Talk:Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen

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Edits regarding behavior, etc.[edit]

Greetings, jwinius. It's no big deal, but my change regarding the behaviour of copperheads is accurate. I'm pretty well versed in this genus and have a good deal of experience with them. They are not the shy, retiring species that the previous description would lead someone to believe. Certainly, like all North American pit vipers, they tend to lie still and rely on their natural camoflage as their first line of defense against predators. But once provoked they are quite active in their offensive tactics. I think my changes to the article reflect that without making them sound unduly menacing which I agree, they are not. Regards. Gladtohelp (talk) 01:59, 15 September 2008 (UTC)gladtohelp

Greetings, Gladtohelp. No hard feelings, but even though I think you may be right on this, simply changing referenced information is not how Wikipedia articles are improved. I started out around here writing from experience and about stuff that I thought I knew by heart, but soon discovered that it was better not to do so. I produced many inaccuracies. Also, Wikipedia does not allow "own research," so none of my own experiences with snakes can count either. The only thing that does count is what is verifiable through publications that others can also check. In other words, this basically comes down to your word against those in Roger Conant's 1975 publication, so I'm afraid it's no contest.
On the other hand, all of our articles on this species and its subspecies can be improved. Earlier this year, I did Agkistrodon piscivorus and have been meaning to do the same for Agkistrodon contortrix for some time. I recently started by revising the description section. The same can be done for all of the subspecies articles (the main one focuses on A. c. contortrix). The main article should be the most detailed, while the ssp. articles should only describe what makes those races unique. That may not include behavior at all, in which case I think the Behavior section in this article can eventually be omitted all together. In addition, I have better sources for that than Conant (1975).
Finally, the Ancistrodon business: that's simply a synonym for Agkistrodon that hasn't been used in any serious publications that I know of for many years. Nevertheless, I've included the complete synonymy from McDiarmid et al. (1999) in the taxobox, so that should cover it. Something that we could eventually do is add an explanation for how/when the trans-Atlantic Agkistrodon vs. Ancistrodon struggle got started and how/when it was eventually resolved, but that's something for the Taxonomy section of the Agkistrodon article. --Jwinius (talk) 03:15, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Hi, jwinius. I see that you have pretty much followed me around and undid all my edits. You've convinced me - I won't be a part of wikipedia's herp articles anymore. BTW, I enjoyed many of my conversations with Roger Conant back in the 60s. Very nice guy. You apparently think you own all these topics, so I'll leave them to you in the future. Gladtohelp (talk) 19:22, 15 September 2008 (UTC)gladtohelp

I'm very sorry, but at Wikipedia it doesn't matter if you are the world's leading expert on any particular subject; we may believe you, but no one else will. All that matters is that we cite our sources for everything we add to these articles. Not surprisingly, we also have a rule against citing "own research." Still, it's one thing to add seemingly good information without any references, which is always better than nothing, but it's quite another to change existing referenced information without citing any alternative sources. If you had known this in advance, I'm sure we would not have had this exchange. --Jwinius (talk) 21:30, 15 September 2008 (UTC)