User talk:Curtis Clark

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What do you think of my "rename and expand" proposal. I agree strongly with your concerns, but also think the current version doesn't really work as an article in its own right. --EncycloPetey (talk) 01:50, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

San Francisco meetup at WMF headquarters[edit]

Hi Curtis Clark,

I just wanted to give you a heads-up about the next wiki-meetup happening in SF. It'll be located at our very own Wikimedia Foundation offices, and we'd love it if some local editors who are new to the meetup scene came and got some free lunch with us :) Please sign up on the meetup page if you're interested in attending, and I hope to see you soon! Maryana (WMF) (talk) 19:25, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Abutilon × hybridum[edit]

Since you mention the possibility of a different name for the Abutilon ×hybridum article ...

The old suspicion that Abutilon ×hybridum, inter alia, is not an Abutilon (that is not congeneric with Abutilon theophrastii has recently been confirmed. There is a paper in preparation introducing a new name for the relevant group (Abutilon sect. Pluriovulata and Bakeridesia subg. Dipteron); this was trailed at Botany 2011. When this is published we would have an alternative name (e.g. Callianthe hybrids, though that would be somewhat broader, but better defined, than Abutilon ×hybridum). There is a possibility that there is a pre-existing name with priority, but this remains to be investigated.

On the other hand horticulturalists are still referring to Abutilon vitifolium, while botanists moved it to Corynabutilon 40 or more years ago Lavateraguy (talk) 11:01, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

Thanks. Supports my contention that the subject is notable even if the name could be better.--Curtis Clark (talk) 05:12, 1 February 2012 (UTC)


Hi Curtis, we talked a long time back about an inline version of the above - an idea which was quashed. Looking at it again it occurs to me that it could be greatly improved if e.g. 'The standard author abbreviation Brot. is used to indicate this individual as the author when citing a botanical name' were changed to e.g. 'The standard author abbreviation Brot. is used to indicate Félix Avelar Brotero as the author when citing a botanical name'. The name would be taken from the title of the article in the same manner that the template:commonscat does i.e. using the title as default if no name is provided. I think that the change would make the language less stilted, something that is certainly to be wished. Let me know what you feel. regards Paul venter (talk) 16:29, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

In general, I like the idea. You should probably raise it on the template talk page.--Curtis Clark (talk) 18:12, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
OK, will do - hope it gets some response! Paul venter (talk) 18:37, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
It would seem that the discussion has come to an end. Would this be the appropriate time to suggest that as nobody was opposed to the idea, but only had reservations about the way a modified template would operate, that launching a test template might be a good idea? Paul venter (talk) 16:28, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree.--Curtis Clark (talk) 16:31, 23 March 2012 (UTC)


The solution at MoS you support will be used to force lowercaps on all bird articles. The argument that WP:RS use UpperCase for Bird Names is not accapted by the Caps Warriors, who bluntly state that generic style guides are more important than all the bird literature combined when it comes to caps or not. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 03:25, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

I have never been in favor of capitalizing common names. I am willing to admit that bird names are effectively proper nouns, because they equate more or less one-to-one with species. But that itself I find problematic, because the existence of these official "common" names causes the loss of actual vernacular names. And I would find it an especial travesty if an article capitalized truly vernacular plant names to maintain consistency with bird names: "The Northern Mockingbird perched in a California Bay before flying to a Weeping Birch."
That said, I've been willing to support the ornithologists, although I disagree with them. But the horse I do have in the race is referencing names (orthography and all) with reliable sources, and the offered solution would accomplish that.
I guess a sticking point for me is consistency. If bird names are proper nouns, and plant vernacular names aren't, there's no reason to enforce consistency. I could live with bird names being capitalized in running text in bird articles, but that would be the extent of it.--Curtis Clark (talk) 04:31, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I happen to be in favour of capitalizing English names of species (my spelling of "favour" may give a clue to why I differ from Curtis Clark; there are significant differences in the relative usage of the two styles between North Americans and elsewhere). But either way the argument that there is some difference between the English names of birds and the English names of other organisms is surely ridiculous. The Botanical Society of the British Isles has a list of standardized English names for British plants, which I would always want to use precisely as presented (as I do e.g. in the checklists I maintain for a National Nature Reserve). How can the status of these names be different to those of standardized bird names? Peter coxhead (talk) 10:27, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Aye, there's the rub. If it were only as simple as engvar! AOU bird names are demonstrably different from US plant names. There are factions in the US who want to standardize plant names, but fortunately (IMO) they are not well-organized. I probably seem overly dramatic when I talk about cultural imperialism, but we already have an international standardized set(s) of names, regulated by the ICN, ICZN, and other codes, and I've never seen the need to erect an English-language parallel system. My sympathies are entirely with documenting official and quasi-official English-language names from around the world, but IMO Wikipedia should have only one "official" system for internal use, that of binomials.
And I want to reaffirm that I'm talking about running prose. I support using the orthography of reliable sources in lists and article titles.--Curtis Clark (talk) 16:47, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
On both of these points I certainly agree. The British Mycological Society has recently published a set of English names for fungi; there was even a competition to invent them. Why on earth invent names for obscure species which no-one incapable of using a Latin name will ever be interested in? As a grumpy old man, I can only say that it's another all too common example of modern dumbing down, of trying to be populist in the hope of being more popular. If it could be agreed on, using the orthography of reliable sources in lists and article titles but lower case in running prose would be a very sensible compromise; sadly, I suspect that positions are too entrenched at present to get agreement on this. However, I'd completely forgotten that I originally came to your page for a different reason, which is now below. Peter coxhead (talk) 17:37, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Rejection of Cactus and conservation of Cactaceae[edit]

I've just been writing about this at Cactus#Taxonomy and classification. The sources I can access aren't very specialized as regards taxonomy, so I'd be grateful for an expert check of what I've written on this, if you have time. Peter coxhead (talk) 17:37, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

That sounds about right, but I'll need to dig up some of my Cactaceae literature (assuming I haven't given it all away) to check. The "unusual situation" is uncommon but not unique; iirc, Caryophyllum" is a nom. rej., leaving Caryophyllaceae in the same situation.--Curtis Clark (talk) 18:26, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I didn't know about Caryophyllaceae; from what you say it seems that "unusual" is ok as a description for Cactaceae, although the situation is not quite as unusual as I thought. What's not absolutely clear in my sources is the reason for the rejection of Cactus; they suggest it was because it had become used as both a genus and a family name. While it's doubtless true that non-botanical literature used "cactus" for the family, it surprises me that this would be thought relevant to a decision under the Code. If you do manage to dig anything up I'll be very interested. Thanks. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:41, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I rather suspect it's because Linnaeus used the name Cactus, which in Classical and Medieval Latin refers to the cardoon (Cynara cardunculus). This creates considerable confusion, and I have no idea at all why Linnaeus would have applied this longstanding name of a Mediterranean composite to the entirely dissimilar and unrelated New World Cactaceae. --EncycloPetey (talk) 03:41, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Iirc, one of his members of Cactus was likely a Melocactus species, which, with its fuzzy cephalium, vaguely resembles a cardoon capitulum. --Curtis Clark (talk) 03:48, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Ah, that's a very interesting point (the resemblance between the Melocactus cephalium and the cardoon capitulum); none of the sources I've seen so far make this connection – they just connect the spikiness of cacti with the spikiness of the cardoon. It fits the history well. A species of the modern genus Melocactus is said to have been one of the first to arrive in Europe in the late 15th century (Anderson 2001:456). J. P. de Tournefort published Melocactus in 1719 (one of four genera apparently published before 1753); the derivation is melon (apple) + cactos, referring to the shape of the body. (Cactus melocactus L. is part of the modern Melocactus caroli-linnaei N.P.Taylor – another nice taxonomic point since if it had been an animal it would have been transferred to "Melocactus melocactus".) Linnaeus' Cactus is generally regarded as a shortening of Melocactus. If Curtis Clark's explanation of the name can be sourced it would be nice to add to the article.
The answer to why Cactus was rejected will be in the 1905 Vienna Rules, but they don't appear to be online, and at present I can't access a copy. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:13, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
It's hard for me to imagine that I'm the first person to make the connection, but I thought of it myself, and have never seen a reference. (I once independently derived the Hardy-Weinberg equation, and only at the end of the process realized why it looked so familiar.)--Curtis Clark (talk) 15:17, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
I found a bit more on the history of the name which seems to me to strengthen your suggestion. Melocactus was apparently first called Echinomelocactus by de Tournefort, before being shortened. As echino refers to the spines and melo to the body shape, it's even more plausible that cactus refers to some other feature.
Now you need to publish a note somewhere, so we can source it and put it in Wikipedia... Peter coxhead (talk) 09:10, 11 February 2012 (UTC)
On the other hand, "spiny melon thistle" might only refer to a general resemblance. I looked at some cardoon heads on Commons, and the resemblance is vague enough that I'd want to find a reference from Linnaeus's era. Some Cirsium are a somewhat better match.--Curtis Clark (talk) 04:00, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

Botany status[edit]

Please see Talk:Botany#Where_to_go_now. Thank you. 512bits (talk) 15:59, 7 April 2012 (UTC)


There is a present for you on my user page.512bits (talk) 02:18, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

Thanks!--Curtis Clark (talk) 04:14, 8 April 2012 (UTC)


Answered on my talk. You might want to review Taxonomic_rank#Terminations_of_names, which gives my attempt at pronunciation for all the regular endings (though I left out optional syllables). Presumably this one should be changed, but maybe others as well. — kwami (talk) 04:53, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

Botany GA nom[edit]

I've nominated this for GA now. Big thanks to you for all your kind help.512bits (talk) 21:55, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Roscoea cautleoides or Roscoea cautleyoides[edit]

Thought I'd continue this thread here as it's not relevant to Cooksonia. Older sources all use R. cautleoides as the spelling (e.g. the Flora of China), and this is definitely the form used by Gagnepain (everyone accepts this). However, the IPNI and the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP) don't even have the name R. cautleoides, if you search them. Although The Plant List does find some infraspecific taxa under R. cautleoides, it gives the names as synonyms of R. cautleyoides. So I decided to use Roscoea cautleyoides as the article title, because this seemed to be the most recent usage, although all the older sources use the spelling without a "y". I then looked for a reason, and the only one I could find online was that Cautlea was invalid and should be Cautleya.

I didn't know what spelling Jill Cowley's 2007 monograph The Genus Roscoea used, as I've never seen the book; she used cautleoides in her earlier papers. This morning I found a review of the book here. It says "Cowley correctly uses the spelling cautleyoides (the name honours Sir Proby Thomas Cautley, ..." However, it seems to me that the -oides ending makes it clear that the name cautleoides doesn't of itself honour Cautley; it says that the species is related to the taxon Gagnepain knew as Cautlea, so this argument isn't relevant. Where does the ICBN/ICN justify changing the orthography of names using -oides?

Anyway, right or wrong, cautleyoides is the spelling now firmly established in the recent literature. Peter coxhead (talk) 06:58, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

ICBN (I don't know about the ICN) "60.1. The original spelling of a name or epithet is to be retained, except for the correction of typographical or orthographical errors and the standardizations imposed by Art. 60.5 (u/v or i/j used interchangeably), 60.6 (diacritical signs and ligatures), 60.8 (compounding forms), 60.9 (hyphens), 60.10 (apostrophes), 60.11 (terminations; see also Art. 32.7), and 60.12 (fungal epithets)." I can see no justification for regarding cautleoides as an orthographic error, so the only justification for changing it would be that it is a typographic error. And "60.3. The liberty of correcting a name is to be used with reserve...", with the example being especially telling: '* Ex. 7. The spelling of the generic name Lespedeza Michx. (1803) is not to be altered, although it commemorates Vicente Manuel de Céspedes (see Rhodora 36: 130-132, 390-392. 1934). - Cereus jamacaru DC. (1828) may not be altered to C. "mandacaru", even if jamacaru is believed to be a corruption of the vernacular name "mandacaru".'
I've done a lot of work with Eschscholzia; for about the first 100 years, people wanted to correct it to Eschscholtzia, since in the Latin alphabet his name was most often spelled Eschscholtz. But the Cyrillic spelling Эшшольц can be, and was, transliterated in other ways (one modern way would be Eshshol'ts), and so there was no clear evidence of it being a typographic error, and once the code became explicit (iirc the 1905 Vienna Code), people switched back to the original spelling.
But the issue is that if "authoritative" sources (especially IPNI) inappropriately correct names, it will take someone in publication slapping them in the face to get them to change it (and maybe not even then). The bacteriologists went for names in current use and avoided all that, but botanists are going for a de facto names in current use by accepting wrong names in compiled sources.--Curtis Clark (talk) 02:09, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
And it turns out my concern about Ehrendorferia was misplaced (I thought it should be Ehrendorfera):
Recommendation 60B
60B.1. When a new generic name, or epithet of a subdivision of a genus, is taken from the name of a person, it should be formed as follows:[...]When the name of the person ends with a consonant, the letters -ia are added, but when the name ends with -er, either of the terminations -ia and -a is appropriate (e.g. Sesleria after Sesler and Kernera after Kerner).
So I won't be writing that paper for Taxon after all.--Curtis Clark (talk) 04:01, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
I think that this recommendation (i.e. optionally allowing -i- after -er) must be relatively new. The older guides to botanical Latin I have are firm that the -i- is incorrect, and I recall alpine enthusiasts insisting on Saxifraga burserana not S. burseriana. But this seems to be a dead cause. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:01, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
There's no option for species:
'60C.1. When personal names are given Latin terminations in order to form specific and infraspecific epithets formation of those epithets is as follows (but see Rec. 60C.2): If the personal name ends with a vowel or -er, substantival epithets are formed by adding the genitive inflection appropriate to the sex and number of the person(s) honoured (e.g., scopoli-i for Scopoli (m), fedtschenko-i for Fedtschenko (m), fedtschenko-ae for Fedtschenko (f), glaziou-i for Glaziou (m), lace-ae for Lace (f), gray-i for Gray (m), hooker-orum for the Hookers (m)), except when the name ends with -a, in which case adding -e (singular) or -rum (plural) is appropriate (e.g. triana-e for Triana (m), pojarkova-e for Pojarkova (f), orlovskaja-e for Orlovskaja (f)).'
Dan Nicholson in an article in Taxon years ago made a case that names commemorating women should not have the -i- in any case, since Latin classically treated female names differently, but his recommendation never seemed to catch on:
'If the personal name ends with a consonant (except -er), substantival epithets are formed by adding -i- (stem augmentation) plus the genitive inflection appropriate to the sex and number of the person(s) honoured (e.g. lecard-ii for Lecard (m), wilson-iae for Wilson (f), verlot-iorum for the Verlot brothers, braun-iarum for the Braun sisters, mason-iorum for Mason, father and daughter).'
--Curtis Clark (talk) 15:28, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
(1) However, in spite of 60C.1, S. burseriana is now the norm (IPNI only has this spelling). However, 60C.1 doesn't cover the addition of -ana to a personal name, so perhaps this case isn't covered.
(2) In the light of your comments, I e-mailed IPNI and WCSP asking why cautleoides had been changed to cautleyoides and whether there was a publication supporting this change. I set out a version of the reasons both you and I gave above as to why it should not be changed. To my astonishment, IPNI (in the person of their "Sr. Nomenclatural Registrar") replied today (Sunday!) saying that someone else had raised the same issue (was it you?) and that they would immediately change their entry. So as of right now, IPNI has cautleoides and WCSP has cautleyoides. Which of course means that I need to change Roscoea cautleyoides. I hope this doesn't count as OR on our part. :-) Peter coxhead (talk) 22:33, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
Woohoo! No, it wasn't me. Congratulations on getting it fixed! The problem with burseriana is that it's governed by a recommendation, not an article, and 60.3, which is an article, cautions against changes. If it were burseriana in the original protologue, I can't see how it could be realistically changed, but if it were burserana, changing it goes against both an article and a recommendation.--Curtis Clark (talk) 22:43, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
The plot thickens! Rafaël Govaerts from the Kew WCSP says that the correction to "cautleyoides" is right. His e-mail to me argues as follows:
Gagnepain says he names the new species for the genus "Cautlea", however this is an orthographic variant of Caulteya (named after Cautley Art. 60.11) and as Art. 61.4 says "Whenever such a variant appears in print, it is to be treated as if it were printed in its correct form". In other words Gagnepain writes that he named it after "Cautleya", therefore the epithet needs to be corrected as well. Do remember that only one orthographic variant is valid (Cautleya, Art. 61.1) and invalid names do not exist (for the nomenclatural purposes [of] Art. 12.1). The most common such case is all Buddleia that need to be changed to "Buddlej..." as IPNI did.
So as of right now, IPNI has "cautleoides" and WCSP has "cautleyoides". I've pointed this out to them both, so we'll see who prevails. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:43, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
So it all hinges on Gagnepain's statement that he named it for Cautleya. Effectively what Govaerts is saying is that an orthographic correction of a generic name applies retroactively to all species (and I assume other ranks as well) explicitly named after it. I can accept that (indeed I find no fault in reading the rules that way), but it sure opens up a can of worms.--Curtis Clark (talk) 18:52, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, I've read the original Gagnepain source (it's scanned somewhere I can't find at present) and it's clear that he named it after what was at that time called either the genus "Cautlea" or the section "Cautlea" of Roscoea. But this name was not based on a valid publication, and when the name was later established it was spelt "Cautleya". So if you accept that all orthographic corrections apply retroactively however they have been used (whether to form specific epithets, family names, or whatever), then it should indeed be Roscoea cautleyoides. But as you say, it opens up a can of worms. Peter coxhead (talk) 20:09, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

Pleistocene Rewilding[edit] (talk) 17:38, 15 June 2012 (UTC) I am not trying to be rude, but I do not think you had to delete everything. I think that if we post a few fictious things it will expand our creativity. ;)

Please actually take the time to read Wikipedia:No original research. Creativity is a good thing in many areas of life, but, in the sense of adding ideas without reliable sources, it is not allowed at Wikipedia. --Curtis Clark (talk) 17:58, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

Sonchus oleraceus[edit]

Curtis: I undid your Undo because it was only arrogance. The summary "no change to content" means what it says: there was no altering the information, it was only a text edit. As a botanist, you have no special qualifications in writing, and you made no corrections of error in your field. The article was disorganized and repetitive and contained such ridiculous verbiage as "its delectable nature" for a roadside weed. On the one matter relevant to your exalted status as A Botanist, the name initial capitals was only made consistent: "Sow thistle" is not by the linked convention, since Sow is not a person's name; and since the majority of those terms were double-capitals, I simply added consistency.

I suspect that you are such an arrogant prick as to make this into a war. Go ahead; and I will continue to make more simple and consistent and helpful language available to ordinary readers in any article I happen on where that seems lacking. Panicum (talk)

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Panicum (talkcontribs) 03:16, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

I wonder who's the prick here. If "only a text edit" doesn't constitute a change in content, I have no idea what does, since the bulk of the content is text. My initial inspection indicated that you had added and deleted information. That is not necessarily bad, but misleading edit summaries (not inadequate edit summaries, but clearly misleading ones) don't speak highly of you (IMO, they have "prick" written all over them, and although I was willing to assume good faith, your response to me indicates that my first reaction was correct). So now I'll have to go through your edits, leave the useful ones, and revert the misleading ones and the ones that contravene style. And then it's up to you to make it an edit war. But you've basically told me that you don't understand what "content" means, so I don't have much hope that this will end well.--Curtis Clark (talk) 03:36, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
The irony is that, had you not left a misleading edit summary, I would have reverted very little of it (so far, the only part I have exception to is the common name capitalization). Something like "copyedit" would have actually been informative and not seemed intentionally misleading. If you hadn't called me a prick, I'd even consider apologizing, but it's too late for that now.--Curtis Clark (talk) 04:18, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

You are being quoted at the article algae[edit]

But it has nothing to do with you, other than that I liked what you said. "I've decided I don't give a fuck."

Eau (talk) 00:45, 13 August 2012 (UTC)


I noticed your contribution on the talk page of the article Tree where you mentioned that you were not happy with my rewrite. I am baffled by the response on that page as I thought the original article most unsatisfactory. Please could you explain what is wrong with my version. Have I got the botanical details wrong? Is the structure unsatisfactory? Is it too simplistic? Is my article really the rubbish that Mark Marathon tries to make out? Or is this the wrong way to go about improving an article as basic as Tree? Please be frank. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 08:05, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

It is intrinsically difficult to make major edits to articles like tree. Because of the scope of the article, it will cover many different viewpoints (in this case, off the top of my head, forestry, forest products, ornamental horticulture, silviculture, plant morphology, plant community ecology, plant autecology, plant systematics and evolution, and conservation ecology, and no doubt many more). Experts in all these fields will have their own opinions. And on the one hand, experts shouldn't dictate how much of their specific areas should be in a general article, but on the other hand, the article cannot be factually wrong from ignorance of, or indifference to, expert opinion.
I would never make major edits to an article like tree, but somebody has to, and there's no reason it can't be you. But you started off really bad, and in my opinion have possibly done long-term harm to the article by freezing it in an edit dispute. It's not all your fault; Mark Marathon could have left better edit summaries, and Drmies, who is an administrator and should have known better, completely circumvented the bold-revert-discuss cycle by reverting Mark's (proper) reversion, and then blocking him for edit warring, when he was only following the rules. So, sadly, "the well is poisoned".
In addition to this initial unfortunate history, there are two other big things that stand in your way:
  1. You're focusing on "what you did wrong" rather than moving forward. What you did wrong was to effectively step into the lion's den and start editing carnivore, but you're here now, no one has actually killed and eaten you (you weren't even blocked, like poor Mark), and if you set ego investment aside, you'll get a lot farther. I've looked at your user page, and the articles you've put most of your edits into are a different sort of beast; even when there are controversies, they are generally limited to one set of experts.
  2. And the biggest problem is that you changed organization and content at the same time. There needs to be a Wikipedia guideline on this, because it has caused no end of problems. When you change content alone, the diff tool allows other editors to evaluate your changes and respond to them individually (even if you make a bunch at once, which is less desirable than making them one at a time). When you change the organization, without changing the content, and indicate that in the edit summary, most editors will assume on good faith than you didn't change content, and either accept or revert and discuss your organization changes. But when you do both, the organization changes break the diff so that the only way to find the content changes is to laboriously, manually compare the texts. All of us have done that at one time or another, but none of us likes it, especially if it's dropped in our laps.
If I were in your place, I'd suggest a topic rearrangement, and if the other editors agree, make the changes. Then I would start introducing content changes, beginning with the ones that seem uncontroversial. Then I'd move on to the ones that others have objected to, and hammer out consensus. As I pointed out to Eau, one doesn't author a good or featured article on a topic this broad; one negotiates it.
I haven't developed any specific objections beyond the concerns that Mark raised. If I have the opportunity to examine diffs, I may be willing to participate in discussions, but I don't have much time to devote to it, and I certainly won't take the time to go through all your changes as a unit and critique them.--Curtis Clark (talk) 16:24, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your comments. When I substituted the new version I had no idea that it would cause such a furore. Tree was a poor article, in my opinion, and had undergone no substantial change for a long time. I didn't expect anyone to be interested in what I had done. I will know next time not to act similarly.
What do you mean by "I'd suggest a topic rearrangement"? Do you mean that I should suggest we change back to the old version and incorporate some of my sections into it? Or what? I thought "Be bold" was a wikipedia mantra. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 18:01, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
The reason BRD works is because most changes are non-controversial, and it would take extra time and effort to suggest them on the talk page, get no response, and go ahead and implement them anyway. But occasionally there is resistance, and that's where revert and discuss come in, and basically you should have been prepared for it.
My apologies if I've misconstrued, but when I looked at your edits, it appeared that you had moved stuff around as well as changing it. Getting buy-in on a new arrangement of the old content is a good first step. An alternative would be to change the content under the old arrangement, but I got the idea you thought that would be less desirable.--Curtis Clark (talk) 22:30, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

Defining and illustrating polyphyly[edit]

Curtis, could you please look at User:Peter_coxhead/Work/Phyletic terminology#Diagram to illustrate polyphyly? It tries to explain (again!) my puzzle over how to define and illustrate "polyphyly". I've felt obliged to put this on one of my user pages, rather than a talk page, because of the need to include quite a number of diagrams. I'm inviting Petter Bøckman and Peter M. Brown to look at this, too. There may be others who should be asked to comment. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:12, 15 August 2012 (UTC)

Invitation to join WikiProject Indigenous languages of California[edit]

Southern Paiutes.jpg Hello! I've seen you around on Indigenous languages of California articles ... Would you consider becoming a member of WikiProject Indigenous languages of California, a WikiProject which aims to expand and improve coverage of Indigenous languages of California on Wikipedia? Please feel free to join us.

Djembayz (talk) 22:08, 26 August 2012 (UTC))

Thanks for the invitation. I've bookmarked the project page and may well contribute, but I don't even "join" projects where I'm active, such as WP:PLANTS.--Curtis Clark (talk) 22:37, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

Claim at Arbcom[edit]

(Take it off my talk page.)

A barnstar for you![edit]

Peace Barnstar Hires.png The Barnstar of Diplomacy
Thanks Curtis, it was very kind of you to clear out the warfare from my talk page. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:01, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

Thank you so much! This is the first barnstar I've ever received in years of editing. Glad I could help.--Curtis Clark (talk) 16:03, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

The barnstar that should have been awarded long ago[edit]

Fossilized Barnstar.png A suitable barnstar for someone whose contributions have long been fundamental to Wikipedia
Your barnstar-deficient status is a serious lacuna! I gave this barnstar to another editor, who seemed a bit dubious about receiving it, but (1) I greatly admire the artwork and (2) it seems to encapsulate that your valuable contributions are of very long standing, so I hope you like it. Perhaps it could be used to date a molecular clock, if you happen to know anyone who believes in molecular clocks. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:16, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

I've known molecular clocks, but I've never dated one. :-) Thanks!--Curtis Clark (talk) 16:35, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

LOL! Sminthopsis84 (talk) 20:03, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

Definitions (a different set)[edit]

One of the items on my "to do" list for a long time has been Succulent. Having managed to improve Cactus and get it to GA status, I thought I might look at Succulent. So far I've managed to add what I think is a reasonable start at a definition section, but I keep running into what is in effect the same problem we've had over "phylies": definitions in different sources simply aren't clear and certainly not consistent. If you use a particular set of textbooks and sources, you get used to certain definitions and think that these are universal, but reading around quickly shows otherwise.

Something I'm trying to understand is the relationship between the terms "succulent", "geophyte" and "xerophyte" (as defined botanically – the horticultural definition of "succulent" is another matter entirely).

If you think of a full Venn diagram for succulents, geophytes and xerophytes, do all the parts exist? For the succulent part of the diagram I think that all possibilities do:

  • Succulent, geophyte, xerophyte: bulbous plants adapted to dry environments seem to fit this category, e.g. Haemanthus.
  • Succulent, geophyte, non-xerophyte: Crinum species often seem to belong here, being found along stream banks; deciduous woodland geophytes, such as Trillium or Galanthus species, are more adapted to surviving lack of light in summer, I think, than drought – certainly drying out the bulbs of many Galanthus species is fatal (woodland Lilium too).
  • Succulent, non-geophyte, xerophyte: all leaf and stem succulents.
  • Succulent, non-geophyte, non-xerophyte: Crassula helmsii which is a problem weed in my part of the world is definitely succulent but grows in water or at the edge in mud.

I'm not so sure about the geophyte and xerophyte parts of the Venn diagram. One particular reason for asking you is that some sources seem to call annuals adapted to dry environments by rapid growth and flowering "xerophytes", but this doesn't appear to be universal. Since I see that you wrote the article in FNA on Eschsholzia, would you call the annual forms of E. californica "xerophytic"? Peter coxhead (talk) 12:40, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

This is all such a can of worms, we should probably move over to wikiproject animals. :-) Even the basic texts (especially the basic texts?) grapple with "xerophyte". One classification of xerophytes you may encounter (I'm working on memory here, and don't have references at hand) is a basic division into "drought avoiders" and "drought tolerators", with the latter divided variously, with the divisions including succulents, sclerophyllous plants, and pubescent plants. Dryland annuals are drought avoiders. I find no value in calling them xerophytes, since at the anatomical level they (as a class) don't differ from annuals and herbaceous perennials of wetter habitats.
Among the drought-tolerant plants, succulence and sclerophylly don't have a lot of overlap; by my recollection, most of the overlap is in the monocots (things like Agavaceae). Pubescence can co-occur with both succulence and sclerophylly, as well as being a "stand-alone" feature.
And, as you've noted, there are plenty of succulent plants that are not especially xerophytic. Succulence is a way of maintaining a mass of vacuoles (I can't think of any examples where the succulent tissue de-emphasizes vacuoles), and vacuoles can be used for a lot of things: water storage, CAM photosynthesis, accumulation of secondary metabolites, and other things I'm forgetting.
Having not even looked at the article, I'm wondering whether drought-tolerance should simply be mentioned as one adaptive value of succulence, and readers referred to other articles for details. I'll take a look later today, and then maybe I can make some useful comments. :-) --Curtis Clark (talk) 14:43, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the prompt response. It's very reassuring to see that it's not just me that finds terminology here very muddled. (I doubt that zoology is much better!) I agree that succulence is logically and actually independent of drought tolerance, but then you have Beentje's Kew Plant Glossary including "adapted to dry environments" in the definition of succulence. Sigh... Peter coxhead (talk) 15:06, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Animals are much easier than plants. But, since succulence is about water storage, why isn't it an adaptation to aridity, climatic or seasonal? Thanks for cleaning up the frankenlettuce, Curtis, before it appeared on the main page. Eau (talk) 15:20, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
As Peter pointed out, there are succulent crassulas that live in hydric environments. One might argue that this is just a retained apomorphy of the family, but they also share CAM photosynthesis, and there's evidence that the larger vacuolar space of succulent CAM plants is important as a way of both storing and buffering malic acid accumulated during the night. The pathways that support CAM go way back (Isoetes is a CAM plant). Because CAM is found in many dry-adapted groups, we tend to think of it as a xeromorphic adaptation, but there are also hydric CAM plants spread across several families.
What I don't know offhand is whether there are any non-CAM succulents that are not dryland plants--Curtis Clark (talk) 18:32, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
I did not know that Isoetes was a CAM plant. I have to present a report on the evolutionary significance of C4 photosynthesis in December, maybe I'll find out more about CAM along the way. Eau (talk) 00:39, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
CAM is probably very important to C4; it appears to be the older pathway, so it seems to be the "parts already laying around" that were used several times to independently derive C4 (nor that c4 plants came from CAM plants, but rather than all vascular plants may well have the basic metabolic pathways). You'll probably learn a lot that could be incorporated into the articles.--Curtis Clark (talk) 04:12, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
That would be nice. The photosynthesis articles have some good information, but need expanded for the general audience. However, it is an area where some good editing has been done, just need more work from the volunteer army. Eau (talk) 05:13, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Mention at User talk: Michel Laurin[edit]

You may have noted today's edit war in Reptile: Revision history. While Laurin is often quite opinionated and sarcastic outside of Wikipedia, recent scoldings on his talk page are totally unwarranted. At User talk: Michel Laurin#Welcome, really I try to offer encouragement, taking you as an example of persistence despite frequent disregard for your expertise. I hope that you don't mind. Peter Brown (talk) 22:44, 2 December 2012 (UTC)


Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten (Antwerpen) Victoria.jpg On achieving Emeritus status in the Real World
P.S.: You probably want to stay well clear of those horses. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 14:40, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Thanks! And I just yesterday ran across otium, which reminded me to edit my page.

If you knew me IRL, you'd know that I stay clear of horses by either keeping them between me and the ground, or keeping them at the end of a rope or a pointed finger. :-) --Curtis Clark (talk) 15:50, 12 December 2012 (UTC)


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Hello, Curtis Clark. You have new messages at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Plants.
You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{Talkback}} or {{Tb}} template.

LadyofShalott 04:59, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Botanist input[edit]

I could use some expert attention on WP:Manual of Style/Organisms, a draft proposal. I've been working on it off and on for about four years, but have run up against the limits of my own knowledge of the codes as they are applied in real life. — SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 19:57, 2 January 2013 (UTC)


Thanks for your help, much appreciated. Montanabw(talk) 21:49, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

Any time. I do recommend that you be explicit on ways he can help the project; outside scrutiny can be a force for good, if it is channeled productively.--Curtis Clark (talk) 22:00, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
Curtis, Montanbw, I assume that's in reference to myself. What I'm contemplating at this point is bringing up the matter at WT:AT. The idea that Exmoor pony is a more natural name than Exmoor (pony) is hardly a crazy a one, it's just one that article title policy can be (and mostly has been) interpreted as rejecting. I think it should be revisited. It's not about horses in particular, but all breeds of animal and cultivars of plant (that have articles named like this, e.g. Louis de Funès (rose), rather than by Genus species 'Cultivar'). If Exmoor pony is a better name then so is Siamese cat vs. the current article name Siamese (cat). Thoughts? My goal is inter-category consistency, not pushing a "my way or the highway" preference for one format over the other. PS: I've responded to you, Curtis, at User talk:SMcCandlish#One of the reasons gardens are walled. — SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 22:28, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
In digging into policy for my requested move, I did find the bit on natural disambiguation, which, as a general policy, makes more sense (at least to the end reader) than parenthetical disambiguation, which, IMHO works mostly for things like Mercury, where you'd never call stuff "Mercury element" or "Mercury the God" whereas natural disambiguation works for things like Neapolitan. As a reader, I'd be happier with the style reading about the Siamese cat than the Siamese (cat), parenthetical dabs being unnatural and a weird wiki-ism - I often forget how those things look to the new wiki user, but I can recall the first time seeing parentheses and kind of being put off, even though I quickly "got" why they were there. I guess I'm a writer more than a scientist; I like things to be accessible. JMO Montanabw(talk) 22:45, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
But you don't see the parentheticals unless you've become an editor, not a reader. That's an argument that parenthetical fans will make at WT:AT. — SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 20:49, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
Um, no, a parenthetical title appears as such to everyone. Montanabw(talk) 22:51, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
"Natural disambiguation". I really like that. The problem I was running into when thinking about this was twofold: (1) if we insist on disambiguating a disambiguation from a common name, it adds an additional burden, and an additional opportunity for dramaz, and (2) How the heck do you figure out whether "Shire" or "Shire horse" is the common name? Googling shire horse -"shire horse" isn't going to be especially helpful [I just now did it, about 1,460,000 results vs about 776,000 results for "shire horse"], so it all devolves into reading hundreds of references, and trying to convince others who won't bother themselves to read them.
And it's true that people naturally disambiguate (even if they've never used the word before). If both "Shire" and "Shire horse" are used in RS, WP:AT could prefer the less ambiguous one (apologies, SMcCandlish, if that's what you're proposing at AT; I haven't read that yet). The lede could say "The Shire is a breed of horse" or some such if it is necessary to clarify the breed name (I was in the van on the Dobermann/Doberman Pinscher wars, and ended up insisting that if it was to be at Doberman Pinscher by consensus, it had to be in American English).
I will read the proposal with interest.--Curtis Clark (talk) 02:38, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
I see that you haven't done anything at WP:AT yet. My sense of things is that it's good to wait until you have it somewhat fleshed out and have some allies, but I already know we play the game differently. Based on what you've written here, I'm very likely to be on your side, so let me know how I can help.--Curtis Clark (talk) 02:45, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
No, there's no big hurry on this. I like to flesh proposals out and think on them extendedly. As for the Shire horse case, we need to remember not to be fetishistic about reliable sources; WP:COMMONSENSE is important. If we know, as native English speakers, that "The Shire is a breed of horse..." is perfectly intelligible, and that "The Norwegian Forest is a breed of cat..." is confusing, we do not need a reliable source for either of these facts; they're just common sense. If someone want to assert that the official breed name, in whatever registry organization(s) in whatever country/countries, of the horse is "Shire Horse" and that "Horse" is always properly included, that is an assertion that needs reliable sources, since it contradicts natural language in at least one way for sure, possibly two. Such a case was made, and sourced, at American Quarter Horse (which absent such proof would have been at American Quarter horse, but never American Quarter. — SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 20:49, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

Joshua tree[edit]

Your opinion is needed at Joshua tree talk page. -- Robinlarson (talk) 20:36, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Small, ignorable, greeting[edit]

Hi Curtis, I just wanted to let you know that there has been considerable discussion off-line about how much we miss your insights, how much we hope that your otium is progressing well, and that we shouldn't disturb you. The page that claims that Wikipedia doesn't need you or someone like you is neither humorous nor accurate, but the real world (and Taxacom) needs you too. The pile of nonsense here is so deep anyway, that there is really only any point in fixing the parts for which one can see an immediate use. Very best wishes to you and your equine friends. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 13:15, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

I'm still on Taxacom (although after John Grehan started the whole "purpose" thing, I was ready to filter it to trash). My issue here wasn't SMcCandlish (I was actually starting to understand where he was coming from), but rather a non-botany RM that was shot down by a long-time user because he didn't like it, the desysoping of Kwamikagami and Encyclopetey (when other more egregious acts by admins just got hand-slaps), and ironically an action by the bureaucracy against SMcCandlish.
I start back to teaching on Tuesday (my semi-retirement one quarter on, one quarter off). I'll be doing Form and Function in Plants. I've been thinking more about Wikipedia lately (I was looking up something and ended up seeking out and restoring the deleted first paragraph of the lede, which several months of vandalism reversion had missed), so I may be back sooner rather than later.
I feel like I probably know who you are IRL, but can't quite figure it out. If your aim is to be anonymous on Wikipedia (which I commend), you can congratulate yourself!--Curtis Clark (talk) 17:37, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
We've had some admin drama while you were gone that caused me to give up in disgust for a while too, but then it progressed to a point that looked so much like natural selection in progress, the bullies driving out everybody else, that I've come back. It's probably pointless. I plan to be far less diligent about reporting vandals to admins in future; there is really no point in tangling with that derived species in the other niche, if it can possibly be avoided. Poor Encyclopetey seems determined not to come back as a regular editor, which is a great pity. I don't really know Kwamikagami.
Ah, teaching, that's what dragged me in here in the first place, that and arguing with a journal editor who knew only a later homonym of a venerable technical term. Form and Function sounds rather fun; perhaps an excuse for a field trip to New Zealand, to key out the divaricating shrubs (or perhaps it's horizontal gene transfer, and nothing to do with function at all).
I look at most of the headers in Taxacom, then open just a few with subject lines that hint at possible usefulness, and those from you or Robin Leech (he was often very funny, though sadly perhaps less so since his accident) or John McNeill straightening everybody out about nomenclature. Every now and then I look at one from John Grehan to see if he's changed tune at all (never yet!).
Yes, I think you probably do know who I am IRL. Feel free to use the email function to check. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 18:25, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

cfd at Category:Squamish[edit]

By now you may have seen my belated responses to the RM from November 23-30, 2011, when I was out of Wikipedia, as was User:OldManRivers......that name-change has resulted in the untenable speedy change to Category:Squamish, and it's the retitling of the Skwxwu7mesh article to Squamish people that's the main bugbear......didn't anyone notice the bit in the 'move' window about having consequences for category names? The resulting category name is unacceptable; my attempt to move it 'back' to an undiacriticalized form Category:Skwxwu7mesh or maybe Category:Skwxwu7mesh people is having the rule-book thrown at it by people who don't care that endonym-based ethno categories are the Indigenous peoples in North America Wikiproject norm/preference. Category:People from the Squamish people is not viable as a subcategory; nor are subarticles as found in what is now titled (incorrectly) {{Squamish}} such as Squamish culture and Squamish history, causing the across-the-board confusion with the usual English usage of the term "Squamish", which is for Squamish, British Columbia, the town. As for that template, it's going to need a TfD, too, now.......grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrSkookum1 (talk) 14:51, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

It was in part because of a failed RM for the opposite issue that I decided to take a long break from Wikipedia. In that case, one group of Tongva people rejects "Tongva" as an endonym, so I tried to move it back to the exonym Gabrieleño people, which all the groups accept (although some are not happy with it). Because few commented, and one (non-First Nations, afaict) editor was vehement in "I don't like it," it failed. Basically, most people don't give a rat's ass what First Nations people think. (If it's not apparent, I'm of European ancestry.) Because of that and some other issues, I decided "fuck this shit". Sorry I can't help (using "can't" instead of "won't" intentionally).--Curtis Clark (talk) 18:27, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

2013 Wikinic[edit]

Wiknic logo.svg Great American Wikinic at Pan-Pacific Park LA Wiknic 2011 Group Photo.jpg
You are invited to the third Great American Wikinic taking place in Pan-Pacific Park, in Los Angeles, on Saturday, June 22, 2013! We would love to see you there! howcheng {chat} 01:01, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
If you would not like to receive future messages about meetups, please remove your name from Wikipedia:Meetup/LA/Invite.

Author citation dates in plant taxoboxes (above genera)[edit]

I have been adding dates to taxobox authorities for plant families and orders. I had seen this done in a few taxoboxes, and I am working on citing all of the authorities for plant families and orders. A discussion had taken place about this before, here, although the focus of this discussion was on all taxa, inlcuding genera and species. As you participated in a past discussion, and are actively editing Wikipedia now, I am posting this link in case you wish to comment.

Thanks. --AfadsBad (talk) 23:51, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia Meetup[edit]

You are invited to "Come Edit Wikipedia!" at the West Hollywood Library on Saturday, July 27th, 2013. There will be coffee, cookies, and good times! -- Olegkagan (talk) — Message delivered by Hazard-Bot at 03:24, 21 July 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia Meetup[edit]

Help build the Wikipedia community in Southern California at "Come Edit Wikipedia!" presented by the West Hollywood Library on Saturday, August 31st, 2013 from 1-5pm. Drop in for some lively editing and conversation! Plus, it's a library, so there are plenty of sources. --Olegkagan (talk) — Message delivered by Hazard-Bot at 02:05, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

LA edit-a-thons on May 23 and 31[edit]

LA meetups: Adrianne Wadewitz memorial edit-a-thons on May 23 and May 31
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Dear fellow Wikipedian,

There are two LA edit-a-thons in memory of Adrianne Wadewitz, a prolific Wikipedia editor, in the coming weeks. Please join us May 23 at Occidental College and May 31 at the Institute of Cultural Inquiry to combat systemic bias and help further Adrianne's legacy. No experience needed! Please RSVP at the relevant page(s) if you plan to attend.

I hope to see you there! Calliopejen1 (talk) 23:30, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

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L.A. events on June 21 and July 6[edit]

Upcoming L.A. events: Unforgetting L.A. edit-a-thon (Saturday, June 21, 12-5pm) and Wiknic (Sunday, July 6, ~9:30am-4pm)

Gallery at 356 S. Mission Rd.
Get hungry for the Wiknic!

Dear fellow Wikipedian,

The L.A. Wikipedia community has two exciting events coming up in the next few weeks: an edit-a-thon sponsored by the online magazine East of Borneo, and the fourth annual Los Angeles Wiknic!

The East of Borneo event is an edit-a-thon that aims to build a better history of art in Southern California. This next chapter of their Unforgetting L.A. series will take place on Saturday, June 21, 2014 from 12pm to 5pm at 356 S. Mission Rd. (map). Beginners welcome! Please RSVP here if you plan to attend. For more info, see

The Wiknic is a part of the nationwide Great American Wiknic. We'll be grilling, getting to know each other better, and building the L.A. Wikipedia community! The event is tentatively planned for Pan-Pacific Park (map) and will be held on Sunday, July 6, 2014 from 9:30am to 4pm or so. Please RSVP and volunteer to bring food or drinks if possible!

I hope to see you there! Calliopejen1 (talk) - via MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 22:59, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

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