User talk:Sminthopsis84

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-Should we jump?
-Why not. It's Monday. We could wash off the Wikipedia grime from the past week.

Each Monday I am taking a stand against whoever it is who runs this show and doesn't care about editor retention. Along with some others, I am withdrawing my labour every Monday as a reminder that protecting the quality of wikipedia pages isn't possible because volunteers burn out if they try. Please join us. You'll be glad you did.

However, I gathered some data to show that this essay is not the answer. If we take a break or retire from editing, pages do deteriorate, there is no safety net for them. If the central administration doesn't care about editor retention, then there's not much that a few individual editors can do.

The Monday song

The Signpost
17 January 2017


2015-02-28 Close-ups of Salicaceae flowers, Weinviertel (Producer M. Stich).jpg Salicaceae flowers
A flower. Hafspajen (talk) 22:41, 12 August 2015 (UTC)

Nice. Very Salicacious, very salubrious. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 13:19, 13 August 2015 (UTC)

Re: your rv on Allotype[edit]

Hi Sminthopsis84. I wasn't aware of this 'rule' - would you be able to link it too me (I'm not doubting its existence, I'm just ignorant of it!)? Regardless, it would seem to better to have holotype wikilinked given that it is a technical term that the majority of readers will be unfamiliar with - what do you think? Acather96 (click here to contact me) 17:31, 25 August 2016 (UTC)

Oh, sorry, I should have included that link. See MOS:DABENTRY. I think the text at Allotype is rather more complex than necessary, so I've tried to simplify it, but I don't see a way to link holotype. See what you think. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 17:45, 25 August 2016 (UTC)

Bengali Muslims[edit]

In response to a request for a copy-edit at Wikipedia:WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors/Requests, I am beginning a copy-edit of the article Bengali Muslims. I haven't made an edits yet; I've just been reading, and am still in the lead. I know you have an interest in Bangladesh, so I thought I'd ask you about two things that are puzzling me.

In the last paragraph of the lead, we read:

  • They are concentrated in East Bengal. After the Partition of British India in 1947, they compromised the demographic majority of Pakistan, until the independence of East Pakistan (historic East Bengal) as Bangladesh in 1971.

I was a little puzzled by the short sentence, "They are concentrated in East Bengal". I thought, if that is a state within Bangladesh, I'm not sure it belongs in the lead. I did a search for "East Bengal" and found the article, East Bengal. The first line in that article says:

  • East Bengal...was the name used during two periods in the 20th century for a territory that roughly corresponded to the modern state of Bangladesh. [emphasis mine]

So, it appears that East Bengal is a term that is no longer used. Thus, to say that "[Bengali Muslims] are concentrated in East Bengal" is simply incorrect. Is it enough to change the tense of the verb and say "were concentrated in East Bengal" (and link the phrase "East Bengal"), or do you think this is not important enough to stay in the lead?

2) The second sentence says that Bengali Muslims "compromised the demographic majority of Pakistan". I think "compromised" should be "comprised", shouldn't it? The same verb is used in the second paragraph of the East Bengal article. If I change it in Bengali Muslims, I guess I ought to change it in the other. Thanks in advance for your help. (I may have other questions as I go through the article, but probably tomorrow rather than today.)  – Corinne (talk) 02:01, 31 August 2016 (UTC)

That will undoubtedly be a challenging task.
1) "were concentrated in East Bengal" wouldn't work well because they moved around 1947 to the part that was becoming Pakistan. "are concentrated in Bangladesh" would work.
2) yes, absolutely, that needs correcting. Sometimes I try linking works like that to wiktionary, but there are people who remove such links, I've never understood why. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 13:09, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, Sminthopsis84. I wouldn't understanding removing a few links to Wiktionary, either.  – Corinne (talk) 23:09, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
I've finished a first run-through. Now I'm going back and re-reading the article, both to find things I may have missed and to find things I knew I had to ask someone about. I'm going to post questions on the article's talk page at Talk:Bengali Muslims#Some questions following GOCE copy-edit. Please feel free to chime in.  – Corinne (talk) 01:47, 1 September 2016 (UTC)


Hi Sminthopsis84, could you take a look at Talk:Ecozone? Zorahia (talk) 03:24, 13 September 2016 (UTC)

I have made some new propositions in the talk page.Zorahia (talk) 17:06, 15 September 2016 (UTC)
@Zorahia: what you are doing sounds good to me, but I am not an expert on ecology, so have no "common sense" to help detect any problems that might arise. I can see that it is certainly a mess now, and needs work, but that's about as far as I can see. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:48, 15 September 2016 (UTC)
Fine! Zorahia (talk) 01:34, 16 September 2016 (UTC)

A barnstar for you![edit]

Tireless Contributor Barnstar Hires.gif The Tireless Contributor Barnstar
Thank you for your amazing contribution and happy editing. Vinegarymass911 (talk) 00:40, 26 September 2016 (UTC)

your comments on my talk page

Very unhappy in the way in which any one who challenges the status quo and forms a different opinion to others will be banned unless they conform to the views of those that are being challenged. If someone wishes to enforce sanctions, then so be it. It only reinforces the pettiness of editorial policy.

From what started out as a simple comment on a single page this has escalated beyond belief. Is wikipedia about enhancing knowledge for all or is it more about alienating those who only wish to join in and help but who may have different or opposing views? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Matchkick (talkcontribs) 07:07, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

The issue is not your views, but your behaviour towards another editor. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 08:22, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

Like wise it is a two way street when it comes to the behaviour of others. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Matchkick (talkcontribs) 11:05, 29 September 2016 (UTC)


Hi Sminthopsis84

I refer to your recent edit to Jacaranda, removing content. While I agree it is better related to the species article Jacaranda mimosifolia, I think you should have moved it. There was unduplicated, reliably secondary sourced content, which was lost by your good faith edit. I have placed the content into J. mimosifolia. Also note that the redirect purple panic became meaningless by your edit. I have fixed this too. Cheers. Aoziwe (talk) 13:41, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

Thank you for fixing that bizarre redirect. I've removed some of the material again, with explanations in the edit summaries. Folklore sections and "In popular culture" sections are likely to be deleted as non-encyclopedic by wikipedians who work on that sort of thing, but I'll leave that to such a person, if they should happen to notice the page. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:38, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

Evolutionary developmental biology[edit]

Hi, I'm rewriting this article, the top-level for evo-devo, as it was random, unillustrated and basically incomprehensible - it didn't tell me anything of what I needed to know about the subject. Now I've read a few books and I have some sort of idea what it's about. I've completed a sketchy first pass - the article has most of the sections it ought to have, and it mentions most of the key topics. It still gives rather few examples of how the whole machine works (will do that next). But it'd be very helpful if you could skim through it and tell me where it becomes unintelligible... Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:42, 13 October 2016 (UTC)

You are doing a lot there! I'll be busy for another week or so ... Will do what I can when that eases. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:13, 15 October 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. Have ground to a halt... maybe you could look at the talk page and see if I ought to do anything about it, and if so, what? All the best, Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:54, 22 October 2016 (UTC)

Reversion of an edit to an article[edit]

Sir, I find out that you recently reverted my edit to the article Bengalis.

Hoping that you are aware about the Bengalis in general,I would like to comment that-" There has been several persons worth of being mentioned in the subsection as you see in this article. But we can't basically add that massive list to the section of the page under concern. Notwithstanding or downplaying Chanda Gayen's immense achievements,when legendary Bengalis like Rabindranath Tagore(A Nobel Prize Winner), Subhas Chandra Bose(A famed freedom fighter),Satyajit Ray(A filmmaker of international acclaim) and every other person mentioned there has no contribution attributed to them,it becomes a fodder of thought(wink!!) iff Chanda Gayen is given such a high gravity in the section!"

Not barring the phrase mentioning her as a mountaineer, she has also been attributed with her relatively obscure professions too! Further,I think the exact time of climb to the Peak of Mt. Everest and the fact that she did it in same expedition is quite correct but WP:UNDUE and hence is worthy enough to only merit a mention in her own article only.In my opinion, the remedy lies to go with the styling of the section and mention her name among Bengali sportsperson of repute,consuming a mere 2 words!!

How do you feel about it?
Please ping me about your replies and opinion!Aru@baska❯❯❯ Vanguard 10:13, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
@ARUNEEK: Your suggestions are reasonable, except that in the context of that enormously long list, I think that Chanda Gayen does not deserve to be excluded. I think it is a bit sad that the list is on the page at all. If you look at Americans, there is no list of notable American people. I think that the various list articles, List of Bengalis, etc. that are listed at the top of the section should really only be listed in the "See also" section, and the notable people list should be removed from the page. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 21:51, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
Following your generous suggestion!Please keep an eye on the article for any re-addition of the section and if required-justification of the section deletion!Aru@baska❯❯❯ Vanguard 11:42, 19 October 2016 (UTC)
Okay, thanks! Sminthopsis84 (talk) 20:32, 19 October 2016 (UTC)


Hello, Sminthopsis84 -- Do you have Amborella on your watch list? If not, you might take a look at the recent comment at Talk:Amborella#Lacks the vessels?. It's by a college student with an interest in plants, possibly a new plant editor (needs to be reminded to sign posts).  – Corinne (talk) 20:22, 20 October 2016 (UTC)

It's nice to see someone trying to use the citations for the purpose for which they are intended, as the start of a reading project. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 21:30, 21 October 2016 (UTC)
I see you've been doing a lot of work on the article. I just noticed that there is no photo of the plant from a distance, showing what the whole plant looks like. All the images are close-ups. Would there be any value in adding an image of the whole shrub?  – Corinne (talk) 20:06, 21 October 2016 (UTC) Oh, I just looked again. The first image in the gallery is of the whole plant, but it is still pretty close up. I don't know if there is another image of the plant that could be added that looks directly at it rather than down on it, as this one does.  – Corinne (talk) 20:09, 21 October 2016 (UTC)
Sadly, we don't have one in Commons. (There is no image of the fruit either.) Commons has a problem that people change the file descriptions according to arbitrary notions about taxonomy, and discussions about achieving consensus hardly occur (the site is multilingual, which hampers discussion considerably). I don't see that anyone has uploaded a file here in an attempt to protect it from silliness in Commons (at least, not that I can find with a search for the string "File:Amborella"). It would be good to have an image of the whole plant; I've seen it in the past, and my impression was that those toothy young leaves give quite a different look from what a mature tree has. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 21:30, 21 October 2016 (UTC)
Wow. That is a problem. Have you raised it in a discussion regarding file descriptions for images on Commons? I thought most taxonomy terminology was international (of course, I know nothing about it).  – Corinne (talk) 23:46, 21 October 2016 (UTC)
I've thought about it, but I don't know what to suggest as a solution. Someone is likely to get hold of an old book, or an unusual taxonomic work and go around changing labels on photos. The problem is mentioned here. I think it will take time, perhaps years, for enough people to become aware of the problem before a solution (if any) materializes. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 23:58, 21 October 2016 (UTC)
Why not suggest a software application that prevents any file description from being changed until a solution is found? That alone might make people aware of the problem and begin a discussion.  – Corinne (talk) 01:06, 22 October 2016 (UTC)
The solution that I'd like to find (but probably haven't done enough research about), is to upload photos with a "No Derivative Works" licence. Perhaps it is possible in a single wikipedia such as this one (and that should outlaw copying the image to Commons, with the unfortunate side-effect that it couldn't be used by other-language wikipedias and wiktionaries). "Wikimedia Commons only accepts free content, that is, images and other media files that are not subject to copyright restrictions which would prevent them being used by anyone, anytime, for any purpose." The wikipedia option that I dream of might not be permitted either: Wikipedia:File_copyright_tags/All#Non-free Creative Commons licenses says "Do not upload images for which one of the tags in this section applies.". Oh well. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 02:21, 22 October 2016 (UTC)


Please refer to this. It is expected that we avoid including symbols for registered and trademark. Common names should be bolded in the lead of articles. EelamStyleZ (talk) 02:51, 29 October 2016 (UTC)

Okay. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:48, 29 October 2016 (UTC)

Natural selection[edit]

Welcome back. Yes, gulp, I've converted this large and potentially contentious beast to fully-cited, OR-free form, so far practically without fuss. Explanations: a) there aren't any editors any more b) it's too technical for most people to be interested in. (Really?). Given the deafening silence, I'd be really glad if you could give it a quick critical looking-over. I really do believe people ought to be able to come to Wikipedia to read about such major topics secure in the knowledge that the materials have been properly worded, cited, and checked. But it seems that editors prefer to do hundreds of articles on individual selachians rather than address the core topics of a science. Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:01, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

Thanks. It was a good cold, windy, rainy holiday. Well, selachians are cute, and perhaps gamodemes are less so!? I'll keep looking at your huge effort there, but so far I've only made changes in its surroundings, so that might look like more deafening silence. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:58, 9 November 2016 (UTC)
Many thanks. Well, even the nearly-invisible fixes are useful, and much less likely to attract thanks and praise. Chiswick Chap (talk) 16:24, 9 November 2016 (UTC)
I'm trying to explain Aristotle's biology for the masses. Not a simple topic, but happily I have Armand Leroi to hand, on paper at least. (Marvellous films, too.) Wd be curious to hear if you think it at least somewhat intelligible. I think the empirical research and classification bits need work, they're very uneven. Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:29, 21 November 2016 (UTC)
That's quite a challenge that you have set yourself, going forth into what is usually considered to be difficult ancient philosophy. (Interesting that Leroi is a presenter of sound material. On Netflix here is (only) a two-part 2005 series "Extraterrestrial", which starts off in such a way as to make it appear to fit squarely in the Looney Tunes category. Perhaps that is the influence of the "TV producers" mentioned on his page.) I tend to think that a comprehensible lead is a good way to start, that it can illuminate what is to come.
  • I think the lead would be more understandable without "but the only biological work to join the scholastic curriculum was On the Soul."
  • Mention of "The scholastic association" in the lead is inscrutable. Perhaps "The scholastic association, and errors in his theories caused Early Modern scientists such as Galileo and William Harvey to reject Aristotle." could instead become something like "Errors in his theories caused Early Modern scientists such as Galileo and William Harvey to reject Aristotle's work as theorizing not based on evidence."
"The scholastic natural philosophy curriculum omitted most of Aristotle's biology, but, perhaps because it did not sound as if it were about animals, included On the Soul." That seems to need a link to natural philosophy, but it is also not obvious why they would reject the parts inside their apparent mandate.
A discrepancy: "studied at Plato's Academy in Athens, remaining there for some 17 years." the linked page says 20. I don't know which is correct; sources seem to differ. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 14:01, 22 November 2016 (UTC)
Many thanks as always. I've tidied up the bits you mention. Not seen the ET thing, doesn't sound as if I've missed much. Leroi's BBC programmes are on YouTube, as listed on his page - they're really good, though obviously not in as much detail as his book. Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:49, 22 November 2016 (UTC)

The Challenge Series[edit]

The Challenge Series is a current drive on English Wikipedia to encourage article improvements and creations globally through a series of 50,000/10,000/1000 Challenges for different regions, countries and topics. All Wikipedia editors in good standing are invited to participate.

ArbCom Elections 2016: Voting now open![edit]

Scale of justice 2.svg Hello, Sminthopsis84. Voting in the 2016 Arbitration Committee elections is open from Monday, 00:00, 21 November through Sunday, 23:59, 4 December to all unblocked users who have registered an account before Wednesday, 00:00, 28 October 2016 and have made at least 150 mainspace edits before Sunday, 00:00, 1 November 2016.

The Arbitration Committee is the panel of editors responsible for conducting the Wikipedia arbitration process. It has the authority to impose binding solutions to disputes between editors, primarily for serious conduct disputes the community has been unable to resolve. This includes the authority to impose site bans, topic bans, editing restrictions, and other measures needed to maintain our editing environment. The arbitration policy describes the Committee's roles and responsibilities in greater detail.

If you wish to participate in the 2016 election, please review the candidates' statements and submit your choices on the voting page. MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 22:08, 21 November 2016 (UTC)

Merger discussion for Perilla[edit]


An article that you have been involved in editing—Perilla—has been proposed for merging with another article. If you are interested, please participate in the merger discussion. Thank you. Diospireiro (talk) 10:49, 30 November 2016 (UTC)

Species problems...[edit]

I've ditched a third of Species and a fair bit of Problem. They're starting to look vaguely respectable, but even I am a bit shocked at just what a mess they were in. Entirely gyp-free, however. Touch wood. Maybe you'd take a look at S (as well as P). Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:35, 1 December 2016 (UTC)

It is very nice to see the unwieldy pages trimmed (also "the basic unit", love that!). I don't know what to do about it, but it is a bit rough on Linnaeus to suggest that he had a orthogenetic view and was unaware of hybridization (only his later writings deal with hybridization, and he was descending into dementia, unfortunately). Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:08, 1 December 2016 (UTC)
Yes, the entire treatment of historical figures is pretty rough, period. The account of Aristotle at Evolution#History of evolutionary thought is outrageous, conflating the man with Aristotelianism of the Thomas Aquinas era - a shambles, and the article has a little gold star too, tsk tsk. That will be an interesting challenge. Linnaeus is at least pretty widely admired; Lamarck is treated as if all he did was silly giraffes, when in fact he barely mentioned them. And ... I better stop.
Thanks for the "the", but why not, it's been true for a century at least. Even if it's not real - I was at school with Jim Mallet, who wrote a splendidly learned account of the Species Concept, concluding that it's close to untenable over geological time and on a global scale. I think I'll put him to work in one or other of the articles. Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:22, 1 December 2016 (UTC)
It is indeed horrible how historical figures have repeatedly been set up as straw people, and those statements about them repeated as if they were true. Perhaps I'll get to look at Aristotle at some point when I get around to the backlog already noted on this talk page. Thank you for the Jim Mallett chapter, which I didn't have. I had some others of his, a review article Mallet, J. (2007), "Hybrid speciation", Nature, 446 (7133): 279–283, doi:10.1038/nature05706  (which states in the abstract "Linnaeus stated in Systema Naturae that species have remained unchanged since the dawn of time, but he later experimented with hybrids and convinced himself that hybridization provided a means of species modification."), a 2007 article on DNA barcoding, and Mallet, J. (1995), "A species definition for the modern synthesis", Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 10 (7): 294–299, doi:10.1016/0169-5347(95)90031-4  ("Darwin felt he had solved the 'species problem'; ... Darwin was even accused of making species appear more fluid than they really are as a ('perhaps unconscious') means of gaining support for evolution7. In fact, as I shall show, Darwin and Wallace had carefully considered alternatives, particularly definitions based on interbreeding, and rejected them." -- a very nice kick to the behind of the BSC.). Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:37, 1 December 2016 (UTC)
Good stuff. Even better if you feel like putting those quotes into the articles! Jim's writing is so clear where many others are so murky, that I start to feel the topic is actually quite comprehensible... do read Armand Leroi's The Lagoon on Aristotle's biology, it's beautifully written, and based on both documentary and real-world evidence (which makes a change). Chiswick Chap (talk) 16:53, 1 December 2016 (UTC)

Variation vs variability[edit]

Should there be separate articles on genetic variation and genetic variability? Chiswick Chap (talk) 12:17, 2 December 2016 (UTC)

Hmm. No. I'd say that wikipedia would be better without the current contenst of the genetic variability article (the polyploidy statement is false, but would require quite a bit of explaining), but the question is what should redirect where. Evolvability and Phenotypic plasticity need to be clearly distinguished, and I suspect that more needs to be said about ecology.
Genetic variation cites Rieger, Michaelis, and Green, which is old, but very much a foundation; it says:
  • variability - the state or quality of being variable of subject to (qv) variation, i.e., of having a tendency to vary in form, nature, substance, etc. (qv genetic variability).
  • variation - the occurrence of heritable or nonheritable differences in the permanent structures of cells ("intradividual v."), among individuals of one population ("individual v."), or among populations ("group v.").
The chief sources of v. among the characteristics of related organisms are genic differences (due to (qv) mutation or new assortment of genets) or environmentally induced differences which only cause temporary changes to the phenotype.
Primarily biological v. may be subdivided into three categories:
1. Phenotypic variation: The total biological v. of a given (qv) character ...
2. Environmental variation: V. due to all intra- and extracellular factors which influence the expression of the (qv) genotype ...
3. Genetic variation: V. due to the contribution of segregating genes and (qv) gene interactions (...) represented as the proportion of the total phenotypic variation that is exclusively genetic. This proportion is called (qv) heritability ...
Genetic v. in a population is controlled by three main factors (Mayr 1963). The input of new genetic information due to mutation and (qv) gene flow; the erosion of this variation by selection and sampling errors; and the protection of the stored variability by cytophysiological devices and ecological factors (qv genetic variability).
  • genetic variability - [a long article, and there is no entry for "genetic variation"] the formation of individuals differing in (qv) genotype, or the presence of genotypically different individuals, in contrast to environmentally induced differences which, as a rule, cause only temporary, nonheritable changes of the phenotype (qv variation). Genetic variance is a term used to denote that portion of the phenotypic variance which is caused by variation in the genetic constitution of the individuals in the population ... Free genetic variability: that part of the total g. v. which is manifested by the phenotypes in the population and which is, therefore, exposed to the action of (qv) selection. Potential (= "concealed" or "cryptic") genetic variability ...
I'm not at all sure that those comments are likely to help find a solution. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 19:01, 2 December 2016 (UTC)
The topics both exist, and are different; but the articles, or at least one of them, are garbage. Someone with a cold wet towel over their head needs to rewrite them. Not sure it's me! Maybe we can put a comment on their talk pages. Chiswick Chap (talk) 20:04, 2 December 2016 (UTC)
Writing the comment might require more than a cold wet towel. Perhaps a cold wet towel and a fan? Sminthopsis84 (talk) 20:07, 2 December 2016 (UTC)
And three fingers of gin in a tall glass with ice, lemon, and bitters? Chiswick Chap (talk) 20:10, 2 December 2016 (UTC)
Mmm. And perhaps we could call in Capability Brown to clear away all the evidence of the Norman Conquest and whatever that material is. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 20:16, 2 December 2016 (UTC)


Heritability can be estimated using many different research designs, the twin model is just one of them. The newest way is to compare nominally unrelated individuals, see GCTA. The point is to compare individuals who may or may not share environments but who differ in their coefficients of relationship. But the wording in the article's lede is ok now I guess.Victor Chmara (talk) 14:35, 3 December 2016 (UTC)

Yes. I think the new wording has a desirable simplicity, since probably most readers will either be new to the topic, or looking for a quick refresher on the meaning (I think of Type I and type II errors as an example of a page that many readers will look at simply for a reminder of something that they already know deep down: needing a reminder of whether a type I error is a false-negative or a false-positive.) More complex material needs to be explained, but not all in the lead section of Heritability; perhaps in time it can be split into several pages. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:07, 3 December 2016 (UTC)
Errors of type I and II are such terrible choices for names of statistical concepts. Completely opaque.--Victor Chmara (talk) 15:59, 3 December 2016 (UTC)
Indeed. I don't know why anyone would continue to use those terms (I should strike them all out of this talk page). You might be interested in this article in the SignPost that a friend recently pointed me to. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 18:44, 3 December 2016 (UTC)

Adaptive system[edit]

Oh my, another one. Practopoiesis was deleted as single-authored (note the delightful combination of IP, SPA and matching researcher's name, what a coincidence) but here it is in all its dubious splendour. Tweak, fillet, or discard? Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:41, 3 December 2016 (UTC)

Eeek. My first thought was to look for the wikipedia page about this contest for inclusion in the "see also" section, but sadly, there doesn't seem to be one. How about redirecting to Complex adaptive system? Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:22, 3 December 2016 (UTC)
Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities, what's not to like? I'll consider the options. But I think the CAS article is worse than the AS one, actually. Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:45, 3 December 2016 (UTC)
There's a lot more of those articles, e.g., Generative science. Is there a wikipedia policy somewhere to the effect that name dropping does not constitute science, or even philosophy of science? Sminthopsis84 (talk) 18:48, 3 December 2016 (UTC)
No, as long as they're full of structural totalities, they're great! I zapped the Practopoiesis, tho'. Chiswick Chap (talk) 21:41, 3 December 2016 (UTC)


Mycoremediation is almost[1][better source needed] worth[citation needed] keeping as a museum piece[page needed] for its delightful attitude to reffing... and its twin sister, Mycofiltration. Almost sounds scientific!!! Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:01, 6 December 2016 (UTC)

That Paul character really has a way with words, who'd a thunk of putting myco and filtration together in such a cunning fashion! Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:10, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
Mmm. I've had a look with Google scholar, and most of the "papers" are short essays or PhD theses that uncritically accept earlier claims, which ... I then had a go with "mycoremediation experiment" and have found one or two small trials, like D'Annibale et al 2006. I did find a PLOS one paper from 2013 on cleaning up endosulfan]. So there is some evidence. On mycofiltration, it's far worse. I found a 2012 Dutch proposal for a programme of research. There are lots of claims by PE Stamets, and some test-tube scale experiments which show that if you put a soggy mat of fungi in the way of some dirty water, er, some of the dirt gets stuck to the fungi, wow. I'm almost ready to propose sending it to AfD, though I guess people would argue the topic was notable even with fringe elements. Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:35, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
I think mycoremediation could be merged into Bioremediation. I have access to that article that was cited on Mycofiltration before I zapped it, and it is definitely about eating mushrooms to counteract dread diseases. Let me know if you'd like to see it. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:41, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
I'll boldly go. Chiswick Chap (talk)

Cambrian Shmambian[edit]

What a day, I keep running into daft articles, and I really wasn't hunting for them. Discredited hypotheses for the Cambrian explosion actually admits (repeatedly) that it's talking WP:BOLLOCKS. I don't think it's actually Creationist, though that could have been a motivation. Ideas? Chiswick Chap (talk) 17:06, 6 December 2016 (UTC)

I recommend a nice refreshing walk outside in the drizzle as a break from working too long here in the drivel. I'm off to deliver a bag of medlars so someone who apparently needs them (but not, strangely enough, because they've been chased up a tree by a pig named Tarquin Superbus). Sminthopsis84 (talk) 17:24, 6 December 2016 (UTC)

Spontaneous order[edit]

You were right, I gave it up. You may be amused, however, by the haircut I've given to Self-organization. One sentence I was almost sorry to chop boldly stated (without support):

Marvin Minsky's "Society of Mind", and the no-central editor in charge policy of the open sourced internet encyclopedia, called Wikipedia, are examples of applications of these principles – see collective intelligence.

Now THAT's what I call PROPER WP:OR. Shame it wasn't correct. Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:44, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

Marvin Minsky has written a lot, on many topics, but I think it violates WP:BLP to drop his name into that pseudo-scientific babble. Kind of nice, though, that we are being referred to as "collective intelligence", no? Sminthopsis84 (talk) 14:50, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

Well yeah, but the idea that we're achieving order by working entirely without aim or purpose does grate. On the other hand, on Mondays...

Do you think that Spontaneous order is distinguishable from Self-organization, and if so, how? If not, a careful merge, watching out for those pesky discretionary sanctions... Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:12, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

Crikey "Spontaneous order, also named "self-organization", can't argue with that. Self-organizing system and self-organising system are both redirects, and have been through their history. I think that one of those, could be a proper page, if it could be limited to engineering as in this, this, and this. The social sciences and "general systems theory" could perhaps be at spontaneous order, as in this. Sorry that that doesn't help with most of the bulk of the pages, though! Computer science would probably have to be mostly in with the other material. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:01, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
Um, so you think that although they cover the same concept, they should stay as a sciencey article and a society article? Chiswick Chap (talk) 16:09, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
I'm just not sure that I would be able to untangle general systems theory from the rest of the world. If you can see a way to divide them, I'd be happy to look over the results. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:13, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
It looks to me as if spontaneous order is the term used in economics and sociology, while the equivalent thing (probably much better defined) in the hard sciences is self-organization. I've added glosses at the top of both articles; the alternative is a full-on merge which would be quite something. I think we should remove all socio-guff from the science article as the spontaneity being talked about seems at least halfway metaphoric, the other half being half bs and (so on recursively for ever). But if you fancy a merge ... Chiswick Chap (talk) 16:22, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
I asked a computer scientist, who thinks that the terms are probably used interchangeably, but that self-organizing systems are something special. I suspect that biology is separate from the other things. If you feel brave, take a look at Integrative level. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:32, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
Yes. I went to Integrative level last week, and noted that the presence of Samuel Alexander and A. N. Whitehead indicated the likelihood of vitalism in that direction. Chiswick Chap (talk) 16:44, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

Structuralism (biology)[edit]

This one is definitely on the vitalist side and was rightly flagged up ... 9 years ago! Maybe you could give me a hand tidying it up a bit? I think some of the same sources as for self-organising system may help. Chiswick Chap (talk) 10:41, 9 December 2016 (UTC)

There are so many of these poor articles that I keep having to go back to my contributions list to see what it was that I was initially trying to improve, before going off to chase the string of interdependent bloobers whose correction might eventually provide support to an improvement in the first article. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:38, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
Mm. They are also old, which gives me hope: I doubt anybody could create such a thing today. I'm actually really enjoying tracking down the players in the structuralist thing (had never associated D'Arcy Thompson and Stephen Gould with Kauffman, for instance), and it's always nice to replace OR with historical fact. And I'm increasingly finding that my fixes on earlier articles make fixing the next one easier, as sources, quotes, images and wikilinks all come straight to hand. Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:43, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
Face-smile.svg that's encouraging. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:45, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
I've almost totally rewritten the article, and would be glad if you could pop by and give it a tweak or two. Chiswick Chap (talk) 16:58, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
An intermediate level of spandrel spaciness
Very nice! Spectacular puffer fish! Describing spandrels inherits the use of "space" to mean a filled area, which might perhaps confuse some readers; a completely open spandrel such as many bridges have might not be any better as an illustration, though. There is this image, which might perhaps be a compromise between completely filled and completely open. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 20:00, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
It's a super example if we want to call it a "space". It's nice, of course, to use the original San Marco spandrel, in which case I can call it an in-between area, or something. Which way to go? Chiswick Chap (talk) 20:19, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
To the talk page, perhaps? Sminthopsis84 (talk) 20:23, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
Maybe I'll just call it an area. But I think I'll use your bridge, I like the curly bits in the spandrel! Chiswick Chap (talk) 20:28, 9 December 2016 (UTC)

Fisherian runaway[edit]

I just rewrote the first sentence of this ... see my edit comment there. Maybe more work to be done on the article? Chiswick Chap (talk) 10:12, 13 December 2016 (UTC)

Hey, you have a way with words (or word-like entities), I'm impressed! Sminthopsis84 (talk) 14:06, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
Gotta keep those WLOs in order... btw, did you notice the merger proposal at Female sexual ornaments? Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:31, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
Don't want them to fall off the track? That is a spectacularly bad article, and I think the main reason is an old style of citation, citing a whole book or a big chunk of one instead of carefully explaining, lazy writing. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 14:56, 13 December 2016 (UTC)

Yeah. It leads to Sexual selection in humans (student essay rehash of the same old all over again...) complete with ridiculous suite of inappropriate images instead of refs; and Secondary sex characteristic, exactly as bad, for the same reasons. Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:23, 13 December 2016 (UTC)

Argh! Can't work on wikipedia today, though, sorry. Will come back at some point with one of these. By the way, I doubt that citations are being properly used; after fixing a title and adding a link to the article at Fisherian runaway, a quick glance suggests that it is not an appropriate citation for at least the first use. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:53, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
OK, a bit of primitive agricultural practice required. Chiswick Chap (talk) 16:04, 13 December 2016 (UTC)

They were right[edit]

I started on the evolutionary biology articles because of a comment in The Signpost back in January: "Impenetrable science": "[the whole area of] evolutionary biology is just a bunch of jargon."

Well, they were right. Today I've started on Homology (biology), a bit better but perhaps more obviously a mess than before (that's a good thing, now we can see the dust, spiders, and broken biros that had fallen down the back of the sofa). The tired old bird-versus-bat-wings were trotted out, and used simultaneously to explain homology and analogy! How confusing was that. So I've brought in some insects and (shock horror) even mentioned some plants. Of course, all the linked articles I looked at also used the same example: Flying and gliding animals gets my personal IgNobel prize for linking to homology with the text "Analogous flying adaptions in vertebrates". Yay! Chiswick Chap (talk) 11:15, 14 December 2016 (UTC)

That is disappointing. Without having looked at the article, I would have expected homology to have been thoroughly vetted by junior cladists, some of whom have been active around various pages (though sometimes rather confused about topics that are inherently more confusing than homology). I hope you don't burn out on this effort. I've been generally appalled by the state of science articles for quite a while, and by their tendency to take leaps in bad directions, but have been concentrating on more straightforward matters like which plant is which (because of that little matter of potential poisoning). Sminthopsis84 (talk) 13:32, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
Sweet of you. No, not many cladists about; some geneticist(s) left a big heap which I moved to sequence homology, leaving the topic explained mainly by the high-school brigade, though fortunately of the Darwinian variety. I actually don't think that getting the top 20 or so evolution articles to a decent standard will be that difficult; I already got evo-devo and natural selection to GA (not perfect, but look how they were) without very much fuss at all. One problem is the growing queue/shortage of reviewers at GA; there are plenty of articles there, but I don't often see something I want to review, given that pop music and football are both pretty much off limits! Chiswick Chap (talk) 13:47, 14 December 2016 (UTC)

Predatory journals[edit]

We might well feel sympathy for the authors that predatory journals scam, but the simple fact is that the essential quality of a predatory journal is that it lacks functional peer review, and as such it fails WP:RS. This publisher is also responsible for climate change denialist papers, for example, so has not standards at all. Guy (Help!) 20:22, 14 December 2016 (UTC)

It does not make sense to remove one of two citations after a statement that says that there is disagreement between sources. Also, WP:RS says to treat publications on the predatory list in the same way as self-published sources, and the advice for those is "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." (I think that should be changed to "previously or subsequently"). Treating Jeffrey Beall's list as gospel is harsh, particularly to Jeffrey Beall. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 20:50, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
WP:RS is not far wrong, but applying it blindly isn't what's intended and won't work well. Chiswick Chap (talk) 23:46, 14 December 2016 (UTC)

Iranian Plateau[edit]

This article was already categorized in Azerbaijan categories. Is this correct/not? I don't see much about the country of Azerbaijan in the text. Thanks Hmains (talk) 21:31, 17 December 2016 (UTC)

Oh, that is difficult. Part of Azerbaijan is in the Armenian Highlands, and according to that page, the Iranian plateau is separate, to the southeast. There is no other part of Azerbaijan to the southeast of the exclave. I *think* that Iranian Plateau should not be in Azerbaijan categories, but I am no expert on this. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:19, 17 December 2016 (UTC)
Hummm. The reason why I added the Europe category was that Azerbaijan itself and its categories and subcats are routinely placed in both Asia and Europe parent categories since Azerbaijan is on the border here. Hmains (talk) 01:52, 18 December 2016 (UTC)

Season's Greetings[edit]

Spread the WikiLove; use {{subst:Season's Greetings1}} to send this message

Happy Christmas![edit]

Holly in Kew Gardens

A very Happy Christmas and a restful Wikibreak!

Chiswick Chap (talk) 10:50, 19 December 2016 (UTC)

All the best for 2017![edit]

rv on Haloquadratum: "considerate style"[edit]

Hi, you reverted a simple grammatical fix, citing considerate style. However, there's nothing more considerate about "help to"; the difference is that of meaning: "help X" means "provide assistance to X" (i.e. "It helps sign your wikipedia messages", talking about a browser extension that does it automatically), whereas "help to X" means "To X is desirable" (ie. "It helps to sign your wikipedia messages", talking about how remembering to put the four tildas at the end is a good thing). mathrick (talk) 00:12, 27 December 2016 (UTC)

So you are saying that "may help position the cells to maximize" could never mean, even to someone learning the English language, that an agent is being assisted to maximize, similar to "help Petunia to finish her homework"? I do not agree that those two constructions always have different meanings. I think it is a rather complex sentence and consideration for the reader is desirable. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 13:08, 27 December 2016 (UTC)

WP:Articles for deletion/Female sexual ornaments[edit]

Guess you saw this already? Chiswick Chap (talk) 10:31, 30 December 2016 (UTC)

It's nice to see that. Salvaging that page would be an impossible amount of work because there are two many distorted or false statements as well as the overall problem of inappropriate structure of the page. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 12:59, 30 December 2016 (UTC)

Happy New Year, Sminthopsis84[edit]

Charles R. Knight New Years's Card.jpg

New Asterid subfamily[edit]

Happy New Year! I've done some work on an article on Famatinanthus on my Sandbox, that still has to be created in its namespace. The text as it now stands reflects the article from 2014. However, it creates a big consistency problem as it deviates from the currently used phylogeny of the Asteraceae in the Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Could you please advise me. Kind regards, Dwergenpaartje (talk) 21:09, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Hi Dwergenpaartje and Happy New Year to you too. I've added a little to your sandbox page to support that this is not taxonomic perversity but rather the result of new information. I think you can put it into main space. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:27, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
Great, thank you so much! Dwergenpaartje (talk) 22:29, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Fisherian runaway, Mate choice[edit]

I see we're both still working on Fisherian runaway, now not a bad article. There's quite a lot of overlap with Mate choice: and sure enough, the relevant sections there are the worst cited. Chiswick Chap (talk) 13:45, 10 January 2017 (UTC)

(I responded to your edit when it showed up on my watch list.) I think there are probably quite a few surrounding articles that have problems of various sorts, though I won't have time for much work on this for a while. It is inherently hard to explain because there are so many interacting effects, and I think that sometimes the text just comes out wrong. This edit was prompted by what looks to me like a scrambled explanation. Perhaps I'm wrong about some of those; perhaps they would make sense to someone else. I fear, though, that even if we can trim it all down and make it clear, people will add their own incomplete or tangled take on it back in because it is an emotion-charged topic. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 14:06, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
It's definitely improving. I find that when a section is fully cited, the "chatter" markedly decreases, for example on group selection where everyone thought there'd be massive trouble and it all faded away. I've added a ref, but need one for the reliable-indicator hypothesis. Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:09, 10 January 2017 (UTC)

GAs need less maintenance[edit]

I believe I once opined that once articles reached GA they were less trouble to maintain. "Usually" true, probably. Chiswick Chap (talk) 17:59, 14 January 2017 (UTC)

Yes. Helpful people wanting to insert their bit ... Short and sweet isn't the recipe for stability either, as I was recently reminded. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 18:58, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
Nearly sorted, perhaps. Do take a look at Modern synthesis‎ and Extended evolutionary synthesis however. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:13, 16 January 2017 (UTC)


Somewhere along the line, an editor inserted Phasmatocycadales into the taxobox, although that order is mentioned nowhere in the article, nor seems to have an article at all. Can you help with this issue? --EncycloPetey (talk) 18:02, 14 January 2017 (UTC)

Hmm. I think it should be deleted, but it is hard to find a citation for doing that. The Paleobiology database says that the name is "disused" but as far as I can see does not explain how that label came to be applied. Since the 2001 establishment of the order name based on the established genus Phasmatocycas, there is this from 2003 saying that they are less cycad-like than previously thought, and then this from 2013 seems to be as up-to-date an opinion as is available. Unfortunately, Phasmatocycadopsida shows up on a couple of pages as well, citing a 2015 textbook. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 19:28, 14 January 2017 (UTC)


Yet another evolution article in a heap. I'm doing the usual, but in this case the main structure of the article is almost entirely missing, and even the lead needs to be replaced. I've created 3 main sections, on Flowering plants (coevo with insects, birds); host-parasite coevo; reproductive coevo with figs; ... and suspect there are other major instances. Ants/acacias were already described, and are perhaps worthy of more; I wonder which other examples you think are major? I doubt if the lichens will count as the algal partners are pretty non-specific, for instance. And the models section is pretty rubbish at the moment. Ideas? Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:13, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

Oh deary my. The models section will require a longish diversion to fix Additive genetic effects. Perhaps someone has found that algae and fungi are differently adapted in different lichens, but as far as I know the research so far is largely restricted to morphology. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 14:14, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
Sorry to disturb. I've realised that three quarters of the article is actually about mutualism; that numerous scattered bits were about host-parasite; and that predator-prey was not mentioned! So there are the three main sections. I'll try to mention cleaning symbiosis and other service relationships. It's already far more likely to be useful to readers than it was a day ago - I'm almost ashamed that Wikipedia can present such a total muddle on a major topic in evolutionary biology, but we're definitely shining a light into some very old, very dark corners and I do think they'll stay a lot better for many years to come, even if we occasionally encounter a cave bear or two! Looking forward to your help when you have a mo. Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:21, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
I seem to have done a near-total rewrite. Nearly ready for GAN! As always, glad to hear what you think. Chiswick Chap (talk) 16:34, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

Evolutionary game theory[edit]

See what you think. Chiswick Chap (talk) 17:59, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

I do like the arrangement of the lead templates, they are very neat, and have a pleasing diversity of icons. I don't much like the use of "transpose" in the sense of moving to a different context in such close association with "mathematical form", which would tend to bring to mind the transposition of a matrix in linear algebra. Actually, I don't like that diagram with the n -> n+1 in it; n usually means number of individuals, and t is generally used for points in time. (Sorry, don't have much time at the moment to study this seriously.) Sminthopsis84 (talk) 20:15, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
Interesting! Chiswick Chap (talk) 20:21, 19 January 2017 (UTC)