:22, 27 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Yes @Circeus:, I believe so, see my edit. The question is, how to fish for those files? Dan Koehl (talk) 20:55, 27 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Bearing in mind that bot operation is obscure to me:
  1. check pages transcluding {{VN}}?
  2. Edit {{VN}} so that the presence of [ throws up an error category?
Circeus (talk) 20:59, 27 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
If, as I have suggested elsewhere, we make this template fetch names from Wikidata, then it could also build links, and do so on the fly, so that they would always be up to date. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 21:47, 27 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Would still be kinda redundant with the interwiki, wouldn't it? Circeus (talk) 22:10, 27 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Circeus: I disagree only to the extent that it would be useful for search ont he site. —Justin (koavf)TCM 03:18, 30 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Circeus, Murma174, and Burmeister:I think it was only one user who added links, I removed a couple of his edits, can you find any more of them? Dan Koehl (talk) 11:01, 29 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]
IMO, I would leave the links. It allows us at least to know whether they come from wikidata or are written manually. And what happens with more than one translation :es:rabirrubia/rubia? Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 14:29, 29 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]