Talk:Decline in insect populations

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Misleading article[edit]

@Andrew Davidson: I think this article both misleading and incorrect, over-sensationalised and reminiscent of the tabloid press.

In the "Reviews and studies" section the first paragraph is about invertebrates, and not just insects. The second paragraph is about arthropods and not just insects. The third paragraph is about IUCN-listed insects, the big noticeable insects that the public are interested in, and not insects in general.

The fourth and final paragraph is more worthwhile but it is using insect biomass and specifically mentions butterflies, bees and moths. One missing butterfly has rather a heavy weighting in biomass terms compared to aphids or midges. Also, the source mentions such things as intensive crop production, removal of field verges and pesticide use in the area where the research was done, not necessarily typical of the whole world.

Our Insect article states that globally, there are estimated to be "5.5 million insect species with around 1 million insect species currently found and described", and this article states "About 40% of species are threatened by extinction". What rubbish! I'm tempted to send the article to AfD, but the subject is probably notable because the "science for the masses" journalists have written about it. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 10:01, 3 March 2019 (UTC)

Well, there are certainly some difficulties, and the use of figures about invertebrates-in-general and arthropods-in-general does not help the article's case. However, evidence of decline is available from many reliable sources (not yet cited in the article) describing insect declines in different regions of the world. I think what is needed is a more thorough examination of the evidence of declines
a) in different parts of the world
b) in different species
c) in total numbers of insects.
Something also needs to be said, as you imply, about the difference between the presumed total number of insect species, and the number described by science. Then any figures for decline can be related carefully to one or other of these. Chiswick Chap (talk) 10:52, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
This had already been discussed extensively over at Insect with respect to all the "Insect Armageddon" stuff and criticism of science media report as well as occasional journal articles. The short of it was that this subject should be handled at Insect#Diversity and the daughter article Insect biodiversity. That was the preference over even creating an insect decline section, so creation of a new page goes well beyond that.
The best course of action would be to just redirect this to Insect#Diversity. A lot of this is stuff already discussed that didn't pass muster because of being primary sources, and there are a ton of reviews discussing the subject of insect decline. This article gets more into WP:SYNTH territory by just listing studies because the weight of those reviews aren't really coming into play here. I'm not sure what if anything could really be merged over there yet though. This is definitely a subject to stick to reviews on given all the scientific criticism out there on poorly designed studies or ones overblown by reporting. Kingofaces43 (talk) 13:56, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
Happy to support a redirect. Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:19, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
Let's not be hasty here. While brief, this article by The Colonel (Andrew D) is a first class piece of work, accurately reflecting scientific consensus. Whereas the treatment of Insect decline at the main Insect page doesn't even rise to the level of fringe - it's appalling bad. There's just a couple of sentences on the subject. In blatant violation of normal practice for science articles, a blog by a junior ecologist has been given equal weight to rebut a meta study. Even the blog has arguably been misrepresented to claim the study often excludes "data the (sic) shows increases in diversity". (The study doesn't exclude such data, and even the blog doesn't claim that, though granted it makes some spurious arguments in that direction.)
Insect biomass decline extrapolated from 2019 - 2119, showing the difference between a linear and exponential rate
Going back to your original point Chiswick Chap, there unfortunately doesn't seem to be much discussion in the literature on the apparent difficulty in estimating the overall % of species at risk. This is likely as for statistically sophisticated scientists, the issue can be seen as almost too obvious to mention. But let me lay out the basics.
Assuming it's correct that there's very roughly 5 million insect species, with only about 20% of them identified, it's obviously impossible to individually track their declines. What we can do is track overall declines by measuring total biomass, which to a large extent captures declines for all species, whether or not they've been individually identified. As per multiple studies in places like UK (Shortall et al., 2009) , Germany (Hallmann et al., 2017 ) and Puerto Rica ( Lister and Garcia, 2018) total insect biomass has been declining these past few decades at a rate that averages at about 2.5% / year (Linear). Clearly by basic maths, a 2.5% linear decline would mean total insect biomass declining to zero in just 40 years. So if there really is an ongoing 2.5% linear decline, it's trivial to extrapolate that 100% of insects species would be extinct by about 2060.
The 2.5% linear discussion was just to make the extrapolation point in simple terms. Naturally, the good scientists in the Sánchez-Bayo meta study appreciate there isn't really a linear decline, and that a more accurate approximation is an exponential decline of about ~4.6% (i.e., each year there's about a 4.6% loss of the previous years biomass). This implies total biomass declining by over 40% in just 11 years, by over 70% in 26 years, and by over 99% in 100 years. The Sánchez-Bayo study treats this and much other data (e.g. relating to actual technical extinctions, where certain insects haven't been observed for >50years) in a sophisticated manner. For example they make good use of rigorous methodologies like ANOVA. Thus they can make extrapolations to the claim that we may see "extinction of 40% of the world's insect species over the next few decades." (direct quote from the abstract of the Wyckhuys & Sánchez-Bayo study FeydHuxtable (talk) 15:46, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
So basically, no reason against a redirect, especially discounting the aggrandizing language. Do keep in mind you've also been made very aware it's inappropriate to cherry-pick undue studies like Sánchez-Bayo based on discussions at Insect and attempts to make it clear to you what policy problems you were getting hung up on previously. You've already been invited multiple times to develop content at the diversity section/article if you felt strongly about something with appropriate sourcing and weight, so it's really odd just to continue soapboxing about the coverage there being "appallingly bad".
The take home has always been that the insect armageddon thing as presented in media and sources you are picking is largely undue in terms of what the literature as a whole actually discusses, and that if someone wants to develop specific content based on secondary sources, the WP:BURDEN is on them to do it over at Insect/Insect biodiversity first in order to even begin assessing if something like a split is needed from there or the biodiversity article. Based on what we've seen so far here, there hasn't been any reasoning for keeping this page as more than a redirect with the other articles in mind. I also consider this inadvertent and not intended by Andrew Davidson, but we also need to be careful of a POV WP:COATRACK when insect decline gets pulled out of the larger context of the literature like what happened here. Andrew at least avoided common tropes like extrapolating the 2016 German study as a worldwide claim, but we really need to stick to what the totality of reviews say on the subject rather than focus on primary studies. Kingofaces43 (talk) 16:55, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
And just to be clear, the redirect target probably should be Insect biodiversity rather than at the Insect page's summary of it. Kingofaces43 (talk) 17:25, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
There's nothing undue about the Sánchez-Bayo study. I've produced stacks of high quality papers & science journalism in line with what Sánchez-Bayo says. All you've presented to support your OR opinion that it's undue is a random paper by a long since retired 98 year old and a blog by a junior ecologist I can't believe you have the gall to imply I've been soap boxing on talk rather than working on developing content. Since 2017, I've many times added high quality, balanced & well sourced summaries of the decline phenomena, which you’ve 100% reverted. Hence the need for these admitedly annoying talk page discussions. FeydHuxtable (talk)
This has been repeatedly discussed and refuted at other pages, so we're more or less required by WP:CONSENSUS to ignore your claims that this is not a heavily criticized topic. If it's still unclear why this is such a problem and you don't wish to listen to me, try asking some of the other insect-related editors at Wikiproject Insects. Kingofaces43 (talk) 21:45, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Talk of the tabloid press is absurd as this topic has been covered in detail by the quality press, based upon reputable scientific papers. It is therefore quite notable and so we should resist any attempt to delete the topic as the OP suggests. The title and scope of the page is modelled on the similar Decline in amphibian populations. That is rated as a Good Article and so seems a good example to follow. It took five years for that page to reach that level but we have only just started here. I expect that that there is much more digesting of the detail to be done but one has to start somewhere and so here we are. Andrew D. (talk) 17:03, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  • I've gone ahead and at least put in the previously agreed upon consensus text for the insect decline topic as a stopgap until some time has passed for others to comment on a redirect. We can't WP:COATRACK the subject like this. Keep in mind that since this deals with pesticides and 1RR, we have to stick with the consensus version and generally follow WP:BRD when new edits are disputed. As it stands though, this scope is just entirely redundant with the other articles, which was the problem from the start. Kingofaces43 (talk) 21:45, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
I've reverted as your claims seem false. For the reasons described above, the coverage of the decline phenomena on the Insect page is appallingly bad. At least there a case could be made to keep coverage very brief as main article is about the wider topic, not purely about the decline as is the case here. FeydHuxtable (talk) 22:38, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
Yup, you're arguing for a WP:COATRACK, so it's inappropriate to that much less edit war it back in despite warning. Please remember to undo that edit warring some other editors don't have to fix that mistake. Kingofaces43 (talk) 22:45, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  • WP:COATRACK is an essay which, in a nutshell, says that "Articles about one thing shouldn't mostly focus on another thing." This article is about the decline of insect populations and mostly focusses on that topic. That essay therefore seems irrelevant. More relevant is WP:BLANK, which is a guideline and so stronger than an essay. This indicates that we should not edit to leave the page "without any substantial content". An indiscriminate and wholesale removal of the body of the article is therefore improper. Reversion of such disruptive action is to be expected. Andrew D. (talk) 09:33, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
Essays supplement policy and guidelines often as explanatory reading. You could read WP:POVFORK too, but at the end of the day, circumventing WP:CONSENSUS policy through a new page is disruptive no matter what you call it, and it should be expected that such actions will be reverted, especially since they violate the intent 1RR DS. When content is disputed as part of the 1RR pesticide DS, you are expected not to edit war it back in as Feyd did (and they've been warned about that many times). Instead, you need to gain consensus for it. It was clear from the start of this discussion that your version did not have consensus starting with Cwmhiraeth, so we needed to go back to the last consensus version that was being circumvented to avoiding blanking the page if we're going to have anything. If it wasn't for that, we'd automatically be at AfD rather than letting this conversation go for a bit as others might chime in on the redirect. If you're not happy with that and want to flesh out content of the subject, it's been repeatedly pointed out where that work needs to be done in order to have appropriate WP:WEIGHT before even considering anything like a proper WP:SPLIT. Kingofaces43 (talk) 23:51, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
This seems like wiki lawyering nonsense I'm afraid. The version you've edit warred to seems to be Fringe, as well described here. I'm restoring the stable version, until there are either sound arguments or at least majority support to do otherwise. FeydHuxtable (talk) 08:24, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
If edit warring continues, I am going to block the involved users. --Leyo 09:23, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
With great respect, I'm not sure that would be warranted. I'm not sure King's editing has been that bad, in some respects he has been quite careful to comply with policy, and at least he has been civil. I know I've been suggesting some of King's editing amounts to Fringe pushing, but its probably a little more nuanced than that. You know what MEDS editors can be like, I'm just trying to talk to them in their own language.
Your previous minor edit to the article doesn't rise to the level of making you involved, but it does somewhat suggest you agree with the mainstream view. From a quick review of your contributions, your technical and scientific proficiency seems to massively exceed the typical science editor so I don't see how you could possibly not agree with the rigorous science. So in a sense, if you were to block King it might be seen as non neutral. If you judged I deserve a block on the other hand, I don't see why that would be problematic. That said, you're the admin so whatever you decide. Thank you for warning before blocking. FeydHuxtable (talk) 09:52, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
Being a non-expert in the article's matter, I simply fixed a technical issue (missing title) in the article. That's why I've had the article on my watchlist. I am concerned about the edit warring. If at all, I would surely need to block all involved parties, not just one. --Leyo 10:12, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
Leyo, as you've already been warned, you are a WP:INVOLVED admin where the pesticide DS are in play and due to attacks towards me, and cannot act as an admin in those areas. The page may need to be protected though if Feyd continues to edit war this in without gaining consensus.
As it stands right now, this version that FeydHuxtable seems to forget they are edit warring in despite lack of consensus (pinging as another reminder you forgot to undo your edit warring and gain consensus here). We cannot game 1RR like that. The WP:ONUS is on those wanting to keep the new text Feyd keeps introducing, not the agreed upon consensus version. So far, editors have mostly considered deletion or redirect instead, less so the consensus text I restored, and even less the current state of the article. Unless we have a sudden shift in consensus on that matter in the next few days, we could always just go ahead with the redirect to prevent the WP:POVFORK issues. At the end of the day though, this is extremely WP:UNDUE compared to what's been agreed upon at other pages and circumvents WP:CONSENSUS policy by proxying an old dispute at a new page, which is why the current version isn't going to remain in the long-term considering the lack of consensus for it on this talk page. Kingofaces43 (talk) 16:55, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
  • The bold edits made by Kingofaces43 on the 4 and 5 March, attempted to completely rewrite the article with an article fragment, lacking numerous elements which we would expect in such an article – a lead, picture, contents, reflist, categories, &c. The sourcing was inferior, as much of the brief content was only supported by a personal blog. So, those edits violated numerous guidelines including WP:BLANK, WP:BLOGS, WP:CITEVAR, WP:EDITWAR, WP:MOSLEAD and especially WP:RECKLESS. Reverting such over-bold edits is to be expected, per WP:BRD and, given the applicable sanctions and the clear warning by admin Leyo, they should not be repeated.
If there is good additional content introduced in those edits, such as the paper about the hundreds of recorded extinctions, then this might usefully be added to the article, rather than replacing it. I suggest that a history section be added to cover the period before the recent acceleration in the decline. There is more good material from the past which will go well in such a section. For example, the sources commonly cite the example of the Rocky Mountain locust – a remarkable extinction given the previous great abundance of this species.
Andrew D. (talk) 19:03, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
Your first paragraph would violate WP:CONSENSUS policy, as well as violate WP:DUE per previous talk discussions, so no, and do not misrepresent my edits trying to keep the current edit warring in check despite lack of consensus for the reinserted content. This has already been hashed out repeatedly at the relevant pages (and why I'm not rehashing it again), so we stick with the consensus text until something changes. There's no way around that regardless of attempts at edit warring it back in (it's beyond me why any experienced editor would think that's ok). You should have expected your bold edits to be removed per WP:BRD and restored to the consensus text that this article circumvented while deletion/redirect discussion continues.
Please remember that further attempts to violate BRD and the intent of 1RR will simply result in removal and possibly enforcement of the DS. BLANK applies to blanking the page, not stubifying to fix the very issues brought up on this talk page. These attempts to shoehorn in the undue content at a new article is indeed getting sloppy and reckless as you say. Both you and Feyd now know your content should not be reintroduced unless consensus is gained for it, so the next time the content is removed, I would expect both of you to follow basic policy like WP:ONUS as well as the intent of the edit warring DS restrictions and stop reintroducing the content. This should be nowhere near as difficult as it's currently been.
With that said, I've also repeatedly stated where this content should be worked out per previous talk page discussions. If editors are interested in fleshing out this subject, they need to do it carefully and in the proper context, which is why it was agreed to handle it at the insect and biodiversity articles. Creating a new article does not change that. Kingofaces43 (talk) 20:08, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
As you don't seem to be WP:FOC I'll allow myself to comment that this invincible level of self confidence is extremely impressive. Though it may be leading you to miss-read things to suit your pre-conceptions; for example, when the good Colonel referred to recklessness, he clearly meant your own overly bold removals. Sadly, even after reading this several times I can't find much to agree with. Especially with regards to how your comments pertain to this article rather than Insect , where I would concede burden is largely in your favour (though it seems an overreach to say consensus supports your version even on the Insect page.)
In my view at least consensus on this page remains for the existing stable version. Which gives due weight to the main stream scientific consensus expressed in the dozens of conciliant decline related studies, the recent United Nations report, and the only existing meta-study on global insect decline(Sánchez-Bayo). It's not just the media using dramatic language to describe this phenomena. The scientific papers themselves, including the meta-study, repeatedly state that if not soon mitigated, current rates of insect decline risk impending "catastrophic" collapse of the planets ecosystems. It will be interesting to see what other editors have to say, especially now this matter has been raised on wiki project Insects. FeydHuxtable (talk) 22:34, 7 March 2019 (UTC)
First, please keep in mind the only time I've been rather patiently commenting on behavior here is when you've been directly interjecting those issues into your edits across multiple related pages making it near impossible to work on specific content without wrangling with those problems. If you need help resolving those issues, I suggest reviewing previous user talk discussions, your AE case, getting advice from other editors, etc., but this not the place where it should be taking up talk page space, and you've been given more than enough caution to knock it off. I've given you plenty of advice on avoiding such battleground behavior, but it's probably better if you hear it from someone else at this point.
For a pointed content comment, there is very clear opposition to the way this page was presented from multiple editors, so you cannot claim consensus in the opposite, especially since it gives undue weight towards non-mainstream views on the subject. I still understand you have personal views that differ from that, but your comments have made it very clear you are drifting into WP:OR territory and repeatedly aggrandizing selected sources as you just did with the Sánchez-Bayo. The mainstream science has been very clear that some of the views you've been wanting to include are definitely not such. That's why many of your comments have to be dismissed here in terms of WP:CONSENSUS policy. With that, adding the ESA statement in a criticism section gets into some of the issues outlined at WP:NOCRIT essentially obfuscating the mainstream science view that's very tempered in its statements on the subject. We can't bury the lead the like that. Kingofaces43 (talk) 00:58, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── On the content overall, it's clear that the current version hasn't gained consensus even after letting this sit for awhile, so per WP:ONUS policy, I have removed it. That’s especially considering that multiple editors have brought up issues with the original state of the article, and nothing has been done to really address those issues. Some of it is use of primary sources or undue use of secondaries. At the risk of repeating myself, that cannot be readded without gaining consensus here both due to ONUS policy, and the 1RR restriction that made it clear readding such disputed content would be WP:GAMING.

There needs to be something stable, but even if we disregarded the onus problem, the removed version was not it at all since it was only maintained by edit warring despite talk page opposition, not consensus. We do have the consensus text from over at the insect article, and since that discussion there made it very clear presenting the science in the way done here would be very WP:UNDUE, the removed version would also directly be a WP:POVFORK if it were maintained only because it was a new article. That means at a minimum, we stick with the consensus text and build from there by stubifying it first. Since it's been thrown out there a few times, that is not a WP:BLANK (nor would a redirect be for that matter). Unless someone has additions that would also work at Insect biodiversity without creating undue weight, that book should be closed for now with the consensus text reinserted as a stopgap unless new information comes in. Kingofaces43 (talk) 00:58, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

  • There is no consensus for the half-baked stub that Kingofaces43 has repeated. Its content and sourcing is inferior and it does not help us forward. Andrew D. (talk) 10:08, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
We already established that functional consensus over at Insect, or at least decided that the information needs to be presented in a similar manner rather than the style presented here (which also came up over there). That's why this became a WP:POVFORK. The sourcing is your version is "inferior" in that it uses primary studies and it reports results uncritically of reviews that have been criticized or buries that information. The stub at least describes the mainstream science view focusing more weight on a higher tier source like the ESA rather than a handful of lesser sources. If the statement from Sanders is your concern, it doens't matter that it comes from a blog. Unless it's a clearly fringe position, we often use statements from experts in the field with attribution as criticism of studies that require it in terms of due weight.
Like I've said before, if you're interested in fleshing out this content, the exact same framework is over at Insect biodiversity ready to be worked on rather than creating a redundant page. Until then, we have to stick with the settled version from the insect page and work forward from that, not keep restoring your version without the problems taken care of. Kingofaces43 (talk) 22:20, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
  • As ever, the good Colonel summarises the situation with perfect concision.
King, possibly you'll find it helpful if we have a more verbose look at some of your points, with a special focus on what Sanders actually says in her blog and how it was being misrepresented. If so, please open the below.
In depth response to some of Kings points

First let's be clear that it's only the stable version that warrants being called mainstream. Per policy and common practice, we reserve the term "mainstream" for science that accords with what is published in the high quality reliable sources. It's only the stable version that reflects what's actually said in peer reviewed papers and other high quality sources.

It seems multiple editors have brought up issues with the original state of the article, and nothing has been done to really address those issues Incorrect. The central concern of Cwmhiraeth and Chiswick Chap seemed to be whether there could be a valid method to make broad predictions on the extinction threat to a high proportion of insect species, given that there are millions, most of which are so far unidentified. As per above, an editor outlined the applicable scientific method. Even kindly creating a pic that illustrates key points on the linear/exponential distinction, without using possibly hard to understand calculus.
If editors Cwmhiraeth or Chiswick Chap return to this discussion, that would be most welcome, even if they want to argue against the mainstream science. But for now, it's reasonable to assume their concerns have been addressed, so their initial objections cannot be counted against the clear consensus for the mainstream version.
…your AE case... This is absurd. Said AE was closed with not a single person supporting you, but with a veteran editor & 3 admins making comments more in line with myself (admittedly all on behaviour policy interpretation grounds, they expressed no opinion on the science.) You are the one who seems to have lessons to learn from the AE.
you have personal views It's not about my personal views. This is about serving our readers with reliable encyclopaedic content. Which is best done by presenting the main stream science in accordance with our content policy, such as WP:NPOV and WP:Due. Lets look at specific reasons why your alternative version is not policy compliant.
In a nut shell, the alternative version 1) heavily downplays the finding of the many peer reviewed studies, including the only available high level review that looks directly at global insect decline. 2) Heavily overstates the scepticism in the critical sources, to the extent of borderline BLP violation by making a young ecologist seem both incompetent and arguably denialist. 3) Violates normal practice for science articles by giving equal weight to a blog by a junior scientist, to refute a high level review.
Quoting from the alternative version: Some studies have suggested a large proportion of insect species are threatened with extinction in the 21st century,(cite to Sánchez-Bayo ) though ecologist Manu Sanders notes that many of these findings are often biased by excluding data that shows increases or stability in diversity, and limited to specific geographic areas and specific groups of species(cite to Sanders blog)
This misrepresents young Sanders in a number of ways. Least important, it can easily read as implying her blog makes the listed criticisms of "some studies". Her blog is focussed on Sánchez-Bayo, just about all it says about the other studies is that they have "limitations".
More importantly, it can be read as suggesting Sanders believes Sánchez-Bayo excludes data showing increases. Which risks portraying her to be blatantly incompetent. The Sánchez-Bayo high level review clearly does not exclude such data. That is obvious even from the abstract, where it says "the abundance of a small number of species is increasing" etc. If you read the full review, then as editor Dyanega and I agreed over on the main insect talk, it very carefully and explicitly states that existing diversity is being replaced by increased numbers. Sanders is not an idiot. She knows this. Her blog does not say the counter-trend data is excluded. She only makes arguments that it had been downplayed or insufficiently examined.
Most important, at least in my view, the alt version borderline slanders Sanders by risking making her appear a Denialist. Which she very clearly is not. Please only read the elaboration on this if you don't find the other arguments convincing (some might find it rather soapy. )
Sanders's nuanced, non-denialist views on Insect decline

Granted, Sanders does indeed argue against what she see seems to see as an alarmist presentation of the decline phenomena. And in her blog she points out what she sees as methodological flaws in Sánchez-Bayo, which she believes casts doubt on their findings. But this is tempered by her clear agreement that there is serious problem, which warrants corrective action. Here are some quotes from the Sanders blog: "Human activities are definitely impacting insect populations" "How can we fix this? ... More conservation actions. ... More research. ... More funding".

A careful look at what Sanders actually says show her position to be nuanced and in most respects very reasonable. Her chief flaw isn't even a scientific deficiency. Rather it's the charming but somewhat naïve belief that the best way to secure funding for the needed mitigating action, is to rely on equivocal, caveat rich subjective arguments. She possibly gets that from her buddy Leather. Perplexing that someone so intelligent, charismatic and experienced can have such an eccentric view. Happily, those writing the quality peer reviewed literature seem to be serious scientists. They appreciate the best way to secure funding is with nice clear statements, supported by objective numerical data. When the UN get to publishing a report that includes Sánchez-Bayo, they very likely won't include a word of criticism or equivocation, just as was the case with Hallman.

Risking the appearance that Sanders is a Denialist is not just unencyclopedic, it's unchivalrous. There's the emotional factor to consider. As repeatedly advised, its not just the press that is using dramatic language to describe the decline. Just like climate change, said language is to be found in the high quality scientific sources. Additionally, for many people around the world, especially in parts of Africa, the apocalyptic conditions have already materialised. As was posted back in January on Insect talk: "The numbers suffering from extreme hunger have been increasing these past 4 years across the globe, both in absolute terms and as a % of the worlds population. Ecological stress caused by insect decline is one of several reasons for this." February's UN report confirms this. Mentioning how the number of chronically undernourished people has risen from 804 [in 2016] to 821 million [in 2017, it was even more in 2018,though this has not yet been officially reported.] The report notes "nearly 151million children under five years of age suffered from stunted growth", and 50 million suffering from the often fatal wasting. As the report explains in detail, it's partly diversity loss, including insect decline, that is leading to the appalling conditions in the afflicted communities. For them, as they see their skeletal children die from lack of the free food they were once able to forage (or in some cases get from effected conventional food systems), the cataclysm warned of in the main stream science is an all too present reality. It's been like that now for years.

Imagine how young Sanders might feel if a distorted version of her views is used by Denialists to block the needed efforts to prevent the ecological collapse? If it's allowed to unfold, the hundreds of millions already experiencing extreme hunger will rise to billions.

You know King, I'm starting to think you might be too good natured to comprehend the wider context here. There are titanic wills and intellects seeking to promote Denialism. Not as they believe it to be true, they agree with the mainstream science. Rather, they long for the cataclysm to occur. This is not in the main as they want to see billions die. They are chiefly motivated by hate for progressive achievements, which they correctly see as largely irreversible as long as our current civilisation endures. They want to return to a world where CIS hetro males can dominate everyone else. They tire of acting out their fantasies on their private islands. They wish to see their vision writ large across the face of the planet. Hence they desire to wipe the slate clean, by bringing about the catastrophic collapse of our civilisation. The fact this will cause billions of deaths is just an incidental detail to them. They'll be alright Jack, with their decades of supplies on their private Islands and prepper silos.

I hope you can now see why it's extra important to stick closely to what the sources say, even beyond our normal duty as encyclopaedists.

Relatedly, the alt version also fails to reflect the ESA source in a balanced way. For example, the ESA says that "recent studies that show declines in global insect populations" are "very concerning". The ESA source in fact more supports the mainstream version of this article. Still, it's less of concern if the ESA are misrepresented, WP:BLP comes less into play as there is not a named author.
Returning to the focus on Sanders, this also seems to borderline violate WP:Due, which says If a viewpoint is held by a significant minority, then it should be easy to name prominent adherents . Not sure many would agree the sceptical view amounts to a 'significant minority', but even if they did, Sanders doesn't seem to be a prominent enough adherent. IMO she has what it takes to develop into a truly outstanding scientist, but right now she's still a junior. Granted, she has a high media profile for one so young, but this seems to be thanks to her buddy Leather putting in a good word for her with TV producers etc. If you want to single out a scientist to be the face of scepticism, it would make more sense to chose Leather himself, who is by far the more senior by every conceivable academic metric.
For the main insect page, unless you raise objections, I'll likely soon make an edit to Insect that fixes the above BLP & WP:Due concerns, but otherwise accords with the existing Fringe like balance of skeptic & mainstream science that you seem to prefer. It would have been time saving if you could have just accepted my minor fix to the BLP concerns made direct to the article. Still, I guess there is some value in the wall of text discussions you seem to like to initiate.
I'm glad to see we agree that it would be most helpful if wiki project Insects editors would like to chime in. FeydHuxtable (talk) 12:18, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
I'm not aware of any colonels here, nor would any such title have any meaning, especially when my PhD in entomology has no meaning here. In short though, you've made arguments that violate WP:POVFORK, so most the above is a no-go. I've talked to you about inserting your own personal opinions way too much, injecting denialism into things, going on tangents (hence the walls of text and lack of actually working on focused content), etc. so no need to rehash that again. You're mostly just rehashing what you said at Insect that didn't gain acceptance, so that's mostly a WP:DEADHORSE and can't be used to change consensus at this point, so Talk:Insect#The_planet_is_on_track_for_total_Insect_extinction_,_according_to_1st_ever_global_review just needs to be re-read.
As for Sanders, etc. calling that undue or even insinuating fringe or even minority viewpoint like you've been gets into that WP:OR problem again and will likely end up conflicting with our polices and guidelines considering that. You should also know by now that what you tried to do with the Sanders text is disputed, so you should be proposing content at the talk page first as part of WP:BRD.
I'll just keep working to maintain the functional consensus text at this point considering nothing has changed here if you or Andrew don't undo the edit warring. I've been very patient with both of you, but at the end of the day, the Arbcom case was very clear that trying to horse in content through slow edit warring to get around 1RR like this is gaming, especially considering the POV fork problem. I have a high amount of patience for people having trouble with edit warring like that, but this has been enough time of letting the DS be lax. You're also well aware of how studies like Sánchez-Bayo have been criticized and can easily become WP:UNDUE, which was the whole discussion over at the insect page and a continuing problem here now. If anyone has content to introduce centered over at Insect biodiversity where all the framework already exists, then by all means bring up content proposals. Kingofaces43 (talk) 22:10, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
I hope you've noticed WP:OR is clear that it "does not apply to talk pages". Sadly it's yourself that has been violating OR. For example, Your alternative version explicitly states a conclusion not found in Sanders blog, namely that she claims the data on increases is "excluded". When it comes to article space, WP:OR is clear that if you reach or imply a conclusion not directly and explicitly supported by the source, you are engaging in original research. Hopefully this is clear, and you won't further revert once editors once again correct the misrepresentation on the Insect page.
As for the POVFORK, this is something that should be resolved in due time. It's to be hoped that experts from wiki project Insects will arrive and help us reach a consensus. If you'd like an immediate resolution, all you need to do is cease your objections to a NPOV presentation of the main stream science.
i.e stop insisting on a version that sets a blog against a high level review and the dozens of peer reviewed studies that support it. And which distorts the finding of said blog so as to violate WP:OR and to risk making the author look like a Denialist. FeydHuxtable (talk) 00:12, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
OR does apply to talk pages when it comes to misusing sources or going into your own personal analysis, and I've given you enough guidance on that. There is a point where your personal views on this get into WP:NOTFORUM territory, and this talk page is long enough due to that.
On Sanders, she is quite explicit that they used terms that would largely exclude studies without increases. So no, it's time to drop that claim, especially since WP:BLP is indeed in play as you've mentioned. Sanders will also continue to be used because what you suggest would directly violate WP:DUE unless we want to exclude Sanchez-Bayo entirely. We need to the due weight from other scientists in order to use that source. Again, already discussed to death on other pages, so there's no reason to rehash that here.
On WP Insects, keep in mind that you are already talking to one expert from there, and others who frequent there have also grumbled about undue issues with respect to insect decline studies both directly to you and elsewhere, but have generally only made a comment or two, and some just didn't want to get involved after seeing what I've been dealing with here too. I'm used to that though, so that's why I've been trying patiently to get you and Andrew to knock off the edit warring so we don't have to resort to AE sanctions.
On your "immediate resolution" comment, I'd be glad to have that considering I've never had any objections to presenting the NPOV mainstream science. In fact, I've been trying to remove the non-mainstream presentation of it here, and replace it with the mainstream presentation here instead. I wouldn't mind closing the book on that if you've changed your mind.
Being serious though, that request you just made was getting into gaming the DS and WP:ONUS. You are supposed to gain consensus for those edits, not force them in by edit warring or offering "quick resolution". The current stopgap solution is to stick with the functional consensus text from Insect while you and Andrew try get consensus on something or other editors chime in. I'm bound by the discretionary sanctions here, so I need to follow those and remove content that fails ONUS like that and at least try to help you two work on getting consensus for the edits. It's not helpful when you or Andrew skirt the DS and force me to continuously have to revert you, so I won't try to help you out in that area anymore and focus on cleaning up the ongoing edit warring.
On a final note, trying to interject "denialist" towards Sanders is getting into WP:FRINGE violation territory. That is reaching so far with hyperbolization in your comments that it just requires dismissal at this point with respect to weighing WP:CON policy. If you want to start invoking denialist for whatever mainstream science you don't agree with and using it to raise a fuss like that, Wikipedia is not the place to do it. Kingofaces43 (talk) 05:49, 12 March 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── No one's trying to interject "denialist" towards Sanders! As per the collapsed section above, she's quite the opposite. To clarify, IMO it's the OR way that you're trying to use Sanders's blog that seems to arguably go beyond mere Fringe and into Denialist territory. Granted, like you say there have been hints that the good Wiki project Insect experts prefer your take, so perhaps I'm mistaken.

On the WP:Due point, I guess we could continue setting Sanders against the review & other peer reviewed papers. But as per balanced coverage I've been trying to add to mainspace since January, the lede face of scepticism should be her far more senior buddy Simon Leather. (the good professor has also blogged specifically towards Sánchez-Bayo.) We could mention both Leather & Sander's criticism, though ideally we shouldn't be giving their blogs equal weight against the high quality peer reviewed studies & their review. (The alt version we still have at Insect uses more words to represent Sanders's blog than it does the Sánchez-Bayo high level review.)

Returning to the OR question, the wording of the alt version - Some studies have suggested a large proportion of insect species are threatened with extinction in the 21st century,(cite to Sánchez-Bayo ) though ecologist Manu Sanders notes that many of these findings are often biased by excluding data that shows increases or stability in diversity, and limited to specific geographic areas and specific groups of species - is somewhat ambiguous. It can be interpreted in two ways, either of which is a WP:OR violation: 1) that Sanders is saying the other ("Some studies") sources exclude the data. 2) that she's saying Sánchez-Bayo excludes the data . Both are blatant OR. We could keep with the spirit of your version but just improve the wording to reduce the OR, e.g. say something like "Sanders argues that the search term used by Sánchez-Bayo excludes data showing increases..." That would be quite a bit closer to what Sanders actually says. But even this would still be OR. Here's the actual wording from her blog: [the search string] "is problematic for a few reasons: (i) it will mostly find papers showing declines, not population increases..." Note the word mostly - clearly Sanders is making a much more cautious and correct statement than to imply the counter trend data is excluded. FeydHuxtable (talk) 08:37, 12 March 2019 (UTC)

You've been directly interjecting it or a sort of fringe skepticism with regards to Sanders in how her source is currently used. That is what was out of line.
On due, the focus on blogs is what seems to be tripping you up. We generally look to statements by scientists for assessment of studies. These are the types of situations when there are issues with a study we frequently use statements by respected scientists whether it's in a blog, editorial, etc. We just need to verify it was them saying it and use it with attribution. Those types of uses are done when they are needed for WP:DUE use of the questioned source, and are not used when it's clear the person is a lone outlier on the fringe. Again, we've already largely settled that text elsewhere, so that's just rehashing again.
As for the actual use of Sanders, you claim OR, but it's right there, so no, your claim contradicts the source. Sánchez-Bayo used terminology that largely excluded certain effects, and Sanders has criticized both that study and others for their limitations. In short, 1 and 2 are sourced. None of this does anything to move consensus on yours and Andrew's alternate version from the text we already largely settled on though. Kingofaces43 (talk) 16:11, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
  • I again went through the article and this time pruned all the major problematic items that filed WP:ONUS with specific edit summaries. As an nth reminder, those things cannot be restored without consensus both due to policy and the 1RR DS. It's still redundant with the biodiversity page and forks around content already used for addressing Sánchez-Bayo's findings before the fork, but that's as much as I can work on tonight. Kingofaces43 (talk) 01:50, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
For once, you cite a policy that does indeed support you, at least superficially. The thing is, per the many extreme POV & OR issues you've shown on this topic, its unclear why your word should carry weight towards blocking consensus here. If even one experienced editor chimes in supporting you, then I'd agree, consensus for including the mainstream content is blocked. You're welcome to post on my talk if you wish to discuss in detail. For this page, Im now going to try to limit any further responses to 100 words max, to help leave space for others. FeydHuxtable (talk) 06:50, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
FeydHuxtable you're ignoring the editors that have chimed in at these topics or elsewhere. You directly violated WP:ONUS with this again despite being directly warned about it, so please remember to undo those so other editors do not need to clean it up. You've been warned about behavior plenty. Any editor is free to undo those edits as disruptive at this point because of that. Since that's been an ongoing issue for you, we'll have to look into ways to prevent you from violating the policy again if you don't undo your edits or try to continue violating policy, and I sincerely hope you take that seriously for once.
As for ONUS, I've been citing that for ages, so it's really time to stop misrepresenting me. Knock the posturing off. Kingofaces43 (talk) 21:40, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
Ok, I wasn't being entirely accurate with 'for once', you have cited WP:Onus before, and I've agreed it's in your favour on Insect. Four editors have indeed made posts or edits in line with yourself. As discussed, in most cases theres indications they may have moved to accepting the mainstream science, or at least their concerns seem to have been well addressed. Only editor Dyanega can reasonably be assumed to still support you, and then only on Insect. As said, if Dyanega or one other editor chimes in here supporting yourself, Id concede Onus supports you on this page. FeydHuxtable (talk) 06:49, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
Again, this logic you using is exactly why WP:POVFORK exists to prevent such attempts to circumvent consensus we already established elsewhere before the content dispute moved over here. The "consensus-dodging content" portion especially gives some guidance on this. Also again, WP:ONUS is policy. It does nothing to support "me" here. It just simply says that you or others need to gain consensus for the content you currently want to to include. I already worked on establishing consensus for the baseline of what I was looking to include before fleshing the subject out more, and what we have here is a significant deviation from what was agreed on. That is all. Kingofaces43 (talk) 04:40, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
What do imagine has been agreed on? Regarding the decline related content, only a single editor (Dyanega) seems to have directly agreed with you, over on Talk:Insect. Three other editors disagreed with you on that talk page. The way this is covered on the Insect page does not reflect agreement. It reflects your forceful editing and extreme confidence your POV is correct, despite what the sources (including even the most skeptical sources) actually say. FeydHuxtable (talk) 06:12, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
Feyd, I've already told you how we work with what the totality of sources say (i.e., WP:DUE), not editor POV, so again, please stop directly misrepresenting me on this talk page. Also, WP:CON is the policy here, not unanimous agreement, and I've talked to you about not vote counting before. Policy issues have been brought that crafted the content into what is was over at the insect page, and many of those problems like using primary sources are being reintroduced here. There will likely need to be some clean up here once things settle down to fix those problems as well as the WP:ONUS problems too where I've tried to work with you despite you putting the content back in without gaining consensus, but I usually make a case of waiting with that when admin board discussion is ongoing. Kingofaces43 (talk) 13:45, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
The totality of sources has hundreds of scientific & quality journalistic sources supporting the mainstream view, with a much lower number of sceptical ones. If our article was a balanced reflection of said totality, it would be more emphatic on the severity of the problem. The reality is that editorial judgment always comes into play. My view is the article currently has proportionately too many sceptical sources. Yet I'm happy to yield to the community, as I've done right from the start of the dispute back in 2017. Hopefully you might listen to the community too. FeydHuxtable (talk) 08:59, 17 March 2019 (UTC)
Feyd, you've already been told how you are interjecting your personal views too much and getting into issues with too many policies glossing over the nuanced mainstream science, misrepresenting the totality of sources as well as me repeatedly, and going on tangents from focused content discussion. You need to start taking that seriously as those things are miring any attempt at focused content discussion way too much and just blows up these talk pages. You've already been given plenty of community input while not even addressing the issues they've been bringing up when you've been blanket edit warring your content back in, so that's why we're in the situation we are in the most recent section below (and no, your "unconstructive" quips in edit summaries do not justify that gain consensus by edit warring approach). I've mentioned how ONUS works to you many times already, and since your "condition" that it supports me has been satisfied already, I'd expect you'd have no qualms to going back to fixing issues here multiple editors have brought up.
I've tried quite a bit to get you to engage in even the start of focused content dispute resolution here, but there's a point where we have to move on when you don't satisfy that burden. Again, please try to pay attention to "experienced" editors in the topic as you requested rather than dismissing us and the policy implications that you are well aware by now. At this point, I just have to stick to what we're supposed to do according to the DS procedurally now (specifically gaming 1RR expectations and how to deal with editors that cast aspersions to win content disputes). You're already well aware of how you're supposed to navigate consensus-building in that context that I've been waiting for your or Andrew to do for awhile now. Bring up individual items and actually gain consensus for them rather than edit warring everything back in constantly. Kingofaces43 (talk) 17:07, 21 March 2019 (UTC)
you've already been told... solely by you –in case you haven't noticed, while I respect your fine qualities, I don't trust you on insect decline at all. plenty of community input - which on balance seems to support the mainstream presentation, not a denialist one. Agree even less with much of the rest, but as said am trying to leave space for others. We can talk in depth on my talk, I can visit yours, or we can try any other dispute resolution method you wish. Otherwise, unless we just back off, I fear this may be resolved at ANI/AN.FeydHuxtable (talk) 18:05, 21 March 2019 (UTC)
Others already brought up problems with the content, so I'm far from the only one. I already "backed off" from this page when you tried attacking me elsewhere, and you just blanket restored your content again instead of "backing off" too. That's the opposite of what should be done on this talk page (content discussion belongs here, not on user talk). I've already given plenty of guidance on how consensus-building is supposed to work, so please stop personalizing or hyperbolizing with "denialist" on focus on specific content if you feel so strongly about something as I already invited you to do. Kingofaces43 (talk) 21:28, 21 March 2019 (UTC)
I've posted 20k+ on the content, which IMO you never substantially engage with. E.g. focus on overstatement of Sanders scepticism has included, 1 , 2 , 3 To the last diff, you made arguments having nothing to do with my points: "we frequently use ... blogs" etc I've never argued against using blobs, only against giving them excessive weight to rebut a high level review, and on not misrepresenting what their author says. Such miss-communication has been sadly typical of our discussion, so it may be best to wait for others to chime in. FeydHuxtable (talk) 07:51, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
Feyd, the 20k+ has been mostly going on tangents and not focusing on specific content, so there was little to address content-wise, not miscommunication. WP:NOTFORUM applies here. There's no reason for me to address your broad swathes about "denialism", etc. that has already poisoned the well actively misprepresenting what I've been actually working on, so from a consensus-building perspective, we're required to dismiss those comments. I've been trying to help you with that constantly, but you can't keep doing that and project saying I'm the one not focusing on content while I'm trying to steer you back to specific content. As for the blog comment, that isn't a relevant reason to dismiss a statement from a scientist when it's commentary within the mainstream science. It's required per WP:DUE in cases like this, and you're already aware of how your other comments about Sanders were inappropriately toning down her major criticism.
At the end of the day, the specific issues with the content that have been brought up by me and others haven't been addressed and instead blanket reverted back in with next to no relevant discussion here to justify reinsertion. The things you've been bringing up here so far cannot circumvent that, so we're still left with you or others needing to actually gain consensus for the specific edits. I've already went way past my burden to make those easy for you to start to address, so if this continues, no one can complain from a WP:CON perspective if I start working on fixing those problems again. Again, please focus on the specific content that's been building up with quite a backlog now. Kingofaces43 (talk) 15:49, 22 March 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Ok, I can see you reasonably regard discussing the wider context as undesirably tangential, hence I'd already stopped that. I accept some of my suggestions that your preferred version is denialist were insufficiently equivocal. Also agree a balanced reflection of Sanders views would be mainstream, albeit near the sceptical end. But can't agree wanting to change the word 'exclude' > 'downplay' amounted to toning down. IMO it was correcting an OR misrepresentation, as carefully explained above. And IMO your objections are insufficient to block consensus for the stable version. Looks like we still need others to break this impasse... FeydHuxtable (talk) 17:09, 22 March 2019 (UTC)

Redirect discussion[edit]

So far, we’ve had three editors looking at either deletion or redirect. We’ve talked about how it’s very easy for both readers and editors to take the material in an undue weight without appropriate context here and at related pages. I’ve created this subsection for any new editors popping in.

WP:NOPAGE also gives guidance on this with Sometimes, a notable topic can be covered better as part of a larger article, where there can be more complete context that would be lost on a separate page. and One should particularly consider due and undue weight.

This topic first came up at the Insect page where the last paragraph listed there is largely what was decided on, and to handle material of further depth at the daughter article, Insect biodiversity, which does need to be fleshed out. That was also because the topic of insect declines needed to be handled very carefully in proper context to make sure the nuanced science is presented correctly as opposed to making it seem like we're going to lose most of our insect species in the next decades. That’s also what this article has currently been stubified to for now as at least a baseline.

So basically, the main question for a redirect is how strongly that first bullet on NOPAGE applies here. We currently have two redundant pages with this topic, with Insect biodiversity basically meant to handle all of this subject with no reason for a split from there, and Insect has a summary. If anyone else is going to chime in, I’d be curious to see what they have to say specifically on a redirect since the above conversation has mostly said what it’s going to say on the matter already. Kingofaces43 (talk) 01:02, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

  • Oppose This page is modelled on decline in amphibian populations, which is a good article. As there are many more insects than amphibians, this equivalent page has even more potential. These specific topics are notable and so pages for them are appropriate. Andrew D. (talk) 09:50, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
This is basically why the redirect is needed and hasn't addressed the underlying problems. Insect biodiversity was already the place to handle all of this, so creation of a new page to do exactly that simply because a similarly named title existed for amphibians goes against the page creation guideline. Pretty much everything you've brought for content here has main sections over at the diversity article. Kingofaces43 (talk) 22:38, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
The insect biodiversity article has existed since 2007 but is still graded as start class. The only person commenting on its talk page starts by stating that "This is a rather weak article..." It appears that the scope of that article is too broad and so it's better to have a more focussed approach based upon the latest sources. We have other topical articles such as windshield phenomenon and it is to be expected that we will have spectrum of articles from the very general to the highly specific. Per WP:NOTPAPER, there is no practical limit to the number of articles and large topics should be split and kept to a reasonable size. Andrew D. (talk) 00:01, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
That is exactly why we'll likely be going ahead with the redirect eventually. It's rather silly to say the biodiversity article needs work done, so a new one should be created, and that comment still doesn't address the main issues brought up at other pages on why we can't do this. WP:NOPAGE is very clear that some topics need to be nested with some broader areas for proper context, and that's what's needed here as already discussed previously before you created this fork. Eventually, that diversity page will encompass things like general insect diversity as well as changes in it (largely human mediated), and that's going to be the core focus of if it's ever expanded. If this really was such a huge topic that wouldn't work at the biodiversity page, someone should easily be able to justify a split but developing the content there. No one has bothered to do that yet aside from what I've added there. Kingofaces43 (talk) 04:33, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose In addition to many concerns expressed elsewhere on this talk page, the above argument for a redirect contains a straw man, i.e. making it seem like we're going to lose most of our insect species in the next decades No version of this article has ever said that. At least with regards to the mainstream version, this article has always been careful not to reach beyond the sources. As per the abstract of the only available high level review on global insect decline, "dramatic rates of decline that may lead to the extinction of 40% of the world's insect species over the next few decades.". Per basic maths, 40% != most. FeydHuxtable (talk) 12:18, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
First, please strike the mispresentation of a strawman as you're well aware this is a DS topic. Losing most of our insect species in the next decades is indeed part of the "Insect Armageddon" neologism that requires caution in due weight this fork does not practice. If someone is going to oppose this based on pure semantics like many vs. most, that really does not matter. The end problem is that we're getting into the POV fork problem by cherrypicking studies claiming 40% of the world's insect species over the next few decades when at previous pages we already determined it was not appropriate to use a highly criticized study finding like that. Kingofaces43 (talk) 22:38, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
We're talking science here, precision matters. The difference between 40% and >50% is rather large. And even if it's true that some of the wilder media sources are claiming we'll lose most of our insect species in the next few decades (which I've not seen), that has little bearing on the mainstream version of this article, which is careful not to reach beyond the sources, and in fact doesn't currently summarise the more alarming predictions in Sánchez-Bayo. FeydHuxtable (talk) 00:12, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
That's going off on a tangent again. Now you're arguing about 40 vs. 50% for some reason, which is another thing we now need to dismiss in this long talk page. The end result is that even that 40% number has been criticized in addition the media reports exaggerating it, and you're well aware of that from past discussions. We've already discussed at other pages that we can't be just listing random studies, especially primary ones or undue use of challenged reviews, and this page is now being used to circumvent that as a WP:POVFORK. Kingofaces43 (talk) 04:33, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
Responding just to the 'challenged' point. Any high level review in a subject of interest to Fringe pushers is liable to be challenged. The fact there are a few personal blogs & other non-peer reviewed statements doing so means nothing. Granted, Sánchez-Bayo is less than 2 months old. But the fact there's close to zero peer reviewed challenges even to Hallman et la (a very high profile & rigourous study that sparked the Armageddon concerns back in 2017) does rather suggest the version you prefer doesn't warrant even the 'minority view' label. I hope you won't say the EAS source is among the challenges - EAS agrees with Sánchez-Bayo that the global decline is "very concerning". Any challenge from EAS is more directed towards the wilder media coverage. FeydHuxtable (talk) 08:37, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
Casting aspersions about fringe like that is a WP:FRINGE violation here, and that does not address the redirect question at all. This page is still being used to push a very different view than what has already been used at the biodiversity page, which still makes it a WP:POVFORK. Kingofaces43 (talk) 15:59, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose redirect, wouldn't have a problem with a merge and redirect. I am in no way convinced that there is any WP:UNDUE treatment going on here; trying to talk down the rapid arthropod decline in general and insect decline in particular (if that distinction is even important here - otherwise just change the title...) at this point is getting quite close to climate change denial. It is happening, and it's being well documented. Whether we need to cover it in a separate article is another matter. A section at Insect biodiversity might do just fine, and could be liberally redirected to. There's very little applicable material in that article at the moment, however, so a fair amount should be merged over from here in that case. --Elmidae (talk · contribs) 00:12, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
No one has ever been denying the decline is happening as far as I'm aware. Merge vs. redirect wasn't originally a big deal for me though since most of the content at the time was redundant or already proposed at the other article but not accepted there. There's one or two things I actually do plan to introduce there from here recently, so at this point, you could functionally call what I first proposed a partial merge. Kingofaces43 (talk) 00:17, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
As long as most of the material currently [1] present makes it over, I'm fine with it :) That's a good selection of studies plus counter-positions, worth keeping. --Elmidae (talk · contribs)
It was already discussed that at the other pages that this type of presentation overall wouldn't be appropriate (e.g., using primary studies), so that's where the WP:POVFORK issue came into play by avoiding what was reached over there. I've mentioned it already, but just in case it got lost in the shuffle, the third paragraph at Insect_biodiversity#Number_of_species is what has been settled on so far. More can be built up from there, but it'll need to be a careful process. Kingofaces43 (talk) 01:17, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
  • I support whichever solution the majority of WP:INSECTS editors favour. This is clearly another example of Andrew attempting to overrule the editors who actually know what they are talking about. I've seen both Andrew and Feyd play this same game at a bunch of articles on Japanese topics, and Andrew at least on Indian topics as well. It seems that KoA43 is both legitimately interested and well-read in this topic, and the same is true of the other editors who supported his position further up this page, whereas Andrew is pulling the same Renaissance man "expert in everything" act he pulls every time he is so inclined, and Feyd is supporting him in that the same way he always does. Hijiri 88 (やや) 03:45, 16 March 2019 (UTC)
Whole heartedly agree with your central point. Like yourself I consider it good practice for non experts to yield to expertise. Which is why, as soon as a single Insect expert supported King back in 2017, I left the entire subject of bug decline for more than a year.
So far, few other editors have ventured an opinion on the science. A slim majority seemed to support the mainstream view. Yet with WP:Insect editors, while there's been indications they may be moving towards agreement with the mainstream, a slim preference may remain for Kings version, if only due to a single editor. Which is why I've recently & repeatedly indicated, that I'd withdraw my opposition on this page if "even one experienced editor chimes in supporting" King This would include if editor Chiswick Chap or Cwmhiraeth indicated they are not satisfied with the explanation addressing their initial concern. Or even if it's an experienced editor with no signs of expertise with insects.
Off topic tangent: diffs showing that on balance it's Hijiri88 who I support on Japan related topics

H, while I indicated I no longer wish to discusse the Colonel, this seems to warrant an exception. (Per the almost unbearable consequences of this bug decline thing, as quantified by last months UN report, outlined in the long embedded collapsed section above.)

I don't recall ever supporting the Colonel re Japan on either mainspace or article:Talk. The only time I can recall clearly supporting him on this at all was with two posts to AN back in June 2018. Even then I didn't say you were wrong. Just that the Colonel's view should not be dismissed lightly, for reasons including his overall outstanding scholarship, and the fact other Japan experts seem to be posting in line with him, or at least to be taking his expertise seriously. We had a long follow on chat on my talk where I guess I was quite equivocal, though I did say IMO its especially important that generalists should yield to specialists like yourself on this sort of topic.

It's our 3rd conversation just last week that deserves to be given more weight. Back in June I was understandably unsure how to weigh your expertise against the Colonel, as I'd only just met you. After coming to recognise you do indeed warrant great respect for your in-depth knowledge of east Asia, I went as far as to say "I've little doubt you'd be correct in at least 9 out of 10 Japan or Koera related disagreements" with the Colonel. Commenting on a specific Japan related article, I said the Colonel's revert of yourself seemed "most unconstructive". Granted, I made a possible "excuse" for the edit, but then immediately withdrew it once you demonstrated I was mistaken.

Surely, when viewed as a whole, the balance of my edits show that when it comes to Japan, I support yourself? Granted, you might prefer me to be more assertive on this. But as said several times, sometimes less is more, and the good Colonel is certainly not known for acting on my advise.

FeydHuxtable (talk) 09:51, 16 March 2019 (UTC)

  • Keep and oppose redirect -- I strongly oppose KingofFace's edits which smacks of something equivalent of climate-change-denial. This article can be vastly improved and there exists ample high quality sources. NOPAGE is a dubious argument and this topic is self-sufficient for a reader to tread on.WBGconverse 18:08, 16 March 2019 (UTC)
WBG, first please be more careful about WP:ASPERSIONS or giving creedence to other editors directly misrepresenting me on this page. It's already disrupted this page enough.
I've been directly saying that pesticides among other issues are causes of insect decline, but that some of the underlying science is very nuanced in the literature and needs to be handled very carefully. That includes the use of primary studies, some of which especially have been criticized for overextrapolating their data rather than the areas they actually did measure declines in. This all had been discussed over at Talk:Insect about how we needed to start with a base content there and at Insect biodiversity that was at least accurate and carefully built up from there. This page has been used to circumvent that in a redundant fashion, which is where the main issues for this redirect/merge discussion came up.
  • Support merge/redirect as proposer. I made most of the case at the open, but I want to be clear that I don't have a preference on merge or redirect as long as a merge takes into account the various issues already brought up at Talk:Insect that this page circumvented like use of primary sources, acceptance of certain studies, or listing out studies without the context given by the rest of the literature about them. Kingofaces43 (talk) 20:07, 16 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose redirect. I have no idea if Insectmageddon is real or not, and I don't think anyone else knows either. The science here is as mud. So normally I would say we should deal with this in a section of the insect article, or better yet, a paragraph. The problem is that this has gotten a lot of press, it has attracted a lot of attention, and sticking it in a section of another article requires us to say something succinct. The problem is that it's likely to end up a "some say yes, others say no", which never works well. Having a stand-along article allows a nuanced discussion we can't have in a short paragraph. It makes it harder for people to say "Wikipedia is censoring this topic because...". Nuance is hard, and it's especially hard when the state of knowledge is so incomplete. But I believe that's the best way forward here - both for readers and for editors. Guettarda (talk) 14:05, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
Guettarda, I believe your main concern about what to cover at insect has already been addressed both in my initial comment and at the talk page there. Basically, the insect page only has a summary here, and before this page was created, Insect biodiversity was supposed to be where this topic was going to be fleshed out and still needs to be, hence the merge/redirect. Kingofaces43 (talk) 15:06, 22 March 2019 (UTC)


So we've run into problems where the expectations of 1RR, WP:ONUS, etc. have largely been ignored, and a lot of disputed text has been reintroduced. Some good edits have gone in recently, so for part of the merge discussion above, some reiteration on specific content is needed to sort things out.

This is the recent rough status quo version on March 12 that kept an approximate baseline of good sources and generally accepted content in terms of due weight (some condensing might be needing for the conservation section, but that can probably be handled better at Insect biodiversity. I already explained in edit summaries before that diff the issues with what had been removed and discussed on talk pages a lot already.

Since then, Hirji88 had a good point on order of items here, Winged Blades of Godric had some good copy edits, and Cwmhiraeth had a good different iteration on needed WP:DUE text we had already settled on over at Insects.

Beyond that though, there really haven't been any content proposals here on this talk page despite a lot of disputed content just reinserted (and I've been encouraging the former for awhile). We have a baseline with that diff and those recent edits, and since it's getting to the point people may not be reading all the background at the Insect talk page, we might just have to reiterate why certain things have been removed or not gained consensus previously (outside of Sanchez-Bayo since that's been handled in above sections). Outside of that study, what specifically are you wanting to see added or have questions on why certain content has had issues? Kingofaces43 (talk) 14:41, 16 March 2019 (UTC)

SV, please undo your edit warring here that violated WP:ONUS policy and gain consensus for those edits you reinserted. That absolutely cannot be reinserted without gaining consensus like that. Some of those were already removed once and inappropriately blanket reverted back in like you just did without any attempt to gain consensus for them on the talk page. It's been nearly two weeks and no response, so even if the onus policy didn't exist, no one has voiced any reason for keeping those despite asking for that here and elsewhere. Not to mention that some outright failed verification or have been discussed elsewhere already as not having consensus. We've had enough problems like this already, so those blanket reverts ignoring the underlying problems and needing to gain consensus need to stop. Kingofaces43 (talk) 22:20, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
Kingofaces43, it seems to be you who is edit warring to remove studies, links, and even a whole article, clearly against consensus. I've asked you at Talk:Insect#Link removal if you could explain your thinking. SarahSV (talk) 22:59, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
This talk page is for dealing with content on this page, so I didn't reply about my edits here over there, and my edit summaries (twice) have been clear on the problems. ONUS policy is clear, so please don't accuse me of edit warring for following that, especially when no one has had any issue on this talk page with removal for nearly two weeks much less getting consensus for keeping it. Please follow policy here and focus on standard consensus-building rather than trying to force it back in. We've been at the D part of WP:BRD for inserting that content for awhile, so it's not appropriate to keep reinserting it. Kingofaces43 (talk) 23:17, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
It isn't helpful to ask people to respond to the same issues on three talk pages. But I'll repeat what I asked you at Talk:Insect. I wrote:
"In addition to removing links to the decline article, you've been giving a blog post by an ecologist and another post by the Entomological Society of America more space than to a systematic review, e.g. [2][3][4][5][6] You've also twice removed the Entomologischer Verein Krefeld study, [7][8] even though it's widely covered."
Would you please explain, either here or there? SarahSV (talk) 00:05, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
First, the WP:ONUS isn't on me to explain first, but for you go gain consensus for content you reverted back in against that policy. Too many have been ignoring that so far. I've gone ahead and removed it again per that policy given all that hasn't happened here that would justify reinsertion.
Most of those diffs you provide are just merging in already crafted content elsewhere and not really relevant for this page as already discussed elsewhere. On the Entomologischer Verein Krefeld study, that has already been discussed here and part of the POVFORK problem by avoiding that discussion. It's a primary study without appropriate secondary sources and just had a bunch of news articles in that recent diff. It really doesn't get mentioned in secondary sources aside from very minor mention like Insect abundance is suspected to have declined in recent times in western Europe based on data from German protected areas.[9] at best as already discussed, and that discussion also explains the issues why it can't be used carte blanche even without the standard removal of primary sources in this subject. The study has been criticized enough for its methodology that WP:DUE is a major issue when discussing it in the "Insect Apocalypse" topic or even actual declines.
Otherwise, the Sánchez-Bayo study is being handled in other sections, but others have brought up issues with using it. What's concerning though is you blanket reverted back in something that wasn't about insects and couldn't even be verified in the Spineless source. No one should be reverting first and asking questions later (or not at all) here with all this going on. Kingofaces43 (talk) 01:57, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
The minor mention you quote is from a paper titled "Environmental DNA Time Series in Ecology.". As discussed, even a smart kid wouldn't expect a source of such wide scope to focus on decline. You've been advised multiple times that the "Entomologischer VK" study, AKA Hallman, receives significant attention in the best available secondary sources. For example, the only available high level review on global insect decline (Sánchez-Bayo). Even arch sceptic Simon Leather largely centers a whole paper around it. Last month's UN report devotes a whole page to it, agreeing with Hallman in their own voice, and not adding a word of equivocation. The report also indicates some of the already manifest consequences of the decline, showing how such diversity loss is a contributor to the numbers suffering from extreme hunger rising to 821 million, with 50 million children now suffering from often fatal wasting. This is just a tiny fraction of the available secondary coverage, yet it already massively outweighs all the sceptical sources you’ve managed to produce. How anyone whose been involved in this discussion can continue to claim Hallman is a study without appropriate secondary sources is perplexing. FeydHuxtable (talk) 06:32, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
Yes, and that review that you call of such a wide scope was really the most mention in that Web of Science search. That's part of the WP:DUE problem in the totality of sources. As already discussed, if it's a primary source in this subject, it needs to be put in the context of secondary sources. That wasn't being done, so it shouldn't be perplexing. Also, please also knock off that skeptic/denialist hyperbolization. Your focus on that characterization is glossing over the actual content issues repeatedly ignored so far that is needed to gain consensus on something specific here. We've already discussed the specific criticisms of the Hallman study methodology, so it should be no surprise great care is needed when discussing it. Kingofaces43 (talk) 00:59, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
Any lack of success in your web searches are irrelevant when links to quality secondary sources that discuss Hallman in depth have been repeatedly posted. And the word "sceptic" is widely regarded as a positive at least in academic circles, several of our best editors self identify as such. Rather than complaining about hyperbolization, you should be proud that some of your preferred positions are now being described as sceptic rather than Denialist. Except when taken to extremes, skepticism is an important part of mainstream science.FeydHuxtable (talk) 07:32, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
The problem is still that you're continuously hyperbolizing the situation here, and it's miring the content discussion. That's not helpful. Kingofaces43 (talk) 00:58, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Since there's been no discussion on this talk page on many of the underlying problems despite asking, I've again had to stick to WP:ONUS policy and undo a blanket revert by Andrew Davidson with no reasoning that reintroduced content that violated WP:V and undid clarifications to content related to jargon. This business of reintroducing content without gaining consensus here needs to stop. Please follow normal consensus-building procedure instead of that. Those blanket reverts make it nearly impossible to try to work on content creation in any coherent manner, so please work more piecemeal and as well as on the talk page if you want something included.
For most of that diff, it's content that had been challenged over two weeks ago, and no one has tried to justify inclusion on this talk page despite me repeatedly asking and getting no answers from the blanket reverts, so I have to stick to what we have on this talk page even if I disregard ONUS policy. I created this section in case people had an actual consensus-based reason for including any of the content. If not or if editors still don't want to explain their reverts, we're at a point we can assume consensus for not including rather than just lack of any consensus. For I think a third or fourth time now, I laid out the specific problems in edit summaries, so they're right there waiting to be addressed. Kingofaces43 (talk) 04:25, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
All your significant challenges seem well refuted. Even one of the admins most responsible for making Wikipedia such a reliable reference source, by largely writing the book on WP:OR etc, has advised that you've been miss-applying policy. Consensus is something that's decided by the community - it's not for one editor to dictate what happens here by insisting on maintaining their preferred version against the wishes of everyone else, especially when they seem to lack even a faint policy based case. If you feel any of your concerns haven't been discussed, please specify them. In the meanwhile, I'll be restoring the consensus version, as your new version introduced severe NPOV issues by overweighting skeptical claims. FeydHuxtable (talk) 07:32, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
FeydHuxtable, you can't just suddenly show up here after not addressing the specific issues for weeks and just declare everything is addressed without even doing so. So far, you're indicating you don't have any problem with removal of most of the content based on your lack of specific response here, and you've left the issues to build up with your blanket reverts. You already were aware this type of edit was disruptive reinserting completely unverified content and other things that completely failed ONUS policy, so do you have any plans to go back and fix those if you aren't going to discuss them here? I'm tired of my time getting wasted trying to clean up after those constant blanket reverts being used to avoid consensus-building here.
So let's try another example of what you should've been doing all these months. I can't directly diff it because of the blanket edit warring, but it was For many studies, factors such as abundance, biomass, and species richness are often found to be declining for some, but not all locations; some species are in decline while others are not.[10] Notice how I didn't try to edit war it back in like you've been repeatedly doing with all your content, but instead brought it up here? That's how WP:ONUS works. I highly suggest trying it. Even if I went back to fix the blanket revert, I still couldn't add it back in right now.
That one is a new source, and needed to be added in the study criticisms as that was a main focus of it. It even supported the Sanders source resolving the blog concerns you had. You didn't give any policy-based reasons for removing that though, and it's WP:UNDUE to exclude such criticisms. Everything was paraphrased right from the source, and the source gives a significant portion of its space to study criticisms, so there aren't any clear issues with using it as such from my edits. Kingofaces43 (talk) 00:58, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
There's only one point I can agree with - that it's "WP:Undue to exclude" criticisms such as those in your new Thomas source. The thing is, we already have at least 5 sources saying that sort of thing - Leather, Sanders, AES, the Atlantic & Economist. So it seems overweight to add another, especially as we're so far only including a tiny fraction of the scientists who seem to agree wholeheartedly with Sánchez-Bayo, Hallman et la. I stated as much in my edit summary when I added your Thomas source back.
As for 'suddenly showing up' I've been a regular on this page all month, specifically addressing what seemned to be your key concerns. It was just on your Redux section that I didn't say anything for a few weeks. I thought maybe you might listen to other editors so tried to leave space for them. I see now that was a vain hope; SlimVirgin AFAIK is the single individual most responsible for creating policy back in the early years when it was desperately needed. Yet you don't listen and try to wiki lawyer even against her!
On the subject of listening, I've already repeatedly said I don't have a problem with the Saunders blog itself. I even like most of what she says and have added the blog twice to this article. So the new source resolves nothing on this front. My concern was we ought not to give the blog "excessive weight to rebut a high level review" or misrepresent what its author says. -something that's no longer a problem on this particular aritcle. It's in fact the Colonel & SV who are more concerned about the Saunders blog, they're the ones you might want to persuade on that.
An easy way for you to stop your time wasting would be to simply find other topics to edit, where your interpretations of the sources are less at odds with the rest of the community. Alternatively, you could try listening to what editors actually say, rather than imagining it's "very clear" what their POVs are. Then you might see ways to have real influence here. With all that said, thank you for the good example on complying with WP:Onus. FeydHuxtable (talk) 16:30, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
Feyd, you've made your battleground behavior quite clear here, and despite the DS not being enforced, I am not going to be run out of the topic by the disruptive behavior I've been trying to help you with. I'm slowly working to clean that up, but there's a point where your edits are just going to be undone as patent disruption in the future if it keeps up. Please also keep in mind you've already been cautioned about your aggrandizing editors. Slimvirgin gets no special privileges here, and you've been repeatedly cautioned about casting aspersions towards me whether it be about pesticides, wikilawyering, etc. Time to knock it off and focus on the content process.
You've indicated you're still ignoring all the stuff you've reinserting in your blanket reverts, so are you going to address them or not? You still haven't done that at all in your comments above despite being around, and they've been laid out rather plainly for you. Instead, you're only focusing on things already being discussed elsewhere.
And yes, I understand you have your personal POV about it being a "tiny fraction of scientists", but that's not appropriate on a wikipedia talk page as already discussed. More sources are coming out of the woodwork, and what you're suggesting is a direct WP:DUE violation. Kingofaces43 (talk) 20:01, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
Projecting your battlefield mentality on others isn't going to help King. You're the one whose twice added hostile & (at the time) unwarranted DS tags, twice made "frivolous" attempts to get a mainstream editor sanctioned at AE, not to mention your ~20x "warnings" & threats. Whereas I argued against sanctions for you at both AEs, at the Arb case, and even said to admin Leyo it would be fine if he blocked me, but that I saw blocking yourself as borderline involved (this being before I new about your past history with him.)
Now if we can be allowed to WP:FOC, the central part of my revert was to restore mention of the Hallman & Garcia studies. The need to include those has been well discussed, the consensus to do so is overwhelming. If you feel my revert restored any other "outright failed verification", then pls either specify, or maybe just re-do that part of your edit & see if others accept it. FeydHuxtable (talk) 20:53, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
Please knock it off and WP:FOC. I've been trying to patiently work with you despite the underlying issues the DS notification told you to avoid while steering you towards content discussion, so the projection comments aren't helpful, especially on an article talk page.
The problem now though is you just said you reverted all of this just for the the Hallman & Garcia studies, and you haven't addressed any of the rest of that here for weeks despite multiple requests. Instead of lashing out at me, you're supposed to address those things that I directly set up in the prior edit summaries, not make pointy "unconstructive" edit summaries while not addressing them suggesting I just go through the work of redoing edits again on what's become a revert for largely no reason. Can you please engage in expected content discussion on this? Kingofaces43 (talk) 17:41, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
Seeing no response on these things for a few weeks now, I went ahead and removed the things that hadn't been engaged on here, sometimes adding in replacement content in lieu of removing entirely. As I've done repeatedly, I made it clear in the edit summaries what the problems where between these diffs for any status quo type material with most of the others after that also falling in that category. The only main addition outside of that was this, but there hasn't really been any good reason given for excluding that part of the source when its already cited elsewhere. Kingofaces43 (talk) 19:49, 31 March 2019 (UTC)
There has been plenty of response, making it clear that there is no consensus for those removals and so they should not be repeated. Andrew D. (talk) 13:03, 1 April 2019 (UTC)


I really don't like the Francisco Sánchez-Bayo study because it is biased. It starts out with the statement "Biodiversity of insects is threatened worldwide" and goes on to do its best to demonstrate the accuracy of this statement. It uses peacocky words such as "shocking", "worryingly" and "dreadful state of insect biodiversity". It mentions the limitations in data availability but goes on to draw worldwide conclusions. I wanted to ask the authors about the statement "Moreover, every year about 1% of insect species are added to the list, with such biodiversity declines resulting in an annual 2.5% loss of biomass worldwide (Fig 2)." but could not find how to contact them. I wanted to ask what list they were referring to, and where the 2.5% figure comes from (Figure 2 is unhelpful in this respect). Without an understanding of the basis for the figure I propose removing it from the article. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 09:59, 23 March 2019 (UTC)

You may be correct about bias, though that seems to be a minority view. I skimmed hundreds of reactions via twitter and science journalism, and most entomologists and ecologists seem to agree with the Sánchez-Bayo & Wyckhuys review. I suspect they wrote the summarising statement at the top only after reviewing the 73 studies & doing the math which allowed them to make the credible extrapolation to the threatening worldwide trend.
Not sure the emotionally charged words like "shocking" etc are peacock in this context. In my view such language is appropriate considering the rapid rate of decline and the consequences to human life. The list they refer to is the IUCN Red List. If you want to hear that direct from the authors, if you click Sánchez-Bayo's name from near the top of the review's science direct page , it should give you several emails for him.
The 2.5% figure is derived from several sources, most especially from studies that measured biomass declines for insects in specific regions over the course of several decades. (In some cases this captured flying insects of all species present in a locality, in other cases also canopy & ground insects. The 3 most important biomass studies took place in the UK (Shortall et al., 2009) , Germany (Hallmann et al., 2017 ) and Puerto Rica ( Lister and Garcia, 2018). They seem to have made good use of ANOVA techniques etc, though I agree the review was somewhat imprecise in advising on how they did the math, and even in qualifying what they meant by 2.5% . (Considering the raw data, 2.5% only makes sense as an average if it's a steady linear decline, something that never happens in nature, it's much more likely there an ongoing ~5.6% exponential decline.)
Hopefully you'll get a helpful answer from good Sánchez-Bayo. Alternatively, there may be a revised version of the review coming out next month. FeydHuxtable (talk) 12:11, 23 March 2019 (UTC)
  • The Sanchez-Bayo / Wyckhuys paper is a systematic review by experts in the field published in a respectable peer-reviewed journal. It is the first such review and, being quite recent, represents the best information that we have on the topic. It is not our job to critique or comment on it – that would be original research or editorialising. We should just report its conclusions and the reaction to it in other reliable sources. I oppose any attempt to remove or diminish its part in this article. Andrew D. (talk) 17:44, 23 March 2019 (UTC)
We can't engage in OR, but it is our job to gather critiques by other scientists, which do reflect some of Cwmhiraeth concerns, including peacock language or "smoking gun" language that frequently gets criticized in this nuanced topic (I've lost track of how many bee researchers I've heard complaining about that very issue). Even being new doesn't mean it can override the criticisms and nuances of previous recent secondary sources, which is why editors have been repeatedly cautioned about needing to use this study extremely carefully and not carte blanche like this.
It's clear you oppose removal, but that's not how WP:ONUS works. Without rehashing the WP:POVFORK issues, our rough status quo is what has been established over at Insect and described here. We can't circumvent that content discussion because you created this new page though. We're still at the point where multiple editors have brought up problems with use of this study across pages, so there is a point we need to get back to trying to fix that again instead of letting people blanket revert it back in. I have a few ideas I'm working on while incorporating some of the good recent changes, but it's also slow trying to sort through the constant blanket reverts to pick out the stuff that does have some consensus. Kingofaces43 (talk) 19:56, 23 March 2019 (UTC)

Symbol redirect vote 4.svg I contacted Francisco Sanchez-Bayo and had a reply to my questions. I could copy his responses here, or would that be a copyright infringement? Cwmhiraeth (talk) 18:41, 24 March 2019 (UTC)

You should have their permission from a privacy standpoint to copy email messages, but the closer-at-hand problem is we can't really use their responses for anything here either in the content development end of things. Kingofaces43 (talk) 19:15, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
Cwmhiraeth, it would be very interesting to see his responses, but you would have to obtain his permission. SarahSV (talk) 20:47, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
  • I saw an interview with Sanchez-Bayo in which he explained his methodology. I don't have it to hand but appears that the study started as a review of the drivers of decline, which is why they looked specifically for declines, but that they then supplemented their database search with other ways of locating relevant papeers to get a general overview. I'll have another look for it. Andrew D. (talk) 19:10, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
  • As expected, it didn't take too long for scientists to start speaking up about the major flaws in the review. We already have the sourced Sanders content, but we also have:
  1. “Insectageddon”: A call for more robust data and rigorous analyses
  2. Alarmist by bad design: Strongly popularized unsubstantiated claims undermine credibility of conservation science
  3. Global insect decline: Comments on Sánchez-Bayo and Wyckhuys (2019)
That last one is even more critical than the others. Normally a study has to be pretty out of line to get that much attention (scientists just usually ignore poor studies and not cite them). Mirroring the other sources, we have comments like Methodologically limiting the initial searches to “declin*” biased the study, and any attempt to generate an average rate of decline for all insects. There are many studies that have reported no significant changes in insect numbers or endangerment. . ., so we're dealing with major WP:DUE issues in using the findings of the review. Like all the mainstream commentary so far, they all point out the need for more good quality data, but point out this study is riddled with issues where claims about rate of extinction shouldn't be used. Kingofaces43 (talk) 03:09, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
Kingofaces43, re: Wagner (number 3 above), I added it to the article just before you posted here. There is now a paragraph based to a large extent on his letter. Number one (Thomas) was added to the article yesterday, I believe. SarahSV (talk) 03:31, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
See below. I pointed it out on 27 March and FeydHuxtable added it to the article. SarahSV (talk) 03:34, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
On similar high impact topics like glboal warming, its easy to find multiple low tier sources that argue against reviews in line with the mainstream consensus. They prove nothing, and we normally largely ignore them on Wikipedia. In this case, some of the criticism is admittedly from credible scientists, and like SV says we've already been incorporating it into the article. It would be WP:undue to include every single criticism, especially as so far we've only cited a tiny fraction of the source that agree the worldwide decline is a major problem.
I'd be cautious about using a source that makes claims on there being many studies "that have reported no significant changes in insect numbers". I'm only aware of 6 such studies, all of very limited scope, none of which cast doubt on the overwhelming consensus that worldwide insect decline is a problem. The Sánchez-Bayo review conceded there are rare examples of population increase even in the abstract of their reivew. Scientists have been warning about the imminent mass extinction threat to insects and other animals for decades, a survey showed 70% of biologists believed that even late 20th century. The evidence for mass extinction since then has massively strengthened, especially with regards to insects.
If there are any studies that cast doubt on the global insect decline, please list the individually. Vague mentions of "many studies" are not helpful. FeydHuxtable (talk) 07:30, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
That's WP:OR with you as an anonymous editor against a sourced expert in the field. No one is saying anything about denying insect declines are a problem, so it's not helpful to continue hyperbolizing the content issues as that. Please focus on the specific issues at hand. We don't go around removing valid scientific criticism by incorrectly interjecting WP:FRINGE like you're doing referencing climate change. To follow your analogy, if a climate change paper were criticized in this same manner for methodology underestimating temperature change, the paper would just be treated as poorly designed with whatever conclusions related to that being invalid. The other good papers in the subject get used instead. These are the venues where such criticism occurs, and the sources make it very clear there are serious issues that require more weight as sources start to speak up more. Kingofaces43 (talk) 17:41, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
Again, WP:OR "does not apply to talk pages", as it clearly says if you follow your own link. Please stop wasting our time with your feeble wikilaywering and nonsense arguments against the mainstream science. It's beginning to become disruptive. FeydHuxtable (talk) 18:01, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
That is not a blanket excuse to to write up unsourced personal essays about the sources though. The policy is still very clear about novel synthesis when it comes to content, and the type of criticism you're giving here requires sourcing. When that piece of the policy you mention has come up for discussion, editors said to point to WP:FORUM to prevent gaming of OR, and that is quite clear on this too. Your personal feelings as an anonymous editor cannot override sourced opinions of experts. If you want your critique of that publication to even be considered for use here, you either need to publish it on a blog as an expert in the field or ideally in a journal publication of some sort. Kingofaces43 (talk) 18:33, 31 March 2019 (UTC)
Adding on a fourth new source in direct journal commentary now: Worldwide insect declines: An important message, but interpret with caution Kingofaces43 (talk) 02:55, 13 April 2019 (UTC)


It's hard to keep up with the sources for this. I was just updating the article to add the recent coverage in The Economist and, while I was working on that update just now, the BBC radio reported another study about pollinator decline. I don't have time to digest that right now but that study sounds good because it covers trends in hundreds of species over 33 years. There are other studies which have been referred to in reports but I've not gotten to those yet either. As there are repeated attempts to remove significant sources from the article, I plan to make a list of the important sources and might copy that here as a subpage or table, so that others can also refer to it. More anon. Andrew D. (talk) 19:10, 26 March 2019 (UTC)

The study is Powney, Gary D.; et al. (26 March 2019). "Widespread losses of pollinating insects in Britain". Nature Communications. 10. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-08974-9. Explicit use of et al. in: |first1= (help) SarahSV (talk) 22:14, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
This should perhaps be added to the article too: Thomas, Chris D.; Hefin Jones, T.; Hartley, Sue E. (1 March 2019). "'Insectageddon': A call for more robust data and rigorous analyses". Global Change Biology. doi:10.1111/gcb.14608. SarahSV (talk) 00:32, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
The first is a primary source, so we shouldn't be reaching for that. The second is a letter to the editor not a full a review, but it can be used with some attribution, especially since the scientists are discussing methodology issues (and that's one of the more reliable forums for that aside from systematic reviews). That said, it does get into the nuance that we've been needing to be really careful about instead of the blanket usage of sources that's been discussed above. There's also another source I just found checking these out, so it looks like criticism is mounting even more. Kingofaces43 (talk) 03:10, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
Primary sources can be used here so long as they're used "to make straightforward, descriptive statements of facts that can be verified by any educated person with access to the primary source" (see WP:PRIMARY) and if there's secondary coverage of those sources. SarahSV (talk) 03:35, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
I think you're very well aware the community has different standards for scientific topics. You generally need secondary sources to summarize the primary sources for us, especially in nuanced topics like this prone to methodological issues. As you mentioned, there needs to be coverage in the secondary sources which includes not newspapers, but scientific review articles, etc. Properly reading primary literature requires assessing methods, experimental design, etc., and we as anonymous editors are not qualified to do that. That's just the nature of scientific literature. WP:PRIMARY is very clear when such interpretation is needed. Kingofaces43 (talk) 03:57, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
WP:PRIMARY doesn't support what you're doing here. Please point to which part of a policy or guideline you're relying on. Primary sources have to be used with caution (stick to them closely; make sure there's secondary coverage; don't use them for analysis; don't build an article entirely or almost entirely around them), but there's no policy or guideline that doesn't allow them at all.
Even with scholarly secondary coverage (Sánchez-Bayo and Wyckhuys 2019, a systematic review), you removed Hallmann et al. 2017 from this article six times (4 March 2019, 5 March 2019, 11 March 2019, 13 March 2019, 24 March 2019, and 26 March 2019), and from Insect several times. While you were doing that, you were adding a blog post and giving it more space than the systematic review (e.g. [11]). That seems topsy-turvy. SarahSV (talk) 04:22, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
Kingofaces43, you've just removed Hallmann et al. 2017 (and other material) for the seventh time from this article (27 March 2019). That is definitely edit warring. Please revert yourself. SarahSV (talk) 04:28, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
I'm currently working on transitional edits, but WP:ONUS policy is clear on this one. If you have specific content you want to discuss about Hallman, please do. Kingofaces43 (talk) 04:29, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
Please revert yourself and restore the Hallmann paragraph you keep removing. Then you can open a discussion about whether it should be retained. SarahSV (talk) 04:32, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
This really isn't relevant to this section. Please remember that this came up over two weeks ago with no responses, and I already started a discussion where editors could bring it up here. I've done my due diligence on that part in terms of trying to invite editors to actually work on those edits. Please also keep in mind Sanders is being used per WP:BLOGS with multiple editors signing off on that use. Not to mention we have other sources saying the same thing, so there's no problem with using it as an additional source. Kingofaces43 (talk) 04:42, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
Kingofaces43, WP:BLOGS says:
"Self-published expert sources may be considered reliable when produced by an established expert on the subject matter, whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications.[8] Exercise caution when using such sources: if the information in question is suitable for inclusion, someone else will probably have published it in independent reliable sources."
I helped to write that part of the policy, and one of the intentions of it was to allow for occasions when an expert in the field self-publishes something helpful and there is no other equally appropriate source. The writer of the blog you added is a postdoctoral research fellow in ecology. But even if she were a well-known academic, her blog should not be given priority over a systematic review. In addition, you used a quote from her that criticized the systematic review, and ignored the parts that agreed with it, namely "But, along with previous studies, it is a wake-up call. It provides a nice review of the drivers that we already know are having devastating impacts on wildlife and ecosystems." She goes on to say that declines of some species and groups are confirmed, and that the main drivers are habitat loss, climate change, intensive agriculture, invasive species, and the overuse of synthetic chemicals. SarahSV (talk) 19:27, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
Please remember that policy is very clear that experts in the field are an appropriate use of blogs (and in my mind the only instance we should be using them at Wikipedia). Editors already agreed on this usage, so these arguments again get into the POVFORK problem. When parts of a review are undue, we often use attributed statements by scientists. That's fairly normal. That being said, we already had other scientists in editorials speaking up too. I also didn't ignore anything. That content was already covered by other sources. Kingofaces43 (talk) 00:28, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
BLOGS says: "Self-published expert sources MAY be considered reliable when produced by an established expert on the subject matter" (emphasis added). That doesn't mean it's a good idea to use them. There's no need to use a self-published source for this topic, especially one written by a junior academic, and especially not when only the negative part of her opinion is highlighted; when she's given more space than a systematic review; and when peer-reviewed sources are being repeatedly removed. That is a very upside-down approach to sourcing. SarahSV (talk) 06:23, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
That's only used in response to the current upside-down issues as you call it, so you can't really complain about that. At the end of the day, a qualified scientist has made a critique of the study, and it's supported by other sources as well. Generally as long as we aren't dealing with WP:FRINGE topics, such critiques are normally found on personal websites or letters to the editor. Reviews are not immune to critique, especially when there are major issues like that which undermine many of the conclusions made within them. Kingofaces43 (talk) 16:03, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

Hallmann et al[edit]

It seems quite outrageous that attempts should be made to remove this study from the article. This study had an especially high impact and so a detailed account of it is needed in the article. Here's what The Economist said about it recently:

But when Caspar Hallmann of Radboud University in the Netherlands combed through the data in 2017, all doubts about their significance were silenced. Between 1989 and 2016 he found the biomass of flying insects in this corner of western Germany fell 77%, or over 5% a year. Making the results more remarkable is that the traps were set up in nature reserves which, though hardly pristine, are better protected from clouds of insecticides than most land in western Europe. “We were amazed,” says Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex, one of the co-authors. The study was the third most frequently cited scientific study (of all kinds) in the media in 2017 and pushed the governments of Germany and the Netherlands into setting up programmes to protect insect diversity.

So, we see that the paper was heavily cited and has influenced the policy of more than one government.

Note also that this paper is actually a secondary source. The primary sources in this case are the records of the EVK over many years. The paper was an analysis of this material by researchers from another institution in a different country and so is at least one step removed from the primary sources. The suggestion above that its status invalidates it here is doubly wrong.

So, as a recent, high-impact and influential secondary source, this paper is excellent for our purpose and so should remain. Andrew D. (talk) 14:29, 27 March 2019 (UTC)

Indeed Colonel. And Hallman itself is a re-analyses, the first analyses of the German data being from good Martin Sorg back in 2013, so another step removed. I'm still inclined to consider Hallman as primary for wikipedia purposes, but even if that is corerct, it is being used in compliance with policy, as confirmed by SlimVirgin herself. I really hope there are no more time wasting attempts to remove these studies, which so obviously warrant inclusion in the article. It's embarrassing. FeydHuxtable (talk) 14:56, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
Kingofaces43, WP:ONUS is fully satisfied here. Hallmann is a high-quality reliable source that has been discussed by other high-quality RS, including a systematic review, and it has led to changes in government action in two countries. There is no policy reason to remove it, and every reason to include it. It's exactly the kind of source the article should rely on and discuss. SarahSV (talk) 19:37, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
As already mentioned, it's a primary source, so no onus has been satisfied in terms of using it carte blanche. At the end of the day, trying to include the study like this is still a WP:POVFORK, and there's no way around that circumventing the previous talk discussions about not using it like this. WP:OR is very clear on not using sources we're required to analyze ourselves to properly use. Either someone is engaging in personal peer-review that's required for reading primary literature and violating the policy, or else they're not using the source as an educated person should, which also violates the policy. There's way too many issues with using the primary source in this particular manner to really ever appropriately address them. Kingofaces43 (talk) 00:22, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
Andrew you've been around long enough to know newspapers are not appropriate to use as secondary sources for scientific articles, especially in this topic. We stick to what secondary sources like reviews say in the literature, not what primary literature citing something else does unless it's something pretty uncontroversial. There have been way too many disruptive attempts to edit war this content back in as a POVFORK, not no amount of straw polling gets around that.
That said, there's already a good description of the underlying issues here, cited by Leather, etc. At the end of the day, we have to stick to what secondary sources say. I already provided one that succinctly avoids most of those issues with Insect abundance is suspected to have declined in recent times in western Europe based on data from German protected areas.[12] Beyond that, we can't be picking what's WP:DUE out of a primary study. No one should be fighting to push in a primary source. Kingofaces43 (talk) 00:22, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
We can and do use newspapers and other accessible media for non MEDS science topics. E.g. as is done in the FA class Global warming. And Insect Decline is considerably less controversial than GW. There is unanimous agreement among scientists that it's a problem - whereas with man made GW, a few say it's not a thing, or at least not a thing to be concerned about. With bug decline, even the most skeptical sources are mostly just saying there's insufficient data to be sure we're on track for a catastrophic ecological collapse. The Sanders blog for example agrees insect decline is a problem, warranting ".. More conservation actions. ... More research. ... More funding".FeydHuxtable (talk) 07:41, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
Newspapers are well known as not being reliable for scientific content even outside of Wikipedia guidelines and are only appropriate as supplemental to actual reliable scientific sources. Also, please dial back the unanimous agreement agruments. You've made your personal POV very clear here, and it's interfering with the nuance the subject requires as you're still glossing over. No one is fighting over insect declines not being a problem, and you're still repeatedly making mistakes like that. Kingofaces43 (talk) 15:56, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
Nope. What's "very clear" is that you're not doing a good job of lisening to what other editors say. FeydHuxtable (talk) 16:30, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

Another good point about the Hallmann source is that it was published with a CC licence so that it's easy for us to freely access and reuse it. Andrew D. (talk) 11:01, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

The issue was debated in the UK parliament recently, following evidence presented to its Environmental Audit Select Committee by people like Georgina Mace. Notice that the Hallmann study was specifically mentioned as the "most shocking piece of evidence". Again we see the impact of this. Andrew D. (talk) 19:27, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

An excellent point Colonel. It is heartening to see the language that even conservative speakers use to describe the "hugely important" issue is consistently in line with the gravity accorded by mainstream science. With not even a hint of skepticism, let alone the Denialist nonsense we've had to contend with here on Wikipedia. FeydHuxtable (talk) 19:53, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
I'm still not aware of any colonels here, so that's pretty irrelevant. At the end of the day though, government bodies like that aren't reliable scientific sources. Kingofaces43 (talk) 20:03, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

Sánchez-Bayo, Wyckhuys[edit]

  • A common criticism of the Sánchez-Bayo, Wyckhuys review is that its choice of search terms specifically looked for the word decline. Sánchez-Bayo addresses this in a video interview which is reported in Discover,

    Sánchez-Bayo and his co-author Kris Wyckhuys have also been criticized for only including studies with the keyword “decline,” in their review, which could mean that they missed studies of insects who aren’t in trouble. The result might be data that looks unfairly gloomy, and it casts doubt on whether insects are truly in as much trouble as they claim.

    Sánchez-Bayo, a biologist at the University of Sydney, acknowledges the shortcomings of his work, but he says he’s only interpreting the data available. “If someone wants to criticize that, please show us your own studies, show us your measurements, and show us that it’s different,” he says, adding that extinction wasn’t the main point of his research. “This is just an extrapolation and we don’t put too much emphasis on that.”

    Furthermore, he says that two-thirds of the studies came from references in papers he found outside the database search, though they weren’t able to include that methodological detail in their paper because of length constraints. Sánchez-Bayo says it contradicts the criticism that the authors only looked for papers mentioning insect declines.

So, if we include this criticism in the article, we should include this counter-argument too. Andrew D. (talk) 12:55, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
That's getting into WP:GEVAL territory as we usually don't do tit-for-tat on things like this. Some of those points they made had already been addressed by the criticism (mainly that the data they made available to themselves was extremely biased with others pointing out how a proper study should've been done), and they've specifically pointed out the extinction claims are highly problematic. Kingofaces43 (talk) 17:41, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
WP:GEVAL is about ridiculous stuff like the flat Earth. The Sánchez-Bayo, Wyckhuys study is a systematic review and is being taken quite seriously. As it is currently the only such review, its details are quite important for our article. Such clarifications about its methodology seem essential to convey an accurate understanding of it and its significance. Andrew D. (talk) 13:03, 1 April 2019 (UTC)


This talk page is over 100K now and so archiving is needed. Automating this would be sensible but WP:ARCHIVE indicates that we need to establish consensus for bot parameters. I haven't done this before and so it would be good if an experienced person could lead us through the process, please. Andrew D. (talk) 09:22, 29 March 2019 (UTC)

A good shout. I've some experience with archiving. We don't need explicit concensus as such, though it would be good to wait at least a few days to see if anyone objects. Assuming they don't, then if no one else sets up archiving, I'll add it myself in the next few weeks. FeydHuxtable (talk) 12:06, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
Archiving is not a good idea when the older sections are still hosting discussions; archiving would shut these down. Back in 2015 Talk:History of Japan had a disastrous habit of archiving ongoing discussions. Of the oldest three sections on this page, the first and third have both been edited in the last two days or so (although the first is transcluded from elsewhere, and so may not be archived like the rest -- obviously it could still be edited elsewhere, but having an archived thread growing would be weird). Hijiri 88 (やや) 12:53, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
That makes sense H. I was planning to add MiszaBot code set to 90 days as I did here. So I think it might not have touched any of the recently live discussions. That said, I guess no harm in waiting for ongoing discussion to calm down a little, if you judge that to be best. FeydHuxtable (talk) 13:19, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Archiving has been boldly started with a value of 30 days. I expect this can be adjusted in line with the pace of activity here. Andrew D. (talk) 13:12, 1 April 2019 (UTC)

Two new sources[edit]

Are there any objections to summarizing this 47 year UK study or this 25 year study of European insectivores? EllenCT (talk) 21:04, 1 April 2019 (UTC)

  • The approach of the second paper is quite interesting – analysing population trends in insectivorous birds as a way of assessing the underlying trend in insects. But what I've been doing, in selecting papers and studies, is to focus on those which are attracting attention in the quality press. Has either of these papers made an impact yet? Andrew D. (talk) 21:54, 1 April 2019 (UTC)
I learned about them both from this Guardian article. EllenCT (talk) 00:43, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
The Guardian article is good in that it ties together those other studies with our overall topic and related topics such as climate change. And, it is not behind a paywall. I would present them together. Perhaps we should start sub-sections about putative causes such as climate change and the item might fit well in such a section. Andrew D. (talk) 09:55, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
My topic ban prevents me from discussing the actions of organizations associated with pesticides, so would you please do the causes? EllenCT (talk) 20:25, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
The Guardian article isn't really appropriate here since it's a newspaper source, covered in WP:SCIRS. We need secondary sources like reviews in order to use those primary sources. Kingofaces43 (talk) 23:27, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
A few days ago you cited WP:BLOGS in response to SCIRS objections. The author has a Ph.D. and 20 years of environmental reporting experience. EllenCT (talk) 23:44, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
A PhD in geology, not entomology. Even without that, we still don't use newspapers like that on primary studies. As for the other discussion so as not to distract, I'll just leave the relevant part of SCIRS: "Personal or group blogs from prominent scientists writing in their field of expertise may be usable when properly attributed."
The scientist in question is a postdoc with experience in "corporate communications." EllenCT (talk) 00:09, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
The first source – Spatial and habitat variation in aphid, butterfly, moth and bird phenologies over the last half century – is secondary, not primary, because it analysed data from a variety of separate long-term monitoring studies such as those at Rothamsted. The second source seems similar – a secondary analysis of long-term population data collected by others. So, both these sources are quite acceptable.
Newspaper coverage of such studies, such as the Guardian article, can be quite acceptable too. WP:SCIRS states "the high-quality popular press can be a good resource for presenting science to a non-technical audience, and often as a source in its own right to supplement (but not supplant) the peer-reviewed literature". So, our combination of high-quality press with such secondary sources is fine. Andrew D. (talk) 09:31, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
The first article clearly states it is a "PRIMARY RESEARCH ARTICLE". The use of historical data does not make it equivalent to a review article. SmartSE (talk) 10:22, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
That's a different classification scheme used by that journal which explains that it "publishes primary research articles, technical advances, research reviews, commentaries and letters". I'm going by Wikipedia's policy, as explained at WP:PSTS, in which "A secondary source provides an author's own thinking based on primary sources, generally at least one step removed from an event. It contains an author's analysis, evaluation, interpretation, or synthesis of the facts, evidence, concepts, and ideas taken from primary sources.". So, the source is primary research in that it is a new analysis or idea, but it is still a secondary source. As such, it is quite usable for our purposes. Andrew D. (talk) 13:11, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
The relevant guideline for this is WP:SCIDEF though: A primary source in science is one where the authors directly participated in the research. This also applies to the second source. SmartSE (talk) 14:01, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
Essay* rev history cygnis insignis 14:22, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
No, WP:SCIDEF is an essay which has been explicitly rejected as a guideline. Per WP:ESSAY, "Essays have no official status, and do not speak for the Wikipedia community..." The definitions of WP:PSTS are the actual Wikipedia policy and the sources in question are fully compliant with them. Editors should please not use unofficial definitions in these discussions as they will tend to confuse and mislead. Andrew D. (talk) 14:34, 4 April 2019 (UTC)

RfC pre-discussion[edit]

I'll be posting a draft of the RfC shortly, so all discussion should go here on if we're good to go with it in terms of the competing versions. More to come in a bit. Kingofaces43 (talk) 04:14, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

So below I set it up so there's version A and version B. There's qualifier text in the beginning saying being version A or version B says nothing about which is a status quo to avoid concerns over which version goes "first" in the list. Everything up to this point is meant to just be what the actual edits are with a bare bones description of the difference between the two. Any commentary related to an option being "better" belongs in a comment section that will be added once we make sure people are good with the actual edits they want presented. I still have to do some checking on versions B's, but I wanted to get the general format up over the weekend to get a few comments before doing anything else. To avoid losing track of changes, if someone has changes they want to their preferred version, it would be better to suggest them here and I can do them in batches.
Also, there are a number of edits outside of the Sanchez-Bayo study content that were part of previous disputes. It would be nice to whittle some of those off to make it easier on RfC respondents, so this can be a last call for if anyone is fine with the version B changes or have a better change (better to tackle in a new section maybe if that's the case). Once we're at a point both versions are worded as wanted, the comment section will be where any justification takes place. Kingofaces43 (talk) 04:36, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for taking the time to produce this King. I'm good with it, though suggest we delay for at least a day to see if others have any objections. (It would be easy to find fault with the frame, but this seems an extremely challenging issue to draft in full compliance with WP:RFCST. I'm not sure if large numbers of editors are going to want to engage with all the detail, but at least it seems laid out with excellent neutrality & specificity.) FeydHuxtable (talk) 07:29, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
I feel strongly that it would serve our readers best to link to this article (not insect biodiversity ) from the lede of insect. As there are already a large number of items, perhaps we don't need to address this explicitly. I would hope that assuming approach A gets majority support, it can be acceptable to restore this version to the lede of the top level insect article. FeydHuxtable (talk) 08:09, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
On linking at insect, that's already done in the biodiversity section. In general, it's probably better to wait until we've solidified content here at this page before discussing the others. There is a point we're trying to do too much at once, so it's probably better to focus on this article first as step one, and then a second step after the RfC to figure out the other articles. Kingofaces43 (talk) 16:42, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • The proposal seems too long and complex when RfCs are supposed to be "short and simple" per WP:RFCBRIEF. The proposal is 10 separate questions and it would be better to take each one separately. Trying to frame these as just two versions, A and B, is not sensible because 10 choices will give us 1024 possible outcomes and we will soon run out of letters. As an RfC typically takes 30 days, the article will develop in the meantime and so a particular mix of choices may then become difficult to implement in the then current version (which we might call version C).
WP:RFCBEFORE tells us what to do before starting this

Before using the RfC process to get opinions from outside editors, it's often faster and more effective to thoroughly discuss the matter with any other parties on the related talk page. Editors are normally expected to make a reasonable attempt at working out their disputes before seeking help from others. If you are able to come to a consensus or have your questions answered through discussion with other editors, then there is no need to start an RfC.

We haven't done enough of this yet and so we need more specific discussion per WP:BRD, before we start any RfC.
For example, one specific issue is about the decline of entomology – that fewer people are studying entomology and becoming academic or professional entomologists. The complaint is that the current source for this is inadequate. We should then discuss this issue in a separate section of the talk page to thrash it out and we haven't done this yet. If the sourcing seems inadequate, then we can look for more sources and then see how matters stand. For example, here's another source which I just found for this: Taxonomic chauvinism threatens the future of entomology. I will add this to the article and so immediately the context for that question will change.
So we should first discuss each of these issues separately and in detail. Some will be resolved easily while others may be more intractable. It would then be better to have separate RfCs about each particular remaining matter rather than trying to settle everything in one big package. I'm in the UK where Brexit currently demonstrates what happens when you start a long and elaborate process without a good consensus and plan of action. Let's keep it simple, please. Andrew D. (talk) 08:17, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
Andrew D. (talk) 08:17, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
I'm not so sure Colonel. In my view, the start of the long & complex process was when you chose to create this article. From that point, it was close to inevitable there was going to be complex discussion. (Not saying your choice wasn't the right one of course, the article as it stands is extremely valuable, so long as it can be kept reasonably NPOV. ) This RfC could largely mark the end of the process, not the beginning. That assumes we get a definitive result, which is not certain, but we take a chance either way. And I suspect many would say the intense discussion we've had these past few weeks easily satisfies RFCBEFORE.
Considering the slow pace at which Approach B editors have begun converging their thinking with the mainstream, it could take many months to fully resolve matters, if you insist on tackling each issue one by one. On the other hand, this topic does indeed warrant in depth attention, so perhaps your suggestion is best. As you know, effective efforts to slow bug decline depend on the individual actions of millions of farmers, other landowners, and regular people. So public awareness is more important than with most science topics. As the best sources are saying, the consequences of failing to halt diversity loss could be civilisation ending; at best we might adapt, but still with huge economic & emotional cost (numerous studies are already finding diversity loss is one of the factors behind the global rise in mental illness.) And there is the fact that literally thousands of generations would be effected, what can be destroyed in a few decades may take millions of years to restore.
All that said, I still see it as worth trying to settle matters in one go; at least then there is a chance of us being able to move on to other things. While the outcome of King's frame does indeed have many permutations, I’d be fairly confident the overall result would support a NPOV, useful article for our readers. FeydHuxtable (talk) 09:10, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I remain fairly confident that the proposed draft would be a trainwreck as, apart from anything else, it fails WP:RFCBRIEF on technical grounds. It may help to provide an example of a successfully executed RfC. I composed this myself and the question which was put was just nine words long. This is what is meant by "short and simple". Andrew D. (talk) 11:11, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
That was good of you to provide such a clear example of "short and simple". I fear though there's a apples & pears type relationship between the two RfCs. That said, if others are happy to tackle the various issues one at a time, perhaps it will work out for the best. FeydHuxtable (talk) 11:37, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
You can see other current examples listed at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Maths, science, and technology. There's one case there for which an A/B approach has been used. This is still much simpler than the draft proposal here but notice that discussion has already spawned versions C and D so comments now say things like "It is impossible to come to a conclusion at this point. A new RfC should be set up." That's what happens when you don't keep it simple. Andrew D. (talk) 12:08, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
A well made point. Perhaps I'm over keen to reach a resolution on this matter. FeydHuxtable (talk) 12:13, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps so... I found it to be "bewildering", is the word that came to mind. Agree that it would be a train wreck as suggested by Andrew. At any rate, in all of my years here I've never seen anything like it. Gandydancer (talk) 14:45, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
There's always WP:GMORFC for an example of something much more dense than this, but this approach isolates individual edits much better than that. If we can whittle it down, it will help a lot, but this draft is the starting point on things that have been repeatedly disputed, so we needed to start somewhere. Kingofaces43 (talk) 16:42, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

Just a general comment on the above (specific replies in a bit), but with respect to We haven't done enough of this yet and so we need more specific discussion per WP:BRD, before we start any RfC., that is a result of edits building up and multiple requests for them to be addressed on the talk page. If there are things that can actually be handled without the RfC in a different section (namely the non Sanchez-Bayo stuff), those can be removed to shorten the list. That's part of the RFCBEFORE process for this.

If someone doesn't like all of A or B, they would just be able to say they prefer A except for edit x,y,z with their justification. I don't think we can have just an A and B diff because all the edits will make respondents eyes glaze over. It needs to be done piecemeal.

I would rather hold off on this until at least later next week to see if there's anything we can whittle out of this first. Andrew brought up the Time source and a replacement. That's good, and we'd be able to remove that one. If there other examples of something like that outside Sanchez-Bayo, let's see if that can be done first. Also just a note that I'm away for the weekend at this point, so I won't be responding to anything until Monday. Kingofaces43 (talk) 16:15, 5 April 2019 (UTC)


FeydHuxtable, you sound quite supportive of this RfC, but I agree with Andrew D. and Gandydancer that this is unlikely to help, for three reasons.

First, it's premature to try to lock down so many parts of a new article that's still under development. If it were a single issue (add an infobox, include a certain point), then okay, but how would this work for multiple paragraphs? Would no one be allowed to change them, even copy-edit them, and for how long? Second, how would uninvolved commentators work out what the significant differences are? Third, the final point about how to use primary sources is not neutral as written; it does not take into account the need to write about studies because they've become notable; and, most importantly, local consensus cannot override the sourcing policies and guidelines.

In my view, instead of an RfC, we should discuss each issue on talk, as Andrew said, focusing entirely on content: e.g. should we retain or remove the Zoological Society; explain the reasoning; discuss. We could set up a section for each point, with no time pressure, and make sure each section stays on topic. If we can't reach consensus, those sections will be there for future RfC participants to read so that they understand the background. SarahSV (talk) 18:05, 6 April 2019 (UTC)

That makes sense SV. I had already been convinced my initial enthusiasm for the RfC was excessive. It's just I can't believe how much talk page discussion this topic seems to need. With 'Edit 2', the drafting editor seemed to have a good point. In every other case, what they want to do seems to range from sub optimal to absurd. As the drafter isn't exactly the quickest to take on board others concerns for this topic, it seems we could be here for many months if we need to discuss each issue one by one. That said, better to go slow & steady than cause a trainwreck. And at least there is a bright side; if you are going to stay here with us, then by the end I may know you well enough to call you 'Slim' like your friends do. FeydHuxtable (talk) 18:47, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
Feyd, please assume you have permission to start "slimming"! As for the discussion, if we make sure each section sticks entirely to focusing on content, it shouldn't be too bad. We can at least whittle the issues down to the sticking points, and if they're intractable, then we can hold an RfC. But in my view we're weeks away from that. One thing I would request is not to refer to consensus formed elsewhere; this is a new article, so our focus should be on what makes sense here to the editors involved in this page. SarahSV (talk) 19:26, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
No argument from me, Slim. :-) FeydHuxtable (talk) 19:48, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
There have been multiple requests for editors to justify edits 1-7 for weeks now without specific response, so that's why the RfC was the next step. If anyone actually has consensus-based reasoning for not dropping the A versions in 1-7 after all this time, that should have been done long ago, but I also said I'm open to whittling those edits down in the RfC if editors do wish to discuss them briefly. That said, those that want those versions have been given plenty of time, so I don't think we're going to be looking at a few weeks before the RfC launches either. We're at the point outside input is needed, and outside of involved comments if they get read, respondents will decide for themselves.
As for how commentators will work out significant differences, I posted a Difference: portion of each where relevant, so that question was already answered. If anyone here wants to justify one or the other version beyond that plain description, it's for the comments section.
For the final question on primary sources, how is that not neutral? I wrote it very plainly for what people have been wanting to do. There is no policy saying primary sources must be used (quite the opposite actually), and I think we're all well aware that secondary sources are preferred in science topics while primary sources are extremely cautioned against (and not something to reach for outright). It ultimately comes down to local consensus as to whether a primary source can become an exception to that in these subjects, and that's something to hash out in the RfC. That said, a previous RfC on a similar question is pretty informative and had no such policy issues Note too, a claim regarding a WP:PRIMARY source and its proper use, in regard to its WP:WEIGHT, requires a "consensus to include" per WP:ONUS...[13] Kingofaces43 (talk) 02:17, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Black hole - Messier 87 crop max res.jpg
  • The reference to WP:SCIRS is not acceptable because that is an essay with no standing. The actual Wikipedia policy is WP:PSTS and a local RfC like this can't overturn policy. For a good example of this policy in action, see the now famous image of the M87 black hole (right) which recently appeared on the front page of many newspapers and on Wikipedia's main page too. That is a primary source at the cutting edge of science and yet the community is quite content to publish it prominently. Andrew D. (talk) 22:08, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I struck edits 2 and 5 so far, but I did go back and add the original sources that were agreed upon for that edit 5 text even before this discussion. Not sure why Sanchez-Bayo was used in place of some of those, but removing sources should be discussed before doing so. For edit 3, that still seems like low-hanging fruit for going ahead with version B since one of the main cautions is that species trends are variable by location. Is there actually any opposition to that change for edit 3? Likewise, edit 6 also seems like low-hanging fruit to remove the acronyms to remove SDG jargon while linking the the relevant article anyways. Still figuring out what to do witih edits 1 & 4 with the recent changes, but there's potential to significantly whittle this down to mostly be on the 2019 review. Kingofaces43 (talk) 21:44, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
I don't see edit 3 as an improvement, but if no one else objects I guess you could go ahead and whittle that one off, just for the sake of compromise.
I strongly object to version B for edit 6. For me, it's the non specific "insect as solutions..." that sounds like jargon/management/sales speak. Adding 'SDG' makes the information we're conveying to the reader much more meaningful. FeydHuxtable (talk) 18:50, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
On 6, that insects as solutions bit is in both versions, and I'm not overly fond of it either. SDG is unneeded WP:JARGON that isn't meaningful though, so that's why the article is linked with descriptive text in B as our piping guidelines suggest. I'm still not seeing any reasoning provided here why removing the jargon is problematic, and there's no reason to go with initialisms here either. That might be a different case if an article was frequently mentioning specific numbers on that list, but that's not going on here. One potential change to B (leaving the first sentence alone would be They list 100 studies and other references showing how insects can assist with meeting the sustainability goals set by United Nations General Assembly. They argue the best approach may be for the global-policy making community to transition from viewing insects as not only beneficial to the environment, but to using insects to find solutions for sustainability issues. or something to that effect. It gets rid of unneeded quoting too. Kingofaces43 (talk) 21:28, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── I'm having difficulty following what's being discussed here. There is consensus not to hold that RfC. In any event, it has mostly been superseded by edits, a process that's likely to continue given that this is a new article. As for primary sources, local consensus can't override policy. See WP:LOCALCONSENSUS (which is policy): "Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale."

But which primary sources are we discussing? I can't see any primary source in the article unsupported by secondary sources or being used to support analysis. I wonder whether this discussion is taking place because WP:PRIMARY has been misunderstood. If someone could point to the primary sources in question, that would be much appreciated. SarahSV (talk) 22:31, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

Most of what you bring up was already addressed in my first reply to you in this section here that you still haven't responded to. On primary sources there is no policy being overridden by avoiding them, and we've had problems with editors reaching for primary and newspaper type sources first instead of academic secondary sources, so that's why we're looking at bringing up how to handle primary sources in the RfC. One example is this study that is just linked to a Guardian article in the text, as well where other newspaper sources have been peppered into the article citing insect Armageddon, etc. Those kind of low-quality sources are supposed to avoided, especially when there's so much secondary coverage of the subject. Kingofaces43 (talk) 23:55, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
The phrase "ecological Armageddon" comes from Dave Goulson, a British ecologist. "We've had problems": who has had these problems at this article? "[W]e're looking at bringing up how to handle primary sources in the RfC": to whom does "we" refer? You seem to be the only person who wants this RfC, and the way it's written is misleading and confusing. The study you link to is supported by a Guardian article. The confusion may be arising because insect decline has become a current-affairs issue, so this article lists some of the studies discussed by professors of ecology, science editors, and similar. SarahSV (talk) 00:57, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
You've already been answered multiple times on why those of us here (i.e., we) are looking at an RfC here. There's been plenty of discussion about "Insect Apocalypse" and those headlines/articles not being appropriate or hyperbolized, so I don't think we need to rehash that again either. Also, The study you link to is supported by a Guardian article. is one such problem as I just pointed out in my last reply. Newspapers are not appropriate secondary sources for scientific content, and I think you've been around enough to know how the community deals with that and scientific content guidance as newspapers are notorious for not being reliable with science content. Either way, the current approach here is to work on the content I've been asking editors to discuss for some time. Some of that is finally being worked out while setting up the RfC, so if that's working without needing to start it for those items, it's something. Kingofaces43 (talk) 01:50, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
I have, as you say, "been around enough to know". When a government produces a study that newspapers discuss, Wikipedia can discuss it too. If there's a policy or guideline that seems to suggest otherwise, please tell us which one. SarahSV (talk) 02:19, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

Edit 1[edit]

Due to recent edits, I went and updated the edit 1 text in the draft [14][15]. There are still problems in the A version in that it still includes the London study focusing on vertebrates, and what was added about pollinators is covered elsewhere. There was a lot of quoting I removed when updating version B and paraphrased everything down. The parenthetical [203 insect species in five orders] wasn't really accurate as those aren't the only orders on the list (the fig. just shows the top 5). The UK range decline content is tricky to accurately portray (and really more primary research content than a review) going by the figure because there are ranges of minor declines (0-10%) and up to >40%. Mentions of specifics like number of species to not make it seem like it was an exhaustive survey are needed there from the methods. Version B should be pretty straightforward at this point, so if others are good with that, it should ideally be one we can cross off the list ahead of time. Kingofaces43 (talk) 01:34, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Edit 7[edit]

I've also gone ahead and updated edit 7.[16] That one is close to crossing off the list now with the remaining version B changes. We need to be careful about saying long-term surveys since not all were long-term. Otherwise, B is just condensing unneeded text and adding a bit from the review. Kingofaces43 (talk) 21:17, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Seeing nothing here after a few days, it looks like we've reached the point that no new edits are going to happen. I've started up the RfC since everyone has had ample time to comment in the pre-discussion. Kingofaces43 (talk) 19:45, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

RfC draft text[edit]

Closed for initial comments on draft in a separate section Kingofaces43 (talk) 04:20, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Input is needed on how to present information related to insect declines, particularly due weight and verifiability specific to insects in sources reliable for scientific content. Each of the items below are edits that were disputed in edits or talk discussion needing more outside input with later questions on Sánchez-Bayo & Wyckhuys being the core of the dispute. Edits below are set up so if desired, comments can address support for versions A or B as a whole or piecemeal. Edits are linked to the article section they would occur. Versions A are the current state of the article on April 4 with no implications of being a status quo or not, and versions B are proposed changes compared to A. There is also one question to direct the use of primary research articles in the insect decline topic.

Edit 1

  • Version A: A 2014 review by Rodolfo Dirzo and others in Science noted: "Of all insects with IUCN-documented population trends [203 insect species in five orders], 33% are declining, with strong variation among orders." In the UK, "30 to 60% of species per order have declining ranges". Insect pollinators, "needed for 75% of all the world's food crops", appear to be "strongly declining globally in both abundance and diversity", which has been linked in Northern Europe to the decline of plant species that rely on them. The study referred to the human-caused loss of vertebrates and invertebrates as the "Anthropocene defaunation".[1][2][3]
  • Version B: A 2014 review in Science focused on human-caused loss of vertebrates and invertebrates noting that "Of all insects with IUCN-documented population trends, 33% are declining, with strong variation among orders". In the UK, 30–60% of 1,026 species within four insect orders surveyed through volunteer records had a range decrease between 1970 and 2009. The review also suggested global pollinator diversity and abundance is in strong decline, and decreases in pollinator diversity in Northern Europe are linked to reductions in reliant plant species abundance.[4]
  • Difference: Condenses the 2014 review text to paraphrase and removes newspaper-type sources.

Edit 2

  • Version A: One reason that studies are limited is that the science of studying insects – entomology – is itself in decline.[5]
  • Version B: Remove A as source discusses medical entomology, not entomologists as a whole, relevant taxonomists, etc.

Edit 3

  • Version A: Several studies indicate that insect populations are in decline in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, at least in certain regions. The insects studied have mostly been butterflies and moths, bees, beetles, dragonflies, damselflies and stoneflies. Every species is affected in different ways by changes in the environment, and it cannot be inferred that there is a consistent decrease across different insect groups. When conditions change, some species easily adapt to the change while others struggle to survive.[6]
  • Version B: Several studies indicate that insect populations are in decline in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, at least in certain regions. For many studies, factors such as abundance, biomass, and species richness are often found to be declining for some, but not all locations; some species are in decline while others are not.[7] The insects studied have mostly been butterflies and moths, bees, beetles, dragonflies, damselflies and stoneflies. Every species is affected in different ways by changes in the environment, and it cannot be inferred that there is a consistent decrease across different insect groups. When conditions change, some species easily adapt to the change while others struggle to survive.[6]
  • Difference: B adds sourced journal commentary addressing changes in insect measures as highly variable.

Edit 4

  • Version A: Informal evidence has been offered by people old enough to recall much greater apparent abundance of insects back in the 20th century; recollections of the windscreen phenomenon are an example. Insect decline has been reported in the press with alarming headlines such as the "Insect Apocalypse" or "ecological Armageddon".[8][9][10]
  • Version B: The issue has been described anecdotally as the windshield phenomenon.[11] Headlines criticized by scientists as exaggerated have also been used, such as "Insect Apocalypse" or "ecological Armageddon".[8][9]
  • Difference: B replaces "alarming" with "criticized" and condenses the anecdotal portion.

Edit 5

Edit 6

  • Version A: In a 2019 paper, scientists Olivier Dangles and Jérôme Casas suggest that previous attempts to arrest the decline have been largely ineffective. They list 100 studies and other references that they say shows how insects can help to meet the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) adopted in 2015 by all United Nations member states, and argue that the global policy-making community should continue its transition from seeing insects as enemies, to the current "insects as providers of ecosystem-services" view, and further to one that sees "insect as solutions for SDGs" (such as using them as food and for biological pest control).[22]
  • Version B: In a 2019 paper, scientists Olivier Dangles and Jérôme Casas suggest that previous attempts to arrest the decline have been largely ineffective. They list 100 studies and other references showing how insects can assist with meeting the sustainability goals set by United Nations General Assembly. They argue the best approach may be for the global-policy making community to transition from viewing insects as not only beneficial to the environment, but to using insects to find solutions for sustainability issues.[22]
  • Difference: B Removes and rewords last sentence to avoid "SDG" and paraphrases remainder.

Edit 7 (Sánchez-Bayo & Wyckhuys 1)

  • Version A: A 2019 review, "Worldwide decline of the entomofauna", published in the journal Biological Conservation, analysed 73 long-term insect surveys that had shown decline, most from "developed countries, particularly in the northern hemisphere".[23][14] The authors, Francisco Sánchez-Bayo and Kris A. G. Wyckhuys, wrote that the review "revealed dramatic rates of decline that may lead to the extinction of 40% of the world's insect species over the next few decades",[23][24] a conclusion that was challenged.[25] While reporting population increases for certain species of insects in particular areas, the authors reported an annual 2.5% loss of biomass:
  • Version B: A 2019 review by Francisco Sánchez-Bayo and Kris A. G. Wyckhuys noted that most scientific and public attention focuses on the conservation of larger, charismatic vertebrates, while insect biodiversity has been low on the agenda. They analysed 73 insect surveys that had shown decline mostly for the northern hemisphere in developed countries. The authors wrote that the review "revealed dramatic rates of decline that may lead to the extinction of 40% of the world's insect species over the next few decades",[23] a conclusion that was challenged.[25] While reporting population increases for certain species of insects in particular areas, the authors reported an annual 2.5% loss of biomass.[23]
  • Difference: B Condenses study exposition to a 2019 review rather than listing title and journal and removes newspaper-type sources to focus on WP:SCIRS. Adds extra content from review and paraphrases quoting.

Edit 8 (Sánchez-Bayo & Wyckhuys 2)

  • Version A:

    From our compilation of published scientific reports, we estimate the current proportion of insect species in decline (41%) to be twice as high as that of vertebrates, and the pace of local species extinction (10%) eight times higher, confirming previous findings (Dirzo et al., 2014). At present, about a third of all insect species are threatened with extinction in the countries studied ... Moreover, every year about 1% of all insect species are added to the list, with such biodiversity declines resulting in an annual 2.5% loss of biomass worldwide ...[13]

  • Version B: remove block quote while paraphrasing of the study remains in other areas of the article (see edit 3)

Edit 9 (Sánchez-Bayo & Wyckhuys 3)

  • Version A: Several entomologists agreed that the data on insect declines are too piecemeal and unrepresentative of the general population to support some of the hyperbolic extrapolations.[26][27]
  • Version B (remove A and add at the end of the same paragraph):
In assessing the study methodology, an editorial in Global Change Biology stated, "An unbiased review of the literature would still find declines, but estimates based on this 'unidirectional' methodology are not credible.[7] Komonen et al. considered the study "alarmist by bad design" due to unsubstantiated claims and methodological issues that undermined credible conservation science. They stated what were called extinctions in the study represented species loss in specific sites or regions, and should not have extrapolated as extinction at a larger geographic scale. They also listed that IUCN Red List categories were misused as insects with no data on a decline trend were classified as having a 30% decline by the study authors.[28] Simmons et al. also had concerns the review's search terms, geographic biases, calculations of extinction rates, and inaccurate assessment of drivers of population change stating while it was "a useful review of insect population declines in North America and Europe, it should not be used as evidence of global insect population trends and threats."[29]
  • Difference: B Removes content based on newspaper sources citing unnamed entomologists and adds journal commentaries addressing the study instead.

Edit 10 (Sánchez-Bayo & Wyckhuys 4)

  • Version A: (no mention of Entomological Society of America statement on insect declines)
  • Version B: (at end of section) A March 2019 statement by the Entomological Society of America said there is not yet sufficient data to predict an imminent mass extinction of insects and that some of the extrapolated predictions might "have been extended well past the limits of the data or have been otherwise over-hyped".[30] For some insect groups such as some butterflies, bees, and beetles, declines in abundance and diversity have been documented in European studies. Other areas have shown increases in some insect species, although trends in most regions are currently unknown. It is difficult to assess long-term trends in insect abundance or diversity because historical measurements are generally not known for many species. Robust data to assess at-risk areas or species is especially lacking for arctic and tropical regions and a majority of the southern hemisphere.[30]
  • Difference: B adds a statement from the Entomological Society of America source already cited for conservation measures.

Question 1: Should primary and newspaper sources generally be avoided in this topic while following the guidance in WP:SCIRS?


Extended content
  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Dirzo2014 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference JarvisNYT27Nov2018 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference NYTeditorial29Oct2017 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ Dirzo, Rodolfo; Young, Hillary; Galetti, Mauro; Ceballos, Gerardo; Isaac, Nick; Collen, Ben (25 July 2014), "Defaunation in the Anthropocene" (PDF), Science, 345 (6195): 401–406, doi:10.1126/science.1251817, PMID 25061202
  5. ^ Alexandra Sifferlin (14 February 2018), "Fewer Scientists Are Studying Insects. Here's Why That's So Dangerous", TIME
  6. ^ a b Reckhaus, Hans-Dietrich (2017). Why Every Fly Counts: A Documentation about the Value and Endangerment of Insects. Springer International Publishing. pp. 1–5. ISBN 978-3-319-58765-3.
  7. ^ a b Thomas, Chris D.; Jones, T. Hefin; Hartley, Sue E. (18 March 2019). ""Insectageddon": A call for more robust data and rigorous analyses". Global Change Biology. doi:10.1111/gcb.14608.
  8. ^ a b Leather, Simon (20 December 2017), ""Ecological Armageddon" – more evidence for the drastic decline in insect numbers", Annals of Applied Biology, 172: 1–3, doi:10.1111/aab.12410
  9. ^ a b Jarvis, Brooke (27 November 2018), "The Insect Apocalypse Is Here", The New York Times
  10. ^ Carrington, Damian (18 October 2017), "Warning of 'ecological Armageddon' after dramatic plunge in insect numbers", The Guardian
  11. ^ McCarthy, Michael (21 October 2017), "A giant insect ecosystem is collapsing due to humans. It's a catastrophe", The Guardian
  12. ^ McGrath, Matt (11 February 2019), Global insect decline may see 'plague of pests', BBC
  13. ^ a b c Sánchez-Bayo, Francisco; Wyckhuys, Kris A.G. (31 January 2019), "Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers", Biological Conservation, 232: 8–27, doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2019.01.020
  14. ^ a b Carrington, Damian (10 February 2019). "Plummeting insect numbers 'threaten collapse of nature'". The Observer.
  15. ^ Vogel, Gretchen (10 May 2017), "Where have all the insects gone?", Science
  16. ^ Main, Douglas (14 February 2019). "Why insect populations are plummeting—and why it matters". National Geographic. Archived from the original on 15 February 2019.
  17. ^ Tscharntke, Teja; Klein, Alexandra M.; Kruess, Andreas; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Thies, Carsten (August 2005). "Landscape perspectives on agricultural intensification and biodiversity and ecosystem service management". Ecology Letters. 8 (8): 857–874. doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2005.00782.x.
  18. ^ Insect-plant interactions in a crop protection perspective. 2017-01-19. p. 313–320. ISBN 978-0-12-803324-1.
  19. ^ Braak, Nora; Neve, Rebecca; Jones, Andrew K.; Gibbs, Melanie; Breuker, Casper J. (November 2018). "The effects of insecticides on butterflies – A review". Environmental Pollution. 242 (Pt A): 507–518. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2018.06.100. PMID 30005263.
  20. ^ Owens, Avalon C. S.; Lewis, Sara M. (November 2018). "The impact of artificial light at night on nocturnal insects: A review and synthesis". Ecology and Evolution. 8 (22): 11337–11358. doi:10.1002/ece3.4557. PMC 6262936. PMID 30519447.
  21. ^ Wagner, David L.; Van Driesche, Roy G. (January 2010). "Threats Posed to Rare or Endangered Insects by Invasions of Nonnative Species". Annual Review of Entomology. 55 (1): 547–568. doi:10.1146/annurev-ento-112408-085516. PMID 19743915.
  22. ^ a b Dangles, Olivier; Casas, Jérôme (February 2019), "Ecosystem services provided by insects for achieving sustainable development goals", Ecosystem Services: Science, Policy and Practice, 35: 109–115, doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2018.12.002
  23. ^ a b c d Cite error: The named reference Sánchez-Bayo2019 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  24. ^ Cite error: The named reference LePageNewScientist11Feb2019 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  25. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference Wagner2019 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  26. ^ Yong, Ed (19 February 2019), "Is the Insect Apocalypse Really Upon Us?", The Atlantic
  27. ^ "Nothing in the cry of cicadas", The Economist, 430 (9135): 71, 23 March 2019
  28. ^ Komonen, Atte; Halme, Panu; Kotiaho, Janne S. (19 March 2019). "Alarmist by bad design: Strongly popularized unsubstantiated claims undermine credibility of conservation science". Rethinking Ecology. 4: 17–19. doi:10.3897/rethinkingecology.4.34440.
  29. ^ Simmons, Benno I.; Balmford, Andrew; Bladon, Andrew J.; Christie, Alec P.; De Palma, Adriana; Dicks, Lynn V.; Gallego‐Zamorano, Juan; Johnston, Alison; Martin, Philip A.; Purvis, Andy; Rocha, Ricardo; Wauchope, Hannah S.; Wordley, Claire F. R.; Worthington, Thomas A.; Finch, Tom (5 April 2019). "Worldwide insect declines: An important message, but interpret with caution". Ecology and Evolution. doi:10.1002/ece3.5153.
  30. ^ a b Global Insect Biodiversity:Frequently Asked Questions (PDF), Entomological Society of America, March 2019

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The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Entomologists in decline[edit]

So in place of the first sentence in Decline_in_insect_populations#Limitations using Time as a source only for medical entomologists, it was brought up we do have source discussing general entomology.[17] I'm thinking something along the lines of In the UK, the number of training opportunities in entomology, such as entomology departments or degrees, and insect taxonomists have been decreasing, especially compared to the relative number of insects species compared to other smaller animal groups. That's just a sentiment I'm tossing out there, but if we're good on some idea of a replacement along those lines, I'll remove that edit from the RfC. If we want a more general worldwide comment on entomologists, we might need a different source, but the ESA might have something. Kingofaces43 (talk) 16:31, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

Opportunities for taxonomic training are declining, but number of entomology departments isn't a good indicator. At least in the US, the trend has been to reorganize biology departments by scale of the phenomena studied rather than by type of organism. Entomology and botany departments are going away, but the insect and plant taxonomists end up together in an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department. And the people studying Drosophila or Arabidopsis end up in a Molecular and Cellular Biology department. Plantdrew (talk) 16:59, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
That makes sense. I went ahead and removed the Time source, hopefully keeping the gist of the key information for our readers. This gets round the problem you raised as this way we don't need to introduce the new text or a new source. I think that takes care of 'Edit 2' from the RfC, as long as on one else objects. I suspect none of the other RfC points will be so easy to resolve. (and perhaps Im speaking to soon even on this one.) FeydHuxtable (talk) 17:29, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

This section is appalling and contains WP:SYNTH. It appears this section is all based on one source, The Atlantic. I read the Atlantic article and couldn't find the text that supported the section. Can someone advise where it is at? Also it clear that this article has big WP:TE issues and maybe a criticism section would allow those who seek to vent to fill it up. I am tempted to just blank this subsection unless more sources besides the Atlantic can be found to that connect the number of people to the number of bugs. Jtbobwaysf (talk) 03:20, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

I haven't looked to see what this concern is, yet, but removed the addition of the subsection (pending agreement, citations, and substantive facts). cygnis insignis 06:03, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
"The basic business of documenting insect diversity has been comparatively neglected, a situation made worse by the decline of taxonomists—species-spotting scientists who, ironically, have undergone their own mass extinction." from The Atlantic, with a ref to a blog I am not seeing a concern with the text, section, or the sources. cygnis insignis 06:10, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
I agree that it's pretty standard SYNTH and tried to deal with that earlier with not much luck. I've at least removed the bits on general biology courses and kill jars that go on a tangent.[18]. As discussed before though, the Atlantic isn't really a great source for discussing changes in research focuses. Usually you'd want to reach for professional societies like the Entomological Society of America to give better context. Kingofaces43 (talk) 03:56, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I have reverted the removal of sourced content and expanded the section, citing additional sources. If people think there is syhthesis then they need to say exactly what the synthetic proposition is as a vague wave is not enough to enable us to address the supposed issue. Note also that juxtaposition is not synthesis.
FWIW, here's some topical anecdotes too. I was beating the bounds of the local parish at the weekend and overheard one of the walkers saying that an acquaintance who was a cited expert in bumblebee decline had failed to keep their position and so was now running a café instead. And it's interesting to note that the designer of Pokémon collected insects as a child and this seems to be how a lot of entomologists get started. But now there are fewer insects and more gadgets. "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man", eh? I was absorbed by the Children's Encyclopædia at that age and so here I am now.
Andrew D. (talk) 16:54, 9 May 2019 (UTC)

Citation formats[edit]

Does anyone mind if I switch from {{citation}} to {{cite news}}, {{cite journal}}, etc? I've already switched a few, in part because {{citation}} was producing news story titles in italics, and I'm not sure how to fix that. But switching has left the article with inconsistent punctuation. If there's a preference for {{citation}}, I don't mind, and I'm happy to change them all back, but it will mean figuring out how to deal with the italics issue. SarahSV (talk) 03:07, 8 April 2019 (UTC)

  • I usually use the {{citation}} template because it seems simpler to have a general purpose template than a different one for each type of media. Many sources are now available in multiple formats and so it gets confusing using the media-specific ones when you're accessing a book via an-e-Reader or a journal article via an online pre-print. Anyway, according to its documentation, "If the correct parameters are used, this template produces output identical to that of the Cite templates", so maybe it's just a matter of tweaking the parameters to get a particular stylistic effect. Andrew D. (talk) 18:11, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Okay, that's fine. I'll stick with that one. I started using citation templates relatively recently, and I've become used to seeing periods after each element, whereas {{citation}} uses commas. But it doesn't matter; it's just a matter of making it consistent, so I'll go back and restore {{citation}} for the few that I changed, and I'll look around to see how to remove the italics. SarahSV (talk) 18:21, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
    • I've been trying to work with {{citation}}, but there are problems. First, it's not in the drop-down menu, so most editors won't use it. Second, it sometimes italicizes title= for newspaper articles and websites and sometimes italicizes publisher= (e.g. BBC News). It can be fiddly to avoid this. Third, there's no closing period, unless we add postscript=. SarahSV (talk) 01:12, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  • At this point, the references in the reference list instead of text is the established format, but we really should be sticking to the drop-down citation templates as that's what other people will be using in the future (cite journal, cite web, etc.). Kingofaces43 (talk) 21:36, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I have just added some details of a new report from the Swiss Academy of Natural Sciences. This is a Word document on their website with an accompanying press-release and coverage by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. The report is described in French as a Fiche d’information and in German as a Faktenblatt. I'm not sure what specific template might be used for this but, by using the generic {{citation}} template, I don't have to worry how to classify it – I just fill in the usual bits of bibliographic information – authors, date, title, URL, &c. – and leave it to the template to format it. My main concern is where to put it in the article – in the evidence section or elsewhere. I have put it at the end, for now, along with ESA FAQ and the open letter by UK entomologists, calling for action. The section title of "Conservation measures" doesn't seem quite right for such group statements though. Andrew D. (talk) 11:36, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

Windshield phenomenon – questionable info needs to be removed[edit]

Using the following sources re the the article states: " Critics have said that more aerodynamic car design may explain the change."[2][40] We use two sources. The sources contain only one line about changes in car design:

"It has also been suggested that cars have changed shape over time, and are now far more aerodynamic, meaning fewer insects are hit." ~ The Telegraph
"Some people argue that cars today are more aerodynamic and therefore less deadly to insects." ~ Science

I believe that it is misleading to take this one sentence from either article and make the claim here, especially since all three entomologists at the Science article refute that suggestion. I think we should remove the "critics have said..." sentence unless, of course, someone can find RS to back this claim up. Gandydancer (talk) 00:20, 9 April 2019 (UTC)

I've changed that for now to "It has been said that more aerodynamic car design may explain the change." I'm inclined to think we should remove it, unless we can find out who exactly is saying it. SarahSV (talk) 05:34, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
Here's a named source: All of these things make an impact, but John Rawlins, head of Invertebrate Zoology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History believes that vehicle design has a lot to do with it. Boxy cars of yesteryear have become more and more aerodynamic with each decade. Bugs used to hit vehicles head on, now slip into the airstream and fly right over them. He believes that the diversity may be diminished, but the density is the same. We just hit smaller insects SmartSE (talk) 07:19, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
It is has been cited several times in blogs over the years in 'sceptical' responses, the earliest citation I have found is a story published June 4, 2006 "Splatter-gories: Those bugs on your windshield can tell volumes about our environment" Virginia Linn Pittsburgh Post-Gazette web archive cygnis insignis 14:51, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Dr. Rawlins speculates that the change in vehicle design -- from the boxy Ford Fairlanes with upright windshields to the more aerodynamic teardrop cars introduced in the '70s -- partly accounts for the decrease in splats on the windshield. "The bug gets into the laminar airflow and goes across the vehicle. It never has contact with the vehicle." – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2006
However it seems that Rawlins is wrong when he says more aerodynamic cars were introduced in the '70s. According to this article it wasn't till 1986 when the Ford Taurus was introduced. [[19]] Gandydancer (talk) 16:12, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
The blog is not a good source. We can use the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but it's one entomologist giving an opinion to a newspaper 13 years ago. If there's anything in this, there should be more recent RS. SarahSV (talk) 19:34, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
On what basis? It is the blog of a natural history museum and it would only be used to remove the wooliness of "critics". Worth pointing out that it is the same academic as in the newspaper article. There is another mention of the concept here. The current wording is perhaps a little strong, but we should mention in some way that this has been raised as a possible confounding factor. Hopefully the renewed interest in this will mean we can be more definitive at some point. SmartSE (talk) 20:11, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
On what basis? The link to the 2006 news story mentions the same academic because that is how I found it. Unless Rawlins 'speculation' in the quote from the journalist was converted to "belief" (the citation to a blog) in some later announcement, I am seeing nothing more than a repeated notion with no substance. The Revisited author repeats the notion as speculation, perhaps a testable hypothesis. As conjecture, it has some indication of notability. cygnis insignis 20:38, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
@Cygnis insignis: Sorry should have been clearer, I was referring to replying to The blog is not a good source. SmartSE (talk) 20:48, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
The blog only provides a name, not a citation and not an assertion that is easily verified. I'm guessing when I present that news story as the source of what I see inserted as a contrary point in various posts as received wisdom. I thought that was what you were reply to, I agree the blog is not a good source, the host and author are merely airing some science news in a chatty way and nothing more, and only a clue to what might be demonstrated as a good source. The blog is fine, so is the blogger (very fine! as an off-topic comment). cygnis insignis 21:10, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
Smartse, it's a low-quality source and a WP:BLPSPS violation: "Never use self-published sources—including but not limited to books, zines, websites, blogs, and tweets—as sources of material about a living person, unless written or published by the subject of the article." The news story is a better source. SarahSV (talk) 22:19, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
Rawlins also says that land next to highways has become more manicured and therefore less attractive to insects. He must be a city boy - other than the freeways that has not been true anywhere that I have lived. In Maine, where I now live, the woods, etc., come right up to the highway except for the freeways (of which we have few :=) ). I still think that we should not use this writer. Gandydancer (talk) 02:43, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
He said "high-speed highways", so I'll add that to make it more specific. SarahSV (talk) 02:55, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
He should have done a road test himself before making such an easily tested claim - just jump into a boxy SUV and take a drive on a country road. Presto, instant scientific testing of his theory. Gandydancer (talk) 14:01, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
At the least, it is the type of "blog" that we can use as opposed to personal blogs by non-experts. When you have a post by someone like a scientist on their university or work website, that's something that can be used with attribution. While mentioned above, BLPSPS does not apply to this. WP:SPS does though, Self-published expert sources may be considered reliable when produced by an established expert on the subject matter, whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable, independent publications. Kingofaces43 (talk) 03:01, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
An odd clause, and superfluous to scientific literature. It reads like the 'expert' is an individual author, publisher, and producer, or that the second expert 'produced' another expert's self published work via self publication. Or not? In any case, the blogger (and expert) has not produced the source of the speculation or beliefs of Rawlins and I don't see the relevance. If Rawlins has published on this then the blog is redundant, and that goes for anything else that is 'produced' in the blog, it is merely a clue to better sources within verifiable and academic publications. cygnis insignis 04:39, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  • The details of the windshield phenomenon are best left to that page, which we should just summarise here. There's clearly a need for more research on the matter. I was quite impressed by the scale of the RSPB's Big Bug Count in 2004 and am surprised that they don't seem to have repeated this yet, so that we can compare the results over time. But, in Denmark, there's an active project to use cars to measure insect numbers – see The Insect Mobile. As the results from such studies come in, we'll get a better idea of what is actually happening. Andrew D. (talk) 12:25, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

Data schema(ta) from Dirzo et al. Fig. 1A?[edit]

Can someone who can access the data sets at [20] please post a description of the data for the figure 1A graph on page 402 of [21]? I would like to know the column labels and the number of rows in the table(s) used to make that graph, please. I'd also like to know opinions on whether a public domain re-rendering of that graph is suitable for this and related articles. EllenCT (talk) 01:19, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

In principle it is something that irks me, rendering of visual interpretations of data and facts ought to be as closely scrutinised as other content, if not more so for possible distraction from (rather than representation of) the proper content. Is that what is happening? What is the relevance of 'public domain'? cygnis insignis 01:37, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
Normally we are allowed to cut and paste charts and graphs, but this one is decorated with "original works of authorship" beyond simple unoriginal graphic depictions of the data, that being the drawings of bugs. EllenCT (talk) 02:47, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

The supplemental data document is here but sadly it has detail on all of the charts and graphs except Fig. 1A! I'm still interested in whether we should re-do the graph without the pictures of bugs on it for use here. EllenCT (talk) 06:33, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

I already pulled that data up a bit ago, but there's no mention of IUCN data in those files for insects. Even if their were, that's getting to a point it's a level of digging into original data that editors should not be doing. It's better to let the sources summarize things for us as much as they do. Kingofaces43 (talk) 18:33, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
@Kingofaces43: where is the data? I don't want to dig into it, I want to render the graph without the elements of original authorship (drawings of bugs). EllenCT (talk) 20:26, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
There is no insect data specific to the IUCN in the supplemental data as I mentioned in my last post. The most that exists is the mention in the main paper that is a little bit vague if you only look at the figure caption. As I said before though, that graph wouldn't really be appropriate here since it's only for a small handful (~200) of species Kingofaces43 (talk) 20:35, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

Return to a dedicated Conservation measures section?[edit]

The article's benefited from some excellent streamlining & structural improvements, though there's one change I'd like to reverse. Does anyone have any objection if I restore the dedicated Conservation section, and move the 'reception' related information back to other sections? I can see pluses to the new organisation, but having a dedicated Conservation section has advantages too. E.g. it avoids a possible scope conflict ( It seems best to have the scope for 'Conservation measures' to be "Insect decline" as a whole. Whereas the scope for 'Reception' seems to be just the studies.) I'd expect there to be quite a bit of reader interest in conservation measures, and it's nice to have plenty of space to cover the whole range in one section, from supranational efforts like SGS, to the national, to things that regular folk can do as individuals. FeydHuxtable (talk) 10:33, 15 April 2019 (UTC)

@FeydHuxtable: I'd have no objection to that. SarahSV (talk) 17:03, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
I started the section about conservation measures, having seen a similar section in the article decline_in_amphibian_populations#Conservation_measures. That article is a reasonable model to follow because it is rated as a GA. So, I favour still having a separate section for this. Andrew D. (talk) 17:33, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
Cool, I've gone ahead and restored the seperate section. @Slim I won't raise further concerns if you re-reverse any of the changes I just made. Personally I especially like the bit that ties in with the SDGs, though I accept you have a point that many would regard it as weak. Thanks again for all the help you've given to this article. FeydHuxtable (talk) 17:58, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
That looks good. I've added some headings because the evidence section was long, and it should be easier to read this way, but as with any of my changes, feel free to undo. SarahSV (talk) 18:13, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
Looking at this again, we have material in the conservation section that isn't really about that, so I may split it into two sections. If anyone objects, please undo. SarahSV (talk) 23:58, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

Use of sources for insect declines[edit]

Input is needed on how to present information related to decline in insect populations, particularly due weight specific to insects in sources reliable for scientific content. 19:43, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

Each of the items below are edits that were disputed in edits or talk discussion needing more outside input with the question of how to handle the Sánchez-Bayo & Wyckhuys study being the core of the dispute. Edits below are set up so if desired, comments can address support for versions A or B as a whole, piecemeal or general support for ideas that should get across irrespective of version. Edits are linked to the article section they would occur. Versions A are the current state of the article on April 16 with no implications of being a status quo or not, and versions B are changes compared to A. There is also one question to direct the use of primary research articles and newspapers in the insect decline topic.

Edit 1 (Sánchez-Bayo & Wyckhuys)[22]

  • Version A: Several entomologists agreed that the data on insect declines are too piecemeal and unrepresentative of the general population to support some of the hyperbolic extrapolations.[1][2]
  • Version B (remove A and add at the end of the same paragraph):
In assessing the study methodology, an editorial in Global Change Biology stated, "An unbiased review of the literature would still find declines, but estimates based on this 'unidirectional' methodology are not credible.[3] Komonen et al. considered the study "alarmist by bad design" due to unsubstantiated claims and methodological issues that undermined credible conservation science. They stated what were called extinctions in the study represented species loss in specific sites or regions, and should not have extrapolated as extinction at a larger geographic scale. They also listed that IUCN Red List categories were misused as insects with no data on a decline trend were classified as having a 30% decline by the study authors.[4] Simmons et al. also had concerns the review's search terms, geographic biases, calculations of extinction rates, and inaccurate assessment of drivers of population change stating while it was "a useful review of insect population declines in North America and Europe, it should not be used as evidence of global insect population trends and threats."[5]
  • Difference: B Removes content based on newspaper sources citing unnamed entomologists and adds journal commentaries addressing the study instead.

Edit 2

  • Version A: (no mention of Entomological Society of America statement on insect declines)
  • Version B: (at end of section) A March 2019 statement by the Entomological Society of America said there is not yet sufficient data to predict an imminent mass extinction of insects and that some of the extrapolated predictions might "have been extended well past the limits of the data or have been otherwise over-hyped".[6] For some insect groups such as some butterflies, bees, and beetles, declines in abundance and diversity have been documented in European studies. Other areas have shown increases in some insect species, although trends in most regions are currently unknown. It is difficult to assess long-term trends in insect abundance or diversity because historical measurements are generally not known for many species. Robust data to assess at-risk areas or species is especially lacking for arctic and tropical regions and a majority of the southern hemisphere.[6]
  • Difference: B adds a statement from the Entomological Society of America source already cited for conservation measures.

Question 1: Should primary and newspaper sources generally be avoided in this topic? (specific details in comments.)


  1. ^ Yong, Ed (19 February 2019), "Is the Insect Apocalypse Really Upon Us?", The Atlantic
  2. ^ "Nothing in the cry of cicadas", The Economist, 430 (9135): 71, 23 March 2019
  3. ^ Thomas, Chris D.; Jones, T. Hefin; Hartley, Sue E. (18 March 2019). ""Insectageddon": A call for more robust data and rigorous analyses". Global Change Biology. doi:10.1111/gcb.14608.
  4. ^ Komonen, Atte; Halme, Panu; Kotiaho, Janne S. (19 March 2019). "Alarmist by bad design: Strongly popularized unsubstantiated claims undermine credibility of conservation science". Rethinking Ecology. 4: 17–19. doi:10.3897/rethinkingecology.4.34440.
  5. ^ Simmons, Benno I.; Balmford, Andrew; Bladon, Andrew J.; Christie, Alec P.; De Palma, Adriana; Dicks, Lynn V.; Gallego‐Zamorano, Juan; Johnston, Alison; Martin, Philip A.; Purvis, Andy; Rocha, Ricardo; Wauchope, Hannah S.; Wordley, Claire F. R.; Worthington, Thomas A.; Finch, Tom (5 April 2019). "Worldwide insect declines: An important message, but interpret with caution". Ecology and Evolution. doi:10.1002/ece3.5153.
  6. ^ a b Global Insect Biodiversity:Frequently Asked Questions (PDF), Entomological Society of America, March 2019

Cite error: A list-defined reference named "Dirzo2014" is not used in the content (see the help page).
Cite error: A list-defined reference named "EcoServices" is not used in the content (see the help page).
Cite error: A list-defined reference named "JarvisNYT27Nov2018" is not used in the content (see the help page).
Cite error: A list-defined reference named "NYTeditorial29Oct2017" is not used in the content (see the help page).

Kingofaces43 (talk) 19:42, 16 April 2019 (UTC)


  • Support version B on all edits and Yes on avoiding primary sources:
  • Edit 1: The listed sources are currently used in the article, but the article currently does not reflect the strong criticism these publications had months after the publication of the Sánchez-Bayo study (a rather quick turnaround time in terms of scientific publications). The WP:DUE concern here is that statements like this have been repeatedly pruned back reducing the effect of just how poorly received the study design was in the literature. This is also why direct quoting was more important here because of the specific emphasis the authors used, such as the last sentence in B.
  • Edit 2: Statements from scientific organizations are typically a higher-tier quality than individual reviews, and the ESA is about has high quality as you can get in terms of entomological science societies. The article was recently rearranged in the process of writing this RfC, so while the history section is the best fit for this overview content, they section name may need to change. The WP:DUE aspect to get across here is that insect declines are a major concern, but that there is also hyperbole in some studies or news media accounts that needs to be tempered (similar to news reporting and late-breaking health studies).
  • Edit 3: The source doesn’t support that the 75% of pollinators needed for food crops are in strong decline, so B condenses the quoting to better paraphrase the source in a more concise manner without reducing meaning. The supplementary data for the UK sentence also indicates that A significantly takes the content out of text implying all insect orders rather than the four that were looked at in volunteer surveys (which are often prone to inherent biases and a red flag that usually needs to be pointed out).
  • Edit 4: B removes the SDG WP:JARGON that isn’t needed in this article and already gets explained in the same wikilink if someone wants info on what the UN did. It also condenses the quoting to paraphrase the source. No strong preference on listing things like biological control in A, but the source discusses a bit more to pick out than just that, and detailing that isn’t extremely relevant to this article while it could be at the piped article.
  • Question 1: Yes. This is a heavily published subject where editors should not be immediately reaching for primary journal articles or newspapers whether we're following policy like WP:PSTS or guidance specific to scientific topics like WP:SCIRS. If I go on Web of Science and search insect declines (the same methodology as the Sánchez-Bayo study above), I already get 54 review articles to pull from and even more looking at terms like insect biodiversity. Newspapers have also been heavily criticized in this subject for hyperbole and general unreliability, especially when it comes to newspapers like The Guardian or other “Insect Apocalypse” headlines.[23][24][25] The includes the ESA statement above and more sources with text below detailing the problems since some are paywalled:
Extended content

Given the headline statements in the original articles, it was not surprising that the media reported the apocalypse with some enthusiasm! Hyping‐up the situation based on incomplete and potentially biased data may generate necessary short‐term attention, but it could ultimately backfire if it subsequently turns out that some of the claims have been exaggerated.

The final problematic issue with the paper is its strong language. Like noted by The Guardian, the conclusions of the paper were set out in unusually forceful terms for a peer-reviewed scientific paper. The text is rich in non-scientific intensifiers such as dramatic, compelling, extensive, shocking, drastic, dreadful, devastating, and others. This language is clearly reflected by the media with direct quotes, and with what media often does, by adding on to the already intensifier rich text. Exaggerated news made by the media itself are bad as they are, but similar exaggerations in the original scientific papers should not be acceptable. The current case has already seen corrections and withdrawals in the print media as well as in social media

A recent paper claiming evidence of global insect declines achieved huge media attention, including claims of “insectaggedon” and a “collapse of nature.” Here, we argue that while many insects are declining in many places around the world, the study has important limitations that should be highlighted. Particularly given the high‐profile of this issue, results should be interpreted carefully and communicated with sensitivity to public perception.

My primary reason for writing is a concern that many readers (in-cluding policy makers) will only peruse the paper's abstract and not understand biases inherent in a study that searches and reports only declines . . .

The topic basically falls into an area where popular press sources are subject even for lay summaries, and more on that from another ecologist.[30]
Overall, this would mean waiting with mentioning primary studies like this until secondary academic sources like reviews summarize them for us as is normally done for scientific topics, especially those in controversial areas. This would also reduce the occurrence of the current state of the article namedropping scientist X said Y in a newspaper and stick to secondary reliable sources for this content as cautioned about in Wikipedia:Identifying_reliable_sources_(science)#Popular_press. WP:PSTS is clear to reach for secondary sources (newspapers fall under WP:NOTGOODSOURCE for scientific content even if secondary), and primary sources need to be used with extreme care, and this isn't a topic where they can be used carte blanche. Secondary comments from qualified scientists are needed to assess the validity of primary research in this subject. Kingofaces43 (talk) 19:43, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Object to RFC as biased - all of the options given appear to be two different statements of the proposer's POV which is opposed to that of the peer reviewed research reviews. EllenCT (talk) 20:30, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
Instead of commenting on my personal POV or motivations (when I've been saying focus on the secondary sources this whole time), are you opposed to the version A's now too? Editors were given plenty of time to comment at Talk:Decline_in_insect_populations#RfC_draft_text RfC draft with no such objections. The version A text pulled directly from the article which I voiced issues with is what others have wanted, not me. If you think there are problems with both versions, then this is the place to outline that. Kingofaces43 (talk) 17:19, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
A large amount of content was under dispute and couldn't be resolved (though we did prune this down quite a bit in the RfC drafting). That's why we're having an RfC with concise edits to discuss now though. There aren't diffs to present easily, so the actual text is included, and without those proposed edits, it's just a few sentences of intro per WP:RFCBRIEF. I've asked for editors to gain consensus on the talk page for version A text for awhile now, so this is their opportunity to do so just as it is for version B's. Kingofaces43 (talk) 17:19, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
Agree bludgeon. Jtbobwaysf (talk) 00:49, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment. Just a note that as of posting this message, I've removed two edits to deal with at a later date in order to keep the discussion focused on more the core. Kingofaces43 (talk) 23:51, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • DYK The article was listed in Did you know? on the main page yesterday. This generated a spike in readership – about 3800 views. There were a few edits by this fresh audience – a cleanup tag was removed as unjustified and the article was uprated from start class to B class. So, it appears that this large number of editors and readers is generally content with the state of development of the article. Of course, there is still more to do but appears that progress is satisfactory. Well done, everyone. Andrew D. (talk) 10:47, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support B The subject is not yet mature, so there is no point to trying for definitive article content or too great punctilio. It is extremely important,so we must remain alert for new and reliable material and aware that partisan and hysterical news coverage and preliminary research will remain the order of the day for some years, so yes, the news media and primary sources need to be treated with caution. JonRichfield (talk) 06:28, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Remove newspapers Increasingly they have been participants rather than coverers in situations such as this. And I would like to compliment a the attempt at a well-worded well-explained RFC. Unfortunately it is so bundled and complex that few participants will spend the hour of study here that this would take in order to make a well-informed comment. North8000 (talk) 21:00, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Fail This article is the subject of WP:TE with those on two sides of this debate edit warring (I am not sure it is two sides equally). The purpose of this RfC is to ask the opinion of uninvolved editors, but this issue is far too framed for anyone to understand it when just dropping by. Jtbobwaysf (talk) 00:37, 11 May 2019 (UTC)