User talk:Sminthopsis84

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
-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
31 July 2018



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)


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)

While working on symbiogenesis I decided to investigate Konstantin Mereschkowski. Oh my! What a sad story. Chiswick Chap (talk) 12:45, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

@Chiswick Chap: Oh. (Wondering if he would have got along well with H. P. Lovecraft.) Do you feel like working on more biography? Nearby, I've added a little to Jules Paul Benjamin Delessert, but we have a problem, Pedro Cláudio Dinamarquez Clausen is absolutely not the same person as he is being redirected to (see IPNI). Sminthopsis84 (talk) 01:46, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
Grisly. I'm not specially biographical; I need the impetus of a story (like symbiogenesis) to push me into looking at people's lives. I've redirected Clausen to Delessert for the moment, obviously an article would be better. Chiswick Chap (talk) 06:04, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
Um, are you sure the two Clausens aren't the same? The Peter Claussen article talks about 'Pedro' as the same guy, even though the birth and death dates don't exactly match... ? Chiswick Chap (talk) 21:23, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
Oh! Sorry about that. What a shifty character. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:36, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Got a source?[edit]

Pls see Talk:Pumpkin#Semi-protected_edit_request_on_31_January_2017 HalfGig talk 02:48, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

Nevermind. I found sources by way of cucurbita -> pepo. HalfGig talk 13:09, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, RL is a bit overwhelming at present. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 18:13, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

Mimulus luteus[edit]

See this new article I'm working on. Note the taxonomy, which I generally find as I have it in the article. But there's also this taxon:

Can you explain this to me? I haven't quite figured out if one is outdated or what. Wiki species has the one in the article. Feel free to edit the article. I'm working on adding info from the external links into the article. Beautiful flower. HalfGig talk 03:52, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

It is a pity that wikispecies doesn't have a page for Erythranthe lutea (which I won't fix because I don't edit there). I find the chromosome numbers in the table on page 37 of this reference very convincing that splitting off Erythranthe makes sense, even if the plants are extremely difficult to tell apart. USDA GRIN has adopted that taxonomy. Unfortunately Tropicos is noncommittal, listing both Mimulus luteus and Erythranthe lutea. It seems that the taxonomy moved forward in 2012 and most of the databases haven't caught up. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 21:27, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
Hmm. So I'll try cover that in the article and ask you to review later if that's okay. Thank you for your kind and prompt help. HalfGig talk 23:23, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
There's a PDF of that, or at least its dissertation predecessor, here. HalfGig talk 01:32, 2 February 2017 (UTC)
This is confusing. Various sources list them as synonyms of each other. If Erythranthe lutea should be split off what's left in Mimulus luteus? Oy vey. HalfGig talk 02:14, 2 February 2017 (UTC)
There would be nothing left in Mimulus luteus. This paper leaves only 7 species in Mimulus and puts 111 in Erythranthe. Oy vey indeed. The section that starts on page 5 called "Taxonomic options" discusses why they decided to do that. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 07:47, 2 February 2017 (UTC)
Great find Sminth! It's a bear finding really good sources on this issue. HalfGig talk 12:11, 2 February 2017 (UTC)
I suspect that horticulturalists will take a different view on this comment in the paper: "[the o]ther rationale for conserving Mimulus with a new type is not so strong. While popular horticultural species known as Mimulus appear exclusively to belong to American-centered generic elements that do not include the generic type, they are relatively few in number." Yes, they may be few in number, but they are well-known in horticulture (Mimulus cultivars are very popular summer bedding and basket plants, at least in the UK), and hence Mimulus is far more often used in this sense than any of the other genus names are ever used. Horticultural significance has been an important factor in other name conservation decisions. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:13, 2 February 2017 (UTC)
We not-very-botanical gardeners just think of them as "Mimulus", never mind the luteus given that they come in all sorts of colours. Perhaps "Mimulus (horticulture)" would be the right target, given that Mimulus the genus isn't going to be right either? Chiswick Chap (talk) 10:07, 2 February 2017 (UTC)
This is a mess. Even the paper Sminth found, while very informative, presents 4 options for what the taxonomy should be. The whole issue is in flux (I can't find anything good published after 2012) and trying to write wiki articles on this will open a can of worms. Why did I have to pick this for a next article? Haha. I'll have to think on this one about what to do. HalfGig talk 12:22, 2 February 2017 (UTC)
Wiki doesn't even have and article on Erythranthe. HalfGig talk 12:51, 2 February 2017 (UTC)
Notice there's a typo in the paper, in the small print at the top it says 'circumscriptions' but in the title of the paper 'circumscription' ;-) HalfGig talk 12:52, 2 February 2017 (UTC)

Yes, it is a tangle and horticulturists will be upset, but that could become a similar situation to Coleus with its head note "For the popular ornamental plant, see Plectranthus scutellarioides". Coleus is now mostly used as a common name. There is nothing listed in Proposals and disposals, which would mean that nobody has made a formal proposal to do one of those drastic things like conserving Mimulus with a new type. I'm not sure, though, which are the popular ornamental plants in "Mimulus"; the M. guttatus complex has been intensively studied, but as far as I know it is of more interest as a wild-flower than as an ornamental. The many-coloured ones would include the F2 and later generations from crossing red ones with yellow ones, and perhaps other products from clever plant breeding.

How about creating a page for Erythranthe, without undoing Mimulus, saying that the genus name has been set up for what has also been called Mimulus section Erythranthe, perhaps with a list of species in the section/genus? If someone wants to go in later and write a lot about it, that genus page could be a good support. I'd like to see some work being done on that because, for example, we have Mimulus_carsonensis set up in January this year, but supported by a citation called "A Revision of Erythranthe montioides and Erythranthe palmeri (Phrymaceae), with Descriptions of Five New Species from California and Nevada, USA". Not very tidy, that; one doesn't publish the new name Mimulus carsonensis by putting it in wikipedia (I hope nobody adds "nomen novum" to that page in some misguided attempt to circumvent the spirit of the Code of Nomenclature.) Ugh! I'm extremely busy IRL right now, but will try to move some of those to the Erythranthe names. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 04:32, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

Love your edit summary on that last post. I can help but it's such a tangle. Oy. HalfGig talk 11:26, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
I've created User:HalfGig/Erythranthe. We can work on it there til it's ready for prime time. Naturally, you and anyone else who'd like to help feel free to edit that page. HalfGig talk 12:32, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
That's a good idea. I must away, but will try to do something when I get a little time. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 01:06, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
P.S.: This will all become much easier to tidy up when volume 17 of Flora of North America appears. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 11:29, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
When does vol 17 appear? Also, see User_talk:Diannaa#Attribution_question. If we're going with leaving at least part of Mimulus in place, I'll copy the body over to my sandbox with the appropriate edit summary she suggests. Otherwise we may want to merge the two articles together. Or we could move Mimulus to the not yet created main space Erythranthe and when we're ready merge the sandbox with that. What do you think? HalfGig talk 12:26, 4 February 2017 (UTC)...UPDATE: I just finished going through Mimulus and found references for that plethora of citation needed tags. Wherever the info ends up, it'll have a ref. HalfGig talk 16:25, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
There is no definite date for publishing the volume yet; the parts are in various stages of completion. Yes, even with this drastic update, we would leave part of Mimulus in place. That's nice, to have references in place. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 20:57, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
OK, so what I'll do is copy all of the body of Mimulus to the sandbox, with attribution. Then we can cut down Mimulus to what we want (should it look like Coleus?) and make the sandbox what it should be. HalfGig talk 21:03, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
OK. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 21:18, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
I'm done with the genus Mimulus. Please look it over to ensure it makes sense and you're happy with it. When you're ok with it, I'll go to the sandbox, which I'd prefer not to do til you check Mimulus. No hurry, whenever you have time is fine. HalfGig talk 00:15, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
Okay thanks. I think I'm done with Mimulus. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 03:12, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
Looks great. Moving over to the sandbox. HalfGig talk 03:15, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
See the sandbox. I'm adding in geographic locations of the species right now. I think an article I previously made, Crataegus suksdorfii‎‎, is the same thing as Mimulus suksdorfii‎‎, which is now Erythranthe suksdorfii‎‎ ????
No, definitely different plants. The Erythranthe is a gentle plant that doesn't bite; the Crataegus is relatively gentle for that genus, but it is a big woody plant with thorns. I've arranged for some photos of the latter to be uploaded. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:01, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
THank you. So there are two plants with Suksdorf's name, Crataegus and Erythranthe (was Mimulus) ? HalfGig talk 22:04, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes. He was a shy person who discovered new plants and people named them after him, hence "Suksdorf's hawthorn", etc. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:05, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
I'm done adding in locations. One still puzzles me. Apparently, Mimulus repens is in Aus/NZ. But all else I've got on the partial list is native North or South America. Does Mimulus repens really still belong in Erythranthe? HalfGig talk 21:40, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
No, it has become Thyridia repens (R. Br.) W.R. Barker & Beardsley. It is documented in the 2012 Barker et al. paper. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 03:05, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
See email, I sent a great journal article. Now I guess I need to rename all those mimulus articles I list. Then fix their categories, etc. What a mess I walked into haha. If you, or anyone, cares to update the body of User:HalfGig/Erythranthe before it goes to main space, feel free. I'm not what to do with the Diplacus stuff. HalfGig talk 03:12, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
Thyridia is a genus of butterflies. I also see Thyridia repens in Barker etal. Is it allowed for a name to be used for two completely different living things? HalfGig talk 12:14, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
It would be nice to set up a page for that monotypic genus and to redirect Mimulus repens to it. The hurdle that I don't know how to cross is what the name of the page should be, perhaps Thyridia (plant). Yes, because the nomenclature codes for botany and zoology are independent, there is no rule against homonyms across the kingdoms. That was supposed to be straightened out somehow for the BioCode, but that hasn't come to pass, at least not yet. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 19:41, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

Gosh, a question I can answer, I think. Morus (plant) is how WP names mulberries; Morus (bird) is how it names gannets. Seems a nice solid precedent, if that's what you need. Chiswick Chap (talk) 22:26, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

Yes, that's the way to disambiguate genera. But we're pretty well standardized on having plants at the binomial title when a monotypic genus name is ambiguous. Make the article at Thyridia repens and make a redirect Thyridia (plant) (the redirect should get {{R from monotypic taxon}} and Category:Monotypic plant genera) See WP:MONOTYPICFLORA where ambiguous genus names are mentioned as an exception to the usual rule of having a monotypic genus at the genus title. The main WP:AT consideration in play is naturalness; nobody (who's not already aware of the intricacies of Wikipedia titling) is going to add some parenthetical term to their search, but they might search for a binomial (especially if there not aware that the genus is monotypic). Plantdrew (talk) 22:47, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for the guide to how to achieve that. Face-smile.svg Sminthopsis84 (talk) 02:32, 9 February 2017 (UTC)

So we need to set up a page for the genus Diplacus as well. Not monotypic. Not sure when I'll get to that. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 21:27, 9 February 2017 (UTC)

Please note that that change of the genus name Mimulus to other genera names is published in a non-peer reviewed journal that is edited by one of the authors of the paper. This is a major conflict of interest. No paper suggesting these genera changes has passed peer review and so is highly suspect in the eyes of the scientific community. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Davidbryantlowry (talkcontribs) 16:15, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

@Davidbryantlowry: The Phytoneuron publications are presaging the Flora of North America project, volume 17, and laying the groundwork for floras of other areas to be published in future. Guy Nesom is the author for the forthcoming treatment of Phrymaceae in the FNA volume, as can be seen here, and two taxon editors are listed there as well, Craig C. Freeman, and Richard K. Rabeler. The necessary nomenclature changes are always made before the volumes themselves, and that is the purpose of Phytoneuron. Your claim that the FNA project isn't peer-reviewed doesn't hold water, but it is also the case that taxonomy does not require peer review because it is in the nature of taxonomy that each scientist is free to accept or reject changes made by others, there are always multiple taxonomies. You are free to call the plant Mimulus luteus if you wish. You are only likely to get into trouble with that if the editors of the journals you submit to insist on up-to-date nomenclature informed by phylogenetics. If you use the old name Mimulus luteus, the question becomes "what circumscription are you using?" It becomes necessary to point to some particular taxonomic publication to make clear where you draw the boundary around the taxon. Of course, if you don't care about the species limits, you could try to be clear in some other way, such as specifying where you got the seed from. Whenever a scientist goes to a supermarket and buys spinach for an experiment, their work becomes suspect if they do not file a voucher specimen of that spinach somewhere so that future scientists can check its identity. Only the other day, I saw plums labelled as peaches in the supermarket, perhaps a pitfall for would-be scientists. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 21:12, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
@Sminthopsis84:Fair enough if that is the standards by which Taxonomy operates. We plan on submitting a manuscript to Taxon that argues for option 2 in the Phytoneuron paper in order to retain the name Mimulus. We will let you know if and when that is accepted.

Erythranthe and Erythranthe suksdorfii[edit]

Sminth and all talk page stalkers: I've moved these to article space and done a dual nom for DYK. Feel free to review. As for the last email about Latin names, etc, I've left the listings of old and new names at User:HalfGig/Erythranthe so we can still work on getting that info into the genus article. HalfGig talk 00:45, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

1) I'm trying to work through the Latin stuff. Does Mimulus nanus = Erythranthe nasuta? HalfGig talk 21:34, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
Barker et al. is a good source. Mimulus nanus => Diplacus nanus. Mimulus nasutus => Erythranthe nasuta
2) Erythranthe tibetica, another geo wacko one, all the others are in N. and S. America and then this one is in China? Is it really E.? Is it a case of Asa Gray disjunction? HalfGig talk 22:22, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
There are a few of them in Erythranthe sect. Sinopitheca and sect. Mimulasia. Various plant genera are in the western Americas and in eastern Asia, which have been connected through Beringia. Asa Gray disjunction is even weirder, eastern Asian and eastern North American plants.
Just found Erythranthe stolonifera is in Mimulosma and found in Russia. I'm putting the "Beringia disjunction" in the article.HalfGig talk 16:20, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
It seems it's "Beringia refugium" HalfGig talk 16:32, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
Well, I'd say that calling it the refugium is OR. The connectivity between the two modern continents would be sufficient to explain the distribution, and the fact that Beringia wasn't glaciated is not a necessary step to the conclusion. To support such a statement would require a citation saying that the timing of the diversification of this group of plants leads to such a deduction. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 19:54, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
3) Erythranthe szechuanensis from Szechuan China? same question as item 2. HalfGig talk 03:37, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
4) Erythranthe sinoalba as in Sino=China, from Yunnan, China. I'm seeing a pattern here. haha. HalfGig talk 03:55, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 09:15, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

Prahran, Victoria[edit]

Hello, Sminthopsis84 - Just wondered what you thought of this edit to Prahran, Victoria. Is the addition of "inner" necessary? Is it an improvement, or is it unnecessary?  – Corinne (talk) 00:56, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

Yes, it is appropriate, and people tend to think of Melbourne suburbs in that way. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 19:40, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
O.K. Thanks. Does that mean residents there also talk of outer suburbs? Inner suburbs and outer suburbs?  – Corinne (talk) 15:32, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes, people do talk that way. Since I don't live there now, I'm not well informed about which suburbs fall into which group. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 00:52, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

All-around Amazing Barnstar[edit]

Allaroundamazingbarnstar.png All-Around Amazing Barnstar
Sminth, I can't thank you enough for all the times you bail me out. Your superb work on botany articles can not be understated. You are a very kind, helpful, and courteous Wikipedian. Thanks so much for all your superb collaboration over the last few years! HalfGig talk 03:09, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Face-blush.svg Aw shucks. Thank you HalfGig, and thank you for dealing with these large taxonomic muddles which probably nobody else would have got around to tackling. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 03:36, 15 February 2017 (UTC)


I've been looking around for enough info to do other Erythranthe species articles but there seems to be paltry few sources on the ones that aren't done already. HalfGig talk 12:39, 16 February 2017 (UTC)


Dear editor, I'm relatively new on wikipedia, and was wondering if you could help me with an issue of the Epistasis-page: someone seems to have moved content from the page "Epistatis" ( to "Non-allelic_gene_interaction" ( ), creating two exactly the same, or at least highly similar pages in the process. You seem to have worked on the Epistasis-page in the past: does it make sense to revert this edit/merge the pages/or are these really two different things?

JSHuisman (talk) 13:24, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

@JSHuisman: Oh, that is a mess. It can be seen here that the duplication occurred only a few months ago. Since then, it is clear that people have been making small edits without realizing that there is such duplication. Do you have time to work on merging the better material by retrieving it from the edit history? In the meantime I will try to replace that duplicate with a redirect (which will require help from an administrator). Sminthopsis84 (talk) 19:47, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
You don't need an admin simply to replace the text of Non-allelic gene interaction by a redirect to Epistasis or vice versa. The real problem is merging any new and useful content. Sigh... Peter coxhead (talk) 21:29, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
Ask about an admin doing a history merge. HalfGig talk 21:33, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
I can't work out what Yahadzija was doing, or thought they were doing. Looking at their talk page there seems no point in asking. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:39, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
Thank you Peter and HalfGig. Yes, a simple redirect would fix the content problem, but the page history is problematic, and I agree, the problem seems to have developed because of wiki-naivete rather than an insightful approach to content improvement. Some edits from the duplicate page would be worth salvaging, though. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:58, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
From what I can see there have been no changes to "Non-allelic gene interaction" since Yahadzija created the page, the real problem is that all the page history of "Epistasis" before the move is now missing (or rather attached to the wrong page). Trying to read "" only serves to confuse me further: would it be best to add the recent changes to "Non-allelic gene interaction", remove "epistasis", and rename "non-allelic gene interaction" OR can an admin simply add the old history back to the "Epistasis" page? JSHuisman (talk) 08:37, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes, though there are some recent changes to Epistasis that would be lost if Non-allelic gene interaction, with the page history, were simply put in place of it. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:23, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

Oh well. I've tried various ways to get the history merge done, but have failed. The good news is that the subject matter is no longer duplicated. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 10:07, 25 February 2017 (UTC)

Precious two years![edit]

Cornflower blue Yogo sapphire.jpg
Two years!

--Gerda Arendt (talk) 08:26, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

Thank you Gerda. Such a light touch. So cheering. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 17:29, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
Three years now! --Gerda Arendt (talk) 05:13, 17 February 2018 (UTC)

Today's post on Casliber's talk page[edit]

Please see today's post at User_talk:Casliber#Please_move_Erythranthe_aurantiacus. I feel horrible. HalfGig talk 13:40, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

Well, muddle happens. I don't think you should beat yourself up about that; everyone makes mistakes sometimes. It is a huge undertaking to move all those species around, but we'll get it straight eventually, one by one. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:26, 17 February 2017 (UTC)


Sminth and @Chiswick Chap:...please look and the new Erythranthe section on diseases and pests. Can the statement "Diplacus, Erythranthe, and Mimulus are subject to a very similar set of pests and diseases" pass wiki muster or do we need to reword it or add more sources? Thanks. HalfGig talk 18:48, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

As an English sentence it's fine. Sminth can comment on the sourcing. Chiswick Chap (talk) 19:35, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I think that's a reasonable statement. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 07:44, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
I added a photo to D. jepsonii. HalfGig talk 13:39, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
Good sleuthing! Sminthopsis84 (talk) 20:58, 19 February 2017 (UTC)


Sminth and Chiswick may have noticed Guy Nesom has written a lot on M., D. and E.. This article I just found by him is golden: [1]. Over the next 1-2 days I'll incorporate it into the three genera articles. HalfGig talk 13:28, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

Good find! Chiswick Chap (talk) 13:41, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Nesom says he wrote that just for the molecular geneticists, who are the only ones wanting to keep all in M. Everyone else agrees with the split up of the genus M. He's completely baffled at their recalcitrance. HalfGig talk 15:04, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Mmm. Thomas Kuhn said that scientists never changed their minds, you got a paradigm shift only when they retired (or died, presumably). Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:08, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
I was thinking that too. People are naturally resistant to change. In this case, I completely agree. The evidence supporting the change, esp. DNA, is overwhelming. HalfGig talk 15:11, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Nesom seems to enjoy emailing about this stuff. I mentioned Cucurbita and he said he wrote the entry for Cucurbitaceae for Flora of North America Vol. 6 (pub 2015). He also says our Cucurbita article is "beautiful". Pats all around for us on that one. HalfGig talk 15:15, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Face-smile.svg Face-smile.svg Face-smile.svg Sminthopsis84 (talk) 20:24, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Should just mention that Wikidata needs quite a lot of work. The Swedish, Winaray and Cebuano wikipedias are using something closer to the new taxonomy, but French, Wikispecies and Commons are not. For now, I'm unhooking the English pages from the French Wikipedia and attaching them to Swedish. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 01:45, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Oy vey. Thanks. I've never messed with wikidata. HalfGig talk 01:52, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Eloquently put, "messed with" is exactly what I've been doing. It is clearly a bit tricky. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 02:06, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
I've kept away from its sticky tendrils as far as possible. I discovered that it goes haywire when the page I'm linked to in another Wiki (say, French) is a redirect! The link exists but the tool denies there's an article there, etc etc. Dreadful. Chiswick Chap (talk) 07:51, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Hmm. I've seen that there is considerable argument going on there, and that there are templates to deal with some problems, but, frankly, I don't have much of a clue about it. Sometimes I can make it work, sometimes not. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 08:59, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

DYK for Erythranthe[edit]

Updated DYK query.svgOn 22 February 2017, Did you know was updated with a fact from the article Erythranthe, which you recently created, substantially expanded, or brought to good article status. The fact was ... that Suksdorf's monkeyflower of the genus Erythranthe was named after the mostly self-taught immigrant botanist Wilhelm Nikolaus Suksdorf? You are welcome to check how many page hits the article got while on the front page (here's how, Erythranthe), and it may be added to the statistics page if the total is over 5,000. Finally, if you know of an interesting fact from another recently created article, then please feel free to suggest it on the Did you know talk page.

Coffee // have a cup // beans // 12:03, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

DYK for Erythranthe suksdorfii[edit]

Updated DYK query.svgOn 22 February 2017, Did you know was updated with a fact from the article Erythranthe suksdorfii, which you recently created, substantially expanded, or brought to good article status. The fact was ... that Suksdorf's monkeyflower of the genus Erythranthe was named after the mostly self-taught immigrant botanist Wilhelm Nikolaus Suksdorf? You are welcome to check how many page hits the article got while on the front page (here's how, Erythranthe suksdorfii), and it may be added to the statistics page if the total is over 5,000. Finally, if you know of an interesting fact from another recently created article, then please feel free to suggest it on the Did you know talk page.

Coffee // have a cup // beans // 12:03, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

Jack jumper ant[edit]

Hello, Sminth - Is this edit an improvement to Jack jumper ant? If so, I think a comma is needed. If "Southeastern Australia" is supposed to name a province, I suppose the original word order would be all right. If Tasmania should be considered a part of "southeastern Australia", then the new wording is right, with a comma.  – Corinne (talk) 04:44, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

It was clumsy. Please see if you think another comma is needed. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 05:01, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
No, it's fine now, and clearer. Thanks.  – Corinne (talk) 15:04, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

Erythranthe peregrina[edit]

Sminth, could you, @Chiswick Chap:, and @Peter coxhead: look over my draft at User:HalfGig/Erythranthe peregrina before I move it to article space? I'd especially appreciate a look to see if I got the genetics and other technical stuff right. Thank you. HalfGig talk 13:48, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

@HalfGig: I had a quick look and made a few formatting changes. It seems to me that the sections aren't correctly headed; both are really about the origin of the species. "Description" should be a description of the plant; "Distribution" or "Distribution and habitat" just about where it occurs. For a hybrid, I guess the order should be Description – Origin – Distribution, parallelling the normal "Description – Taxonomy – Distribution" order for a species article. Peter coxhead (talk) 15:41, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
@Peter coxhead: Good improvements. Thank you. I also added the British English template to the talk page since it's native to Scotland and changed one naturalized to naturalised. I should be able to get to your suggestions tonight. HalfGig talk 17:03, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
@HalfGig: re the ENGVAR, since I'm a fan of "British English with Oxford Spelling", I prefer the "-ized". :-) Peter coxhead (talk) 17:28, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Drat. That makes things difficult. -Ize/-ise is the first thing I look for when I'm trying to figure what ENGVAR is being used. Color/colour is the second; there are other words with -or/-our, but as a bare search string, "our" turns up in many US English words. Plantdrew (talk) 17:44, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
We can change it back to Yank speak if you want. It's not even in article space yet. HalfGig talk 18:58, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
I've moved it to article space and nom'd at DYK. Feel free to look over the nom at WP:DYKN and the article itself. HalfGig talk 02:31, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
This will be the lead DYK today beginning at noon UTC. HalfGig talk 11:39, 14 March 2017 (UTC)


You probably have this article on your watch list, but in case you don't, you might be interested in reading Talk:Palynology#Suggestions. The suggestion is worded in such academic language that it makes little sense to me, but I guess you will understand it.  – Corinne (talk) 01:05, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

Thanks. I don't expect to be able to find the time to work on that for at least a few months, though. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 02:29, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

Peach blossoms in Feb, a month early, proof of global warming[edit]

This is my own peach tree. HalfGig talk 14:45, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
Pretty. Hope you get peaches. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 14:49, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
Aw. The ornamental pear is out on the common, and my hazel catkins are nearly over, having been very beautiful in the evening light. Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:05, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
It had peaches last year. HalfGig talk 18:44, 24 February 2017 (UTC)


Hello, Sminthopsis84 - I was reading today's featured article, and then looking at a few linked articles, and I found Beyeria. I noticed that there is no image for this article. Would it be possible to find one for the article?  – Corinne (talk) 00:45, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

(talk page stalker) There are three on commons in Category:Beyeria (plant). I added the one I thought best to the article. HalfGig talk 01:02, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
Thank you both for finding my talk page useful to collaboration. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 02:25, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
You're welcome! Some editors might have taken that as dry sarcasm. ;)  – Corinne (talk) 02:33, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
Me dry? Never. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 02:41, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

Now for my plum blossoms[edit]

I nom'd it for valued image on commons. We'll see what happens. HalfGig talk 13:58, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

Very nice. I grew up eating 'Santa Rosa'. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 00:09, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
It's now a valued image. HalfGig talk 12:46, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

Erythranthe improvement[edit]

Sminth, @Chiswick Chap:, and @Peter coxhead:. As you know I've been regularly working on improving Erythranthe. It and Asa Gray are waiting at GAC for a GA review. I've hit a brick wall and was wondering if you could look at Erythranthe and suggest and/or make improvement to get it to GA level. Thank you. HalfGig talk 01:33, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

Diplacus used to be separate from Mimulus, then not, then again HAHA[edit]

I just added this to Diplacus from a 1905 source, HAHA: Diplacus used to be a separate genus from Mimulus but not later than 1905, it was merged into Mimulus until the 2012 restructuring. "cite journal|title=The Gardener's Magazine: Diplacus glutinosus|url=' Magazine Office|year=1905|page=741|volume=XLVIII|date=18 November 1905"

HalfGig talk 00:50, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Yes, a lot of that happens, early insight by skilled people was over-ruled, sometimes on spurious grounds, and then more information becomes available that proves the early insight correct. Taxonomy used to be done by force of intellect; now it is done by throwing more and more data into the pot. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 08:36, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Plus, I would add as a former academic statistician, a lot of the early molecular phylogenetic analyses were based on wholly inadequate data in the first place (just a few genes and a small sample of species). Peter coxhead (talk) 11:41, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Indeed. And then there is the fraught subject of DNA barcoding. It is good to remember that there have been various fads in taxonomy, where a new characteristic has turned everything around. Examples include pollen characteristics, chemical analysis, and chromosome counts. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 21:38, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
HAHA...same for Erythranthe "The establishment of Erythranthe as a genus (Spach 1840) included only the type species, E.

cardinalis. Greene (1885) reduced Erythranthe to a section of Mimulus " HalfGig talk 12:15, 9 March 2017 (UTC)


Hello, Sminthopsis84 - I was just reading the article on Liquorice, and toward the end of the Liquorice#Food and candy section there is a tag that says "dubious - discuss". I thought perhaps you might be able to address this. Also, I see that there is a Liquorice#Folk medicine section. I wonder if the statement about the use of liquorice in folk medicine in Egypt that appears in the paragraph right before the one with the "dubious" tag should be moved there.

I also wonder whether you think this article could, or should, be expanded. If you think there is enough information in sources that could be added to this article, perhaps it would be a good candidate for nomination at WP:Today's articles for improvement.  – Corinne (talk) 15:22, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

I don't know much about Today's articles for improvement; this would require changing quite a few pages. There are several species called liquorice and more than one species yields the product, so that page needs to be split into a species page and a product page, as we have for products like coffee. It is a bit unfortunate, I think, that there is Liquorice (confectionery) which says that it is about confectionary flavoured with that root, but then discusses confectionary that is not flavoured with it. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 09:58, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
I see you've done some work on the article; thank you. I don't know much about licorice (American spelling), so I can't do anything about either article. Every time you see articles like this you must think, oh my gosh, another big project. Well, you could save it for a rainy day.  – Corinne (talk) 17:14, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
I would guess that you have Liquorice on your watch list, but just in case you don't, can you look at this edit and the ones just previous to it, a little back-and-forth editing? I don't know if the change from "candy" to "confectionary" is warranted (the edit summary says "ENGVAR"), but the change from "actually" to "but" left the sentence ungrammatical. Can you decide what the best wording is here?  – Corinne (talk) 00:11, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
Confused.png. I've restored the punctuation and grammar of the original version. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 04:26, 2 April 2017 (UTC)

Iron gall ink[edit]

I was just looking at the latest edit to Iron gall ink. Does vinegar contain citric acid? I thought it contained only acetic acid.  – Corinne (talk) 22:50, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

Citric acid is possible depending on what the vinegar was made from, but not a likely major component. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:33, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
That page is becoming a mess because of a lack of citations. I made some changes. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 18:35, 14 March 2017 (UTC)


What to use on listcruft

I've had a go at citing and reshaping Species into something vaguely acceptable. If people think it's worth a shot I'll put it up for GA, but would be pleased to hear what may be missing from what is quite a slippery and rambling concept. I've had some, er, interesting comments already, but even they are grudgingly coming around! Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:33, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

P.S. Species led me inevitably to Hybrid (biology), a shocking mess. I'll take a slasher to it now. Again, suggestions for creative destruction welcomed. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:39, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Species is a page that I've despaired of in the past, back in 2013 and 2014 (Talk:Species/Archive_2). When people hack at material that could have been a good basis for page improvement, the effort required to combat the destruction becomes too great. Perhaps bringing it to GA would help. If you have enough energy, you might want to look at the version from before LeProf slashed it. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 18:46, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
Oh dear. I think it's about up to speed, but I'll take a look at what was there before the barbarians galloped through waving scimitars or whatever. Chiswick Chap (talk) 19:02, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
I've had a look through the past several years' worth, and most of his deletions were either instantly reverted, or not very significant; and the good news is that the material which was uncited and unstructured then, is cited and organised into tidy sections now. I can think of efforts that could be made on the article, but I'd say it now covers the main points; and (touch wood) it seems that the awkward editing has subsided and any vandalism is swiftly dealt with. So I'm surprisingly sanguine. Now, let's see if there are any GAN reviewers left out there (and THAT's becoming a serious problem). Chiswick Chap (talk) 19:12, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for looking over all that. I didn't have the heart to do it myself. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 19:34, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

DYK for Erythranthe peregrina[edit]

Updated DYK query.svgOn 14 March 2017, Did you know was updated with a fact from the article Erythranthe peregrina, which you recently created, substantially expanded, or brought to good article status. The fact was ... that Erythranthe peregrina (pictured) is a rare example of a species developing in multiple locations from parents that normally produce sterile hybrids? The nomination discussion and review may be seen at Template:Did you know nominations/Erythranthe peregrina. You are welcome to check how many page hits the article got while on the front page (here's how, Erythranthe peregrina), and it may be added to the statistics page if the total is over 5,000. Finally, if you know of an interesting fact from another recently created article, then please feel free to suggest it on the Did you know talk page.

Mifter (talk) 12:02, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

Have some Poutine[edit]

I'm sure this is one of your favorites, enjoy:

Food Poutine Closeup.JPG
HalfGig talk 23:42, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
Why thank you, that looks like the genuine article, which I've actually never tasted. I'm told that the right cheese is not available in Ontario or Nova Scotia, only in Quebec. Thai Green Curry Poutine in Ottawa didn't seem to be the best kind to begin one's gustatory foray, so enjoyment awaits me yet. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 00:48, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
Hmm. Perhaps User:Chiswick Chap has had a Cornish pasty:
HalfGig talk 01:48, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
We have those here in Australia. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 07:13, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
The original Cornish pasty was the tin-miners' lunch - meat, onions and potatoes one end, apple pie the other, with what you botanical types 'd call a septum down the middle! Chiswick Chap (talk) 07:32, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
Gosh! Here they are usually uni-locular with meat, onions, and white turnips and some randomly chosen other vegetables throughout the locule. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 07:36, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
Some of the structures seem to have atrophied as the selection pressure from tin-mining husbands demanding a proper lunch was removed. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:12, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
You guys are hilarious! As for me, I'll have some pulled pork barbecue with vinegar-based sauce:
Pulled pork 008.jpg
HalfGig talk 11:01, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

Hybrid (biology)[edit]

I'm wrestling with this minotaur of a beast. Any suggestions for how it should be organised? It rambles about without quite repeating itself, so it's probably tetraploid itself... Would love to get it into better shape but can't see how. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:51, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

The section called "Types" and much of the lead could perhaps be better combined, leaving almost nothing in the lead (and there's also the matter that Types might seem to mean Type (biology) or Type–token distinction). On a related note, Intraspecific breeding is horrible, and I'd like to find a way to get rid of it but can't see how (I was hoping to trim the See also section of the hybrid page ...). Sminthopsis84 (talk) 10:30, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Many thanks. Why not boldly merge Intraspecific breeding into Breeding, with redirect ... and cut anything that's a duplicate. I'll have a go at the Types section. Any other ideas? Chiswick Chap (talk) 11:50, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, dealt with that one. Wiktionary is seriously deficient for terms like "double-cross hybrid", "top cross". Some definitions might be obtainable from the source that I've just used for a quote here, but not all. Then we'd have to link to wiktionary quite a lot, work which some other people would undoubtedly undo. I don't know that using wiktionary is a good solution. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 02:39, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Mmm. On my (rare) visits to Wiktionary, I found it absurdly argumentative, and essentially incomprehensible for its lack of citations, so you just have to hope that things came from somewhere sensible and that the Powers that Be are fundamentally rational. We'll do better to create redirects and definitions within umbrella articles (I'll look at some of them). I've straightened out the top-level structure of Hybrid (biology) but it still feels like a rag-bag list within that. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:24, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Well, I've fully cited the article, and created no fewer than 15 redirects. Not quite up to the standard of the guy who made a redirect for every name for any wine known to oenologists, but not bad all the same. The article's even looking tidy but would be pleased to know what else could be improved. I was wondering about drawing a simple diagram to show triploid sterility, perhaps it would be worth it. Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:21, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Wow. Do you have any idea where we could define S1 generation, something like F1 hybrid, but produced from self-pollination? Sminthopsis84 (talk) 23:35, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Hmm. Apomixis or something? Chiswick Chap (talk) 07:33, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
Plant genetics? Lavateraguy (talk) 09:46, 28 March 2017 (UTC)
Yes, that could work. It and Plant breeding are currently overlapping, inadequate, and poor. A proper list of all those abbreviations, with pointer to F1 hybrid would be good. (I currently can't access most web sites, for unknown reasons, so am handicapped by even more than being away from home.) I think that the necessary material is probably old enough to be largely off-line. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:17, 28 March 2017 (UTC)

List of plant hybrids[edit]

I've split the rather large list of plant hybrids out as a new article. Every entry in the table is cited to authorities ....... but the words of Bloggs 1921 and Doe 1951 are not expanded anywhere (nor were they in the original article). Might someone with botanical knowledge care to lend a hand? Tedious, I know, but we are putting things in order. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:54, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

So much to do ... might get to look back at this in a week or two. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 21:14, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

Blaming Canadian Arctic air mass and global warming[edit]

My fruit tree blossoms bloomed a month early due to global warming. Then last week that Canadian Arctic air mass damaged much of my peach, plum, and pear blossoms (persimmons hadn't bloomed yet). I think they'll all still have some fruit, but right now I'd call it moderate damage. ☹️ HalfGig talk 12:55, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

Yes, we Canadians derive glee from such events. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:36, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
Sadists!!! HalfGig talk 23:51, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

Keen student adds ... complexigook ...[edit]

Hi Sminth, a very keen student determined I think to get a top grade has added some carefully cited stuff at Convergent evolution#Methods of detection. I've carefully copy-edited it to remove grammatical inelegancies, duplication, and upper case. I think I nearly understand some of it, but not the crucial distinction at the top, given how it's explained. Thoughts? Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:17, 1 April 2017 (UTC)

Aargh! That isn't detection, it's inference. I'll try to reduce the bulk of it somewhat. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 09:43, 1 April 2017 (UTC)
I've hacked at it a bit. Can you have another look? Sminthopsis84 (talk) 10:05, 1 April 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, it looks more like the Wiki we know and love now... Chiswick Chap (talk) 11:11, 1 April 2017 (UTC)

Ah, another bunch of students over at crop diversity, well spotted. The citations are fine (if over-documented) but the text tends to be little better than waffle. It seems more and more bunches of them descend on us each academic year. I blame their lecturers! Chiswick Chap (talk) 11:28, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

Indeed. Another wikiproject seems to be needed, perhaps WP:DAMPEN-ENTHUSIASM. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 18:52, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

Function (biology)[edit]

Aaargh. Do you think an editor's recent efforts on Function (biology) are an improvement? They're trying to distinguish between its roles in adaptation and in natural selection, which one might have compared to trying to distinguish between "drumkit" and "loud noise". But I'd be curious to hear your op. Chiswick Chap (talk) 07:47, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

Indeed. The previous version was certainly problematic, which makes reverting difficult. Functions like flight need to be discussed. The very first citation is being misused, it actually says "The role, effect or mode of action of the parts of an organism, especially those which contribute to their maintenance and reproduction." That's a bit weird, but would seem to include using the beak to preen the feathers, so not physiology as defined in wikipedia. I don't know what to do about that page; it would be nice to see it disappear. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 06:22, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
Aaargh. Aaargh. They've not only reverted to the garble, they've redoubled their efforts. Please see article and talk page. Chiswick Chap (talk) 07:55, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
Oh, that was bad, very muddled indeed. Unfortunately, it is probably all too easy to find sources that could be cited to say that any product of natural selection is an adaptation. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 11:42, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
We'd best keep an eye on what happens. I've reorganised it slightly. It's a slippery thing, close to teleology (ever since Aristotle). I think the mention of Aristotle's 4 causes sets it helpfully in context - function is one of them - so it long predates the idea of evolution but is essentially wholly subsumed by it. I'd like to find a way to say and cite that gracefully - ideas? Chiswick Chap (talk) 13:17, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

Orthogenesis vs Evolutionary progress[edit]

Is there any good reason why we have two such similar articles? Chiswick Chap (talk) 18:36, 6 April 2017 (UTC)

Can't think of one. Also can't see how particulate inheritance would be able to refute it; perhaps reading the cited source could help to understand that (or perhaps not). Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:20, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
It was refuted by palaeontology and the fact that nobody could see how genes and evolution could possibly include a sense of future direction, i.e. the paradigm collapsed when it started to look utterly ridiculous.
So we can propose a merge. Which title shall we use? Orthogenesis (55,000 hits) is an old name, now little used (not surprising); Evolutionary progress (410,000 hits) is a bit of a gloss but an easier term, perhaps; and Progressive evolution gets 56,000,000 hits (!) but currently redirects to Orthogenesis, so would require a requested move. I'll merge E.P. to Orthogenesis now; I wonder if it will be worth asking to move the result to P.E.? Chiswick Chap (talk) 06:10, 7 April 2017 (UTC)
Sounds good. I'd also support the move. [An example of the conflict between one version of "progressive evolution" and genetic theory is this book review by R.A. Fisher, in which Fisher delicately demolishes the bad experiment that the author claimed would show that if the mean of a phenotype of an isolated population differed even slightly from the mean of the original population, then subsequent generations would increase the divergence. A bizarre theory indeed, but not really the same as Lamarck claiming that French male humans were the epitome of progress.] Sminthopsis84 (talk) 07:14, 7 April 2017 (UTC)
I'll take it in stages, and will likely rewrite the History from Ruse. Chiswick Chap (talk) 19:49, 8 April 2017 (UTC)
600 pages of Ruse to work through! I've restructured the article but it's still a horrid mess. Part of the prob. is that many authors are recorded as just inventing a new name for it, such as nomogenesis, but basically they're all as like as two peas, i.e. grade A nonsense, rewrapped. Maybe a table of names, dates, people, refs? Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:45, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
Nicely done. I'd say that it is much better than the Curate's egg at this point. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:46, 13 April 2017 (UTC)

I've had fun tracking down some of the, er, many crackpot theories in the area, and making a table of them. I don't know why I find this so amusing, but I do. On the other hand, Ruse is so opinionated I'm not sure I can face reading him. Maybe dip in here and there. Happy Easter! Chiswick Chap (talk) 13:49, 15 April 2017 (UTC)

@Chiswick Chap: Happy Easter to you too! What a wonderful thing that you find it amusing, to the great benefit of Wikipedia. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 23:43, 15 April 2017 (UTC)
Trying to make it less of a list and more of an article: I've removed text that just duplicates the table, and added a discussion from Ruse of the status of progressionist ideas .. he thinks they're alive and well, even name-checking Mr Darwin and Mr Dawkins! Not to mention the Smithsonian, the Natural History Museum and Scientific American!! In short he's magnificently rude about everyone. See what you think now. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:28, 20 April 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for looking in on this - I've gone ahead and removed the stray item from the table, you might like to keep an eye in case it recurs on the talk page. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:03, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

I agree that it doesn't belong. For me, the Titanothere image overlaps the table, but I don't know how to to fix that. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:46, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
I arranged the images side-by-side for you and all other lovers of wide tables. Chiswick Chap (talk) 20:59, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Sociobiology: The New Synthesis[edit]

I've rewritten this ... would be curious to know what you think it needs? The controversy bit is left over from the years B.M. (Before Me...) and smells like a WP:COATRACK, should probably be a separate article: but the detailed reviews are starting to make its more OR-ish conclusions unnecessary, perhaps. I'm uncertain whether to try to summarize the chapters. The lead is problematic, too, but extending it isn't easy. Chiswick Chap (talk) 19:49, 8 April 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for contributions to another article! Made the mistake of following up the link to biological determinism — gosh what a mess. I've tagged it - it needs refs, de-coatracking, and de-POV-ing. In short, WP:TNT. Dustbin and start over job. Chiswick Chap (talk) 05:53, 9 April 2017 (UTC)
Was working around to getting back to your article, Face-smile.svg. Wow, that's a bad one. Wikipedia needs a redirect to the back of beyond, to Woop Woop, as a replacement for such articles. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 06:36, 9 April 2017 (UTC)
Looking forward to it. Love the Woop Woop idea. Chiswick Chap (talk) 06:44, 9 April 2017 (UTC)

Review on Methods of Inference (Convergent Evolution)[edit]

Hi Sminthopsis84,

You reviewed the section I added to the Convergent Evolution page on methods. Thanks for your edits. It seems like you helped clear some things up. However, I noticed that you removed a pretty substantial amount of content regarding programs that can be used to infer convergence events. I thought this might have been a helpful section in case students or researchers were interested in learning what available resources there are for these types of methods. I wanted to clarify why this section needed to be removed. Additionally, I noticed that a particular section was removed and you commented that the material was not keeping with wikipedia's aim to be an encyclopedia. I was not sure why this was the case. Would you please clarify? I also wanted to add that windex is an R package to infer convergence since you commented that it was not: windex

Thanks again for your review.

Ahernandez6 (talk) 14:36, 10 April 2017 (UTC)

I'm sure that Sminthopsis84 can reply for themself, but a couple of comments can readily be made on the edits. Firstly, Wikipedia is not a directory of products, and it is generally not our practice to try to keep up with product offerings: apart from the risk of getting involved in advertising and product placement, products change so rapidly that articles on such matters are guaranteed to be constantly out of date. Secondly, details of tools that can perform calculations of any kind are at best tangentially related to an article about evolutionary biology, and are arguably veering well off-topic. Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:33, 10 April 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Chiswick Chap for replying to the above while I was off-line. @Ahernandez6: Sorry that it must be disappointing to have your quite large additions zapped by other editors. I trust that Chiswick Chap's explanation has covered your questions. A particular point I would make is that WP:RS which I referred to, about identifying reliable sources, would in my opinion rule out R packages because they are self-published. A better link would have been WP:RSSELF. However, a more important point is that details of particular tools are not good wikipedia material. For the deletion with WP:PRIMARYCARE mentioned in the edit summary, that link has a statement that I think covers the difficult and specialized nature of that material well: "However, primary sources may only be used on Wikipedia to make straightforward, descriptive statements that any educated person—with access to the source but without specialist knowledge—will be able to verify are directly supported by the source." Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:07, 10 April 2017 (UTC)

Draft:Arthur J. Boucot[edit]

Draft:Arthur J. Boucot is good enough for main space, although it needs a lot more about his actually work, especially his later career. It does reveal a lot of deficiencies in Wikipedia paleontology articles. --2601:648:8503:4467:41:BDE2:B17:E095 (talk) 20:33, 13 April 2017 (UTC)

I've moved the article (bypassing the formal process). Yes indeed, wikipedia's coverage of palaeontology is puny and largely unpolished. If you feel inspired to write more biographical articles, it would be nice to cover John Granville ("Jess") Johnson (memorial here) and Jane Gray (last paper noted here). A photo of the Jane Gray research greenhouse for Commons would be nice, if you happen to be in the area. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:12, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
Thanks. I will try to add denser information about his research. Seriously noticed the whole of brachiopod paleontology missing articles on their leading authors while trying to wikilink. Art worked with Jane Gray on some large scale plant evolution synthesis (but I couldn't find a good supporting article online) so I noticed her article was missing, also. I find the bar for female scientists on Wikipedia to be ridiculously high and after a few temper tantrums, I've given up writing their articles unless they have Festschrift honoring them. On the other hand, I just learned that even a Festschrift may not be enough for notability (Ian Carmichael, another geologist who loved plants and had a huge brain that dabbled everywhere). --2600:387:6:807:0:0:0:58 (talk) 13:30, 14 April 2017 (UTC)
PS I write a lot of plant articles and plant virus articles, and you are always very helpful and seem interested in writing an encyclopedia. --2600:387:6:807:0:0:0:58 (talk) 13:33, 14 April 2017 (UTC)
Face-smile.svg Thanks for responding. I haven't done much with biographic articles, but suspect that the authority control that I just added to Art's page may be quite helpful for establishing notability. He already has an article in the German wikipedia, and I've just linked the two together, and because someone had already done the work, that picks up the wikidata entry with all the codes for his publications in various libraries. Wikidata is new enough that it doesn't always work in a sensible way, but I have been able to do a few things of that sort. Let me know if that sort of collaboration could be helpful. (I guess you already know that if you create a signon for yourself and edit with it for a while, that you'll be able to create pages directly in main space. There are people who jump on new pages with big feet, but it is possible once you've established a reputation for yourself to request the WP:Autopatrolled user right, which slows down the flak somewhat.) Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:29, 14 April 2017 (UTC)
Yes, people jump on new pages, but the infighting on Wikipedia is so bad it's ridiculous. I've been writing articles since 2001 as an IP. Me and one other editor (Josh Gr.... something) started most of the higher level plant (in the broadest sense) articles. I recently tried to a sign on, and it was a big mistake. Thanks for your work on the article, it's a shame that the thing Wikipedia could do best, host minor biographies of scientists and others, is the hardest thing to do on Wikipedia. I haven't been back in a while, and it's gotten a lot worse. -- (talk) 02:49, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
A minimal wikidata entry for Jane Gray now exists here. (Unfortunately, the libraries have people with the same name rather mixed up, but there is some information available.) Sminthopsis84 (talk) 11:50, 15 April 2017 (UTC)
I will look at it and see what sources are available when I get a minute. -- (talk) 02:49, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
Feel free to email me (left column "email this user"). Sminthopsis84 (talk) 03:55, 16 April 2017 (UTC)

Coloration evidence for natural selection[edit]

Hi, I've drafted a new article on something that was definitely big between 1859 and 1940! Would be delighted to hear what you think of it, and how it could be improved. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:17, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

Very nice indeed! I think it gets a bit bogged down in detail at the end, and perhaps Aposematism could come before Mimicry? Sminthopsis84 (talk) 10:02, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Many thanks, I've tweaked the wording, moved some detail into a footnote, and added a word or two to show how each thing contributes to the argument. Aposematism is at the end for the reason explained in that paragraph, and because the text there relies on the mimicry text. Chiswick Chap (talk) 12:23, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Yes, very nice, Chiswick Chap. I really enjoyed this article. HalfGig talk 21:16, 25 April 2017 (UTC)


Glad to know that you help new wikipedians for editing. I am a new one. however I worked wiki in regional language. It is earnest request to you to peruse the pages what i have created and enrich make edit as per your kind opinion. How can I get the autopatrolling facilities in Eng wikipedia? Pinakpani (talk) 10:59, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

@Pinakpani: Sorry to be so slow to respond. I will look at your new pages when I can, but I have only intermittent internet access at present, so it might take more than another week before I can offer any useful edits. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 02:48, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

Cornus mas[edit]

Hello, Sminthopsis84 - I was just reading the article on Cornus mas, and I noticed a tag "According to whom?" in the Cornus mas#Garden history section that has been there since April 2016. I wonder if you could answer the question.  – Corinne (talk) 22:59, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

@Corinne: I hope that is okay now, that citing Gerard directly makes it sufficiently clear. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 10:59, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Need a favor[edit]

This article is too technical for me:

if you have time could you look at it and incorporate it into Erythranthe? If possible, the description section could use some beefing up. Hope you are well. Thank you. HalfGig talk 13:10, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

@HalfGig: Good material, they are studying the evolution in extreme depth. I've added a little to each of the two pages, hopefully enough but not too far off the main track. Best wishes, Sminthopsis84 (talk) 05:34, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
Many thanks. Someone was supposed to give me a big input for the description section but he's way overdue so I think I'll tell the GA reviewer to go ahead and take his second look. Hopefully it can make GA. HalfGig talk 11:15, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
It made GA. THANK YOU for the help and YEA! Asa Gray is almost at the top of the GA candidate list for biology articles. It should get a review soon. HalfGig talk 19:53, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
Very nice. Congratulations HalfGig, you have put an enormous amount for work into those pages! Sminthopsis84 (talk) 05:12, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

Alternatives to Darwinism[edit]

My latest article is still a work in progress, but is approaching a reasonable shape; it needs a lead and overview. Would be curious to know what you think of the table in particular, and what is missing from it. Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:42, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

Interesting. The first paragraph of the section "Alternative explanations of change" is nice introductory material for the whole page. I don't think Neutral theory of molecular evolution belongs, especially with the gloss "divergence of lineages with geological time" because "According to Kimura, the theory applies only for evolution at the molecular level, and phenotypic evolution is controlled by natural selection". Another comment is that the lead section of Saltation (biology) is not good, in case you feel like working to improve it. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 05:57, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
Many thanks, will fix. I think we should mention Kimura even if only to say "not phenotypic evolution". Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:28, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
Yes, that looks good. It is deep coverage of the topic. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 23:53, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

Is mutationism any different from saltationism? Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:40, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

I'd say they are close enough to be covered on the same page, and that mutationism is the more specific term, with saltation emphasizing that big shifts ("jerks") have occurred (e.g. the origin of the angiosperms). Saltationism and mutationism say that those events came about by big genetic changes (e.g., De Vries' polyploidy) rather than by gradual divergence of lineages. The coverage would, I think, link closely to allopatric/sympatric speciation. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 11:44, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
OK, well, I wonder how they can be merged. The name saltationism is far older as it was used until 1900 and De Vries. Chiswick Chap (talk) 11:47, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Talking of mergers, why are there articles on Biological determinism (which I tidied up, as we discussed above) and also Genetic determinism? There is some flimsy argument that BD is broader than GD which I've read twice, but it doesn't hold water. Chiswick Chap (talk) 18:57, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Good action that you took there, merging the two. In principle, I'd agree that there could be a distinction, but the mess that was in both places shows the hazard of trying to distinguish them. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 00:00, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
They seem the same topic to me, and Determinism#With nature/nurture controversy agrees: "Biological determinism, sometimes called genetic determinism, is ..." Peter coxhead (talk) 19:37, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Yes, the same, though saltationism came before the genetic basis was known, and I would think that mutationism was not initially expected to have the power to explain the largest saltations, so the two probably existed side-by-side for quite a while (until quite recently, even). It is a good point, though, that merging the two would be difficult. Keeping them apart in the long term could be difficult too. Perhaps iterative changes to try to clarify must be the way to start. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 23:52, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
At best they are hopelessly intertwined. From the start, de Vries thought a single mutation could cause speciation so one could hardly go any bigger really. Both articles go back to Darwin's views: if we're going to go back to 1859 we might as well go the whole hog and cover Lamarck and Geoffroy as well. So a merger it should be. I've started and it doesn't look too bad (far too much historiography, however); would be delighted to be lent a hand! Chiswick Chap (talk) 07:56, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Still wrestling with mutationism - there's a huge Goldschmidtian coatrack. Maybe I'll get the axe from the toolshed. Chiswick Chap (talk) 07:54, 13 May 2017 (UTC)

Technological evolution?[edit]

Do you think the evolution of humans is crossing over from biological evolution to technological evolution of the species?

That is, changing of the nature of man biologically via technology?

What are your thoughts on this? The Transhumanist 16:00, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

@The Transhumanist: I'd say that technology will greatly alter the abilities of some humans, but that it is unlikely to have much effect on the underlying genetic code; some effect, but not a great one or one that could survive a single generation in which technology is lost. Science fiction authors are exploring the possibilities in great detail (one such author whose work you might want to study is Peter Watts (author)). Sminthopsis84 (talk) 07:40, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
Doubt if natural selection (or gravity) is about to disappear any time soon. Bacteria and viruses (both real and cyber) continue to flourish, imposing strong selective pressures. That's if we remain as a species, rather than being taken over by our creations. Chiswick Chap (talk) 07:50, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
Indeed. Among the huge complexity of life, stasis seems likely (or extinction). Sminthopsis84 (talk) 08:41, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
Any titles of his that you prefer? The Transhumanist 07:52, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
Only some have to do with augmented humans, e.g., the Rifters trilogy, such as Starfish. Before reading, be sure to note the quote from a reviewer at the beginning of this page. I actually prefer his short stories on other themes, such as The Island. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 08:41, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
I'm seriously wondering if we've finally overpopulated the planet and that will do us in. HalfGig talk 21:34, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
Indeed. But perhaps unfortunately not finish off the destructive species completely, so that it persists to rebuild the destructive technology. A popular topic for sci-fi is various post-apocalypse situations in which a few humans somehow survive, some of the situations not so much post-nuclear war as post-environmental destruction of other kinds, like the relatively gentle film example WALL-E. Sci-fi is a bit limited by the need to tell a story by having humans in there, but I do admire the way that the genre can explore aspects of moral issues that are difficult to explore in other ways, such as the traditional attitude that it is okay to prevent some people (created humans) from becoming anything more than (short-lived) slaves (Blade Runner). I think that sometimes a novel or inventive setting for exposing a moral issue can make it accessible to some people who would ignore it if it were in a realistic or historical context. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 23:07, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
But it's all an illusion. We all took the blue pill (re The Matrix). HalfGig talk 23:24, 13 May 2017 (UTC)

I noticed you are a beginner-level JavaScript programmer...[edit]

I found you listed at Category:User js-1 (probably because you posted the corresponding userbox on your user page), and thought you might be interested in improving your skills by getting involved with developing user scripts, hobnobbing with other JavaScript programmers, and organizing and improving JavaScript articles and support pages.

We do all of that and more at the JavaScript WikiProject.

Scripts undergoing development, and the state of JavaScript on Wikipedia, are discussed on the talk page.

For an overview of JavaScript coverage on Wikipedia, see Draft:Outline of JavaScript and Index of JavaScript-related articles. For everything on user scripts, see User:The Transhumanist/Outline of scripts.

The WikiProject also organizes every resource it can find about JavaScript out there, such as articles, books, tutorials, etc. See our growing Reference library.

If you would like to join the JavaScript WikiProject, feel free to add your name to the participants list.

Hope to see you there! The Transhumanist 16:00, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

@The Transhumanist: Thank you, that's good to know. It will be an amusement for when I run out of overdue work in other areas. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 07:44, 13 May 2017 (UTC)

You'd enjoy this discussion[edit]

Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Plants#Coreopsis_tinctoria_photo_with_4_stages_of_inflorescence HalfGig talk 03:18, 14 May 2017 (UTC)

Face-grin.svg Sminthopsis84 (talk) 04:00, 14 May 2017 (UTC)


Hello, Sminthopsis84 -- I've just finished copy-editing Apatosaurus. I was surprised that an article would be placed on the main page before it was thoroughly copy-edited. I found errors right in the lead, which I fixed and then continued reading. I wonder if you could look at the last sentence in Apatosaurus#Paleoecology. It's also now the last sentence in the article:

  • Vegetation varied from river-lining forests of tree ferns and ferns (gallery forests), to fern savannas with occasional trees such as the Araucaria-like conifer Brachyphyllum.

I was puzzled by "of tree ferns and ferns". I think this might be confusing to an average reader. I wonder if you could link the terms or briefly clarify the difference between them.  – Corinne (talk) 03:37, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

@Corinne: I think that is done now. See what you think. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:49, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
It reads much better now. Ferns, ferns, and more ferns! :) There certainly were a lot of ferns back then! By the way, (I just thought of something) – did ancient ferns evolve into palm trees? The arrangement of the fronds of both plants is similar.  – Corinne (talk) 23:13, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
@Corinne: Indeed, lots of ferns back then. Palm trees are part of the flowering plant group, which have very different reproductive habits from the ferns, spores in ferns versus seeds in palms, so the similarity in leaf arrangement and stem structure is almost a coincidence, though there is a distant relationship. A similar leaf arrangement also occurs in cycads. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 08:49, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

Henna and tea[edit]

Are the Henna and Tea plants related? I couldn't find any information about this in either article. In the tea article, the only images of a complete tea plant are old drawings. Would it be possible to add a clear photo of a tea plant?  – Corinne (talk) 21:24, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

@Corinne: They are not related, in different families, even different orders, Myrtales and Ericales. I've replaced one of the two similar old drawings with a photo, as you've suggested. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 10:34, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, Sminthopsis84! I had thought they were related because both of them have leaves that stain reddish-brown, and both grow in the same areas. Interesting.  – Corinne (talk) 14:50, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Convergent evolution in a similar environment. One of the most intriguing examples of that is Category:Divaricating plants. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:20, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Ranni Forest Division[edit]

Hello, Sminthopsis84 - I came across the article on the Ranni Forest Division. I noticed that in the section Ranni Forest Division#Index of flora and fauna, there is a list of flora that exist in the Ranni Forest Division. It is rather a long list, but I noticed that none of the species was linked, and I wonder if the species is supposed to be in italics. If you or any talk page stalker has time, perhaps you could improve this list. Best regards,  – Corinne (talk) 16:14, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

That's quite a dump of unsourced material. I've requested citations. The species names should be set in italics, but perhaps it would be a waste of time if the lists get deleted because they are unsourced. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:32, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
I left a note similar to this one at User talk:Apokryltaros#Ranni Forest Division for the animals and Wikipedia:WikiProject Birds#Ranni Forest Division for the birds, and, independently, both saw that the mammals list contained only birds.  – Corinne (talk) 01:28, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
Hmm, that's almost hilarious, or something. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 07:41, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
Yes it is. I changed "Mammals" to "Birds" (which are a subgroup of Reptiles, the list immediately to its left. At least it makes more sense now. HalfGig talk 11:11, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
That's a very cute change. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 09:31, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

Adaptation, Adaptationism[edit]

Continuing my series on the philosophy of evolutionary biology, I note that we have two muddled articles on adaptation, indeed two that attempt both to define it and to describe its philosophy. I'm not sure I can distinguish adaptationism from Darwinism, though Mr D was also Lamarckian... Do you think we need two articles, and how should coverage be structured? Most of the other articles are now much improved though I'm having a long wait for reviewers! Chiswick Chap (talk) 11:19, 28 May 2017 (UTC)

How about two articles, but trimming Adaptation down to population genetics, removing all discussion of evolution? Sminthopsis84 (talk) 10:23, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
Ok, I'll not try to merge them. I'm not sure if adaptation makes sense other than in the light of evolution, specially given its strongly evolutionary nature, but I'll think about it. Thanks for reply, hope all's well with you and yours. Chiswick Chap (talk) 11:03, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
I would much like a better structure for Adaptation. At the moment it's a jumble, and the most conspicuous feature is a rambling section called "Related issues". Why not go the whole hog and call it Miscellaneous ragbag? Do you have some ideas for the broad structure of the thing? Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:42, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
Ooog. That's difficult. A step in the right direction would be to remove the "Function and teleonomy" section. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 10:11, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
My favourite bit, almost! But perhaps it would belong in Adaptationism... Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:12, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I think that would be a better place for it. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:53, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

c:Commons:Featured picture candidates/File:Hosta two-tone 3.jpg[edit]

Hi, could you look on this. We have a doubt whether this is Hosta 'Yellow Splash Rim' or some other Hosta sieboldiana cultivar. Jee 03:18, 5 June 2017 (UTC)

@Jkadavoor: indeed, doubt is appropriate. Different sources online are clearly selling rather different plants under that name. The Hosta registry description seems to fit quite well, such as in that the leaf is about twice as long as wide. I'm sorry, I can't say more. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 08:57, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks! Jee 11:45, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
@Jkadavoor: if I had received a refund every time I bought a plant under a name, scientific or cultivar, that turned out to be wrong, I might have spent about half as much on plants – this includes at least one plant I bought from the RHS. Cultivar names used in many commercial sources should be treated with great suspicion! Peter coxhead (talk) 11:57, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Peter; I understand the difficulties. Jee 12:10, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

Ongoing discussions[edit]

There are discussions ongoing about whether Mallard should discuss the place of that duck in human culture, and whether the domestic duck counts as a mallard; and about how many images should be included in Desert cottontail. You are invited to contribute. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:30, 28 June 2017 (UTC)

Hmm. It will take a lot of dedicated contributors to keep those biology articles from turning into picture books for children with bizarre statements between the pictures. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 03:06, 1 July 2017 (UTC)
Well, they're a lot better than they were. Over at Desert cottontail we had a full-on fluffy-bunny merchant arguing for enhanced fluffiness of 'very rare images' of said fluffballs. Seems to have flounced off (note alliteration) in a huff (note rhyme) when pointed out that there aren't many carrots in the said desert. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:00, 1 July 2017 (UTC)
BTW over at Talk:Bird, the "birds are dinosaurs" team are cheerfully ignoring the evidence, logic, and all else. Plus ca change. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:38, 1 July 2017 (UTC)
What a wonderful demonstration of what a good idea it would be to outlaw readable names for clades (such as Reptiliomorpha) rather than unpronounceable codes. Sorry that I don't think I can do anything helpful there. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 11:09, 4 July 2017 (UTC)

That vs. which[edit]

Would you mind reading my recent comment at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#That vs. which for restrictive clauses? I don't really know what is considered acceptable in Canadian and Australian English – I just assumed both "which" and "that" were acceptable, as they seem to be in British English – so perhaps I shouldn't have written what I did regarding those variants of English without first checking. If I am wrong in what I wrote, I'd be glad if you would correct me there.  – Corinne (talk) 23:25, 29 June 2017 (UTC)

Human rights in Bangladesh[edit]

Hello. Can you help keep an eye on this article? Some editors come and revert important content without explanation.--Fez Cap 12 (talk) 03:21, 5 July 2017 (UTC)

Prescriptive linguistics[edit]

Hey, I just wanted to talk to you about my edit to Epithet. I was wondering what you'd suggest, because I work as a linguist, and prescriptive linguistics isn't really a thing, or at least, is a representation of the field which is grounded in popular culture as "what linguistics is" but is actually only limited to non-linguistics talking about language. I'm always looking for better ways to explain how linguistics is inherently descriptive, so I was wondering if you had any better wording suggestions. Otherwise, I'd like to go back to "prescriptivists", so as to not perpetuate the misunderstanding. RSXS (talk) 20:09, 28 July 2017 (UTC)

@RSXS: (Sorry that I'm not able to contribute here often at present) How about "proponents of linguistic prescription?" It might be unfair, I think, to say that someone who advocates careful word choice doing that, but at least it avoids the term "prescriptivist". Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:18, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
That seems very reasonable! I like that a lot and will make the changes RSXS (talk) 08:54, 5 August 2017 (UTC)

Proposal to rewrite Function (biology) : from a subject expert,but Wikipedia virgin.[edit]

Hi Sminthopsis84 and others watching - I'm a Wikipedia virgin and bamboozled by wikipedia processes, but would like to contribute as a subject specialist (despite the warnings you emphatically give). In fact I am motivated right now by the state of the Function (biology) page, having recently published what may become a landmark paper on the topic (which I know is a paradoxical counter-indicator). Since I don't know how to behave properly or use Wiki procedures, I prefer to show you a draft here and ask for your advice. I see you have been involved in the development of the page already.

Here it is: (unformatted). Please let me know if you are willing to help me edit the page, or wish to take any of this material and do it yourself.

Thanks, Keith. Keith df (talk) 13:41, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

An update on Biological Function for Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

A biological function is something a living system (e.g. an organism, organ or cell) does in the context of a wider system, with a (usually assumed positive) effect on that system. For example, the function of chlorophyll in a plant is to capture the energy of sunlight via photosynthesis,[9] and this contributes to the biological fitness of the plant.

In more formal and general terms: function is an objective account of the contribution made by a system’s component to the ‘capacity’ of the whole system (Cummins, 1975). Function specifically refers to a process which at minimum must be a) causal (a function causes an effect to happen) and b) the effect must be in a higher organisational structure. Most biologists consider it also must be c) selected at the level of the organism. Recognising the nested hierarchical structure of biological systems (molecules in networks; networks in cellular processes; cells in organisms; organisms in ecological communities), Farnsworth et al. (2017) defined biological function as:

“A biological function is a process enacted by a biological system A at emergent level n which influences one or more processes of a system B at level n+1, of which A is a component part.

Biological functions exist at the levels of molecular, cellular, organism and community organisation so function is an important concept in genetics, physiology, animal behaviour and ecology. By tracing functional effects through the nested hierarchy leading from one to the next higher emergent level, a function at the molecular level can be seen as functional at an ecological level. This is made concrete by metagenomic functional analysis (e.g. Huttenhower et al 2012) which reveals the effects of genes having community-level “ecological” function.

In genetics, coding, regulatory (e.g. promotor) and punctuation components of genes are often considered functional, whereas much of the remainder: introns, pseudo-genes etc. are considered “junk DNA” Kellis et al., 2014. By far the majority of base-pairs in eukaryotic DNA appear to be non-functional, though they may have (or previously had) an effect on the species to which they belong. Transposable elements are an important example of this (Bowen and Jordan 2002).

Doolittle et al., (2014) clarified the range of potential meanings of function in molecular biology and genetics. The most justifiable assignment of function to a DNA element, they argued, was where selection at the organism level was demonstrated. This is only a subset of cases where a causal role has been established. Alternatives include a) selection at higher or lower emergent levels, b) neutral (non-selective) processes, which frequently ratchet their way into conserved stability, and c) spandrels (the term used by Gould and Lewontin (1979) for by-products of selection). Doolittle et al. (2014) distinguished the spandrels from “mere effects”, which play no causal role in the system to which they belong: spandrels play an unintended and perhaps irrelevant causal role (e.g. the ‘thumping sound’ of the heart). 

In Ecology

Most ecologists believe the adaptionist view of function does not apply to ecological function because communities of organisms do not evolve (Nunes-Neto et al. 2014). Jax (2005) resolved the use of the word ‘function’ in ecology into four broad meanings: 1) individual-level processes, such as a particular predation event; 2) systemic processes, such as nitrogen uptake; 3) individual ‘roles’ defining ‘functional groups’ of organisms, including their contribution to a higher level of organisation, such as the guild of detritivores, or simply a phenotypic (often life-history) category and 4) effects of the activity of working ecosystems that impinge on human society, leading to ecosystem services (note that only (3) above conforms to the Cummins (1975) definition. A major use of functional concepts in Ecology is identifying the Biodiversity-Ecosystem Function relationship.

Quantifying Biological Function

At first sight, the variety of biological functions (e.g. from an enzyme’s activity to the grooming behaviour of mammals) suggests that no unifying currency would be available to quantify functioning. Farnsworth et al (2017) suggested that if all biological functions are by definition a contribution to a “master function” and if this “master function” is interpreted as the growth of biological material (by reproduction and cell replication), then biomass production could serve as a universal currency for biological functions of all kinds at all levels of biological organisation. At the level of organism, this translates to Darwinian fitness, at the ecological level, to total production rate (which is the usual metric of Biodiversity-Ecosystem Function studies).

In animal behaviour studies

Main article: Tinbergen's four questions

Assuming animal behaviours to be functional, the ethologist Niko Tinbergen proposed four questions, based on Aristotle's Four Causes,[11] that a biologist could ask to help explain a behaviour (though they have been generalised to a wider scope).

  1. Mechanism: What mechanisms cause the animal to behave as it does?
  2. Ontogeny: What developmental mechanisms in the animal's embryology (and its youth, if it learns) created the structures that cause the behaviour?
  3. Function/adaptation: What is the evolutionary function of the behaviour?
  4. Evolution: What is the phylogeny of the behaviour, or in other words, when did it first appear in the evolutionary history of the animal? The questions are interdependent: for example, adaptive function is constrained by embryonic development.[12][13][14][15]
Philosophy of biological function

The philosophy of biological function is part of the philosophy of biology and, more broadly the philosophy of science. Philosophical definitions of biological function divide into those based on etiological and those based on causal role arguments. Karen Neander (2011) identified four branches of philosophical argument: a) Etiological; b) Systemic; c) Propensity; and d) Statistical. The essential insight transforming teleological and normative descriptions into more scientifically objective ones, is the recognition that evolution selects and shapes system components according to their positive contribution to organism fitness. Thus a function of X is identified as a feature of X that confers greater life-time reproductive success (Darwinian fitness) to the organism of which X is a part, than if that organism were without X. This etiological idea is broadly accepted for all but ecological systems because for these, natural selection is not expected (e.g. Wright 1998[1973] quoted in Nunes-Neto et al 2014).

Epistemological approaches and how etiological differs from systemic and organisational (Nunes-Neto et al 2014).


Teleological language is often used by biologists as a shorthand way of describing function, even though its applicability is disputed.[10]

Scientific accounts of phenomena conventionally rule out teleological language because it is considered subjective and anthropocentric. But most (thoughtful and precise) definitions of biological function still imply goal-directedness (purpose) and normative value (goodness as opposed to badness) (Van Hateren 2017). With the obvious exception of human-made artifacts, such teleological connotations seem only to apply to living systems. The question of whether biological functions are merely epistemic (where function is ascribed only by human perception and thought) or ontological (where function denotes autonomous causal efficacy) is central to the validity of their teleological interpretation (Van Hateren 2017). This is a difficult and not completely resolved problem, but several thinkers in the field are coalescing around the idea that constraints closure (Nunes-Neto et al 2014), or causal closure (Farnsworth et al. 2017) is the attribute which gives living organisms uniquely teleolonomic properties. These closure conditions are both stronger special cases of organizational closure, whereby a component serves the organization of a whole to which it belongs and the whole gives rise to the component: this concept of whole-part interdependence (termed the “Kantian whole” by Stuart Kauffman) is ascribed to Emanuel Kant. In this interpretation, function only makes sense as an attribute of a component of a causally (or constraint) closed system and the only known systems with that property are living ones.

It is possible to avoid teleological connotations in biological function by strictly limiting it to an epistemic account of the effects of processes that have been naturally selected for at the organism level via evolution (Doolittle et al., 2014), though Van Hateren 2017 constructed an argument for ontological function (implying telological meaning) from this natural selection requirement. In the mainstream philosophy of biology, evolution is considered a blind process which has no 'goal' for the future. For example, a tree does not grow flowers for any purpose, but does so simply because it has evolved to do so. To say 'a tree grows flowers to attract pollinators' would be incorrect if the 'to' implies purpose. A function describes what something does, not what its 'purpose' is.

Biological Dysfunction

One problem with removing teleological and normative connotations from biological function is that it appears to admit dysfunction into the definition. Neander (1991) suggested natural selection, as the criterion which separates function from dysfunction and others have come to the same conclusion. Mayr (1974) referred to teleomatic processes (directed by ‘natural laws’, hence deterministic and including abiotic processes) as well as teleonomic process (which Mayr defined as “goal-directed” and characteristic of living systems). Farnsworth et al 2017 used the concept of ‘master function’ (the function of the top-level of the system), against which all other functions may be measured: this more quantitative approach allows dysfunction as negative function, the negative value measuring the degree to which a component process counters the master function (which they suggested to be maximising biomass production). This use of the master-function only makes sense in the context of a system for which a ‘goal’ can be envisioned, but the goal is not a teleological one, it is merely a statement of the maximum rate of the process identified as the master function (i.e. it is objective). Any component, or any process, which negatively influences the operation of the master function can be regarded as counter-teleonomic (in the Mayr (1974) sense).

Functional Equivalence and Redundancy

Since a function is a processes, potentially more than one living system can perform it, leading to functional redundancy and the possibility of substitution. This idea is formalised by the concept of functional equivalence class (FEC) (Table 1), which has grown from analysis of biochemical networks. The FEC was defined by Auletta et al., (2008) as a set of biochemical ‘operations’ having effects in common which are relevant to ‘goals’. The FEC consists of all operations (behaviours or processes) having the effect in question and this is context-dependent because an effect always depends on the nature of both the subject and the object. For example, the DNA sequences and corresponding protein structures of alcohol dehydrogenases in vertebrates bear no similarity with those of Drosophila and they work through different chemical reactions, but achieve the same end result of removing hydrogen from alcohol (Doolittle 1994). Functional redundancy is a controversial topic in community ecology related to the biodiversity-ecosystem function question. If functional redundancy does exist within ecosystems, it is usually regarded as an insurance against damage Yachi and Loreau, 1999.


Auletta, G., et al. 2008. Top-down causation by information control: From a philosophical problem to a scientific research programme. - J. R. Soc. Interface 5, 1159–1172.

Bowen, N. and Jordan, I. K. (2002). Transposable elements and the evolution of eukaryotic complexity. Curr. Issues Mol. Biol., 4:65–76.

Cummins, R. 1975. Functional analysis. - J. Philos. 72(20):741–765.

Doolittle W. F. et al. 2014. Distinguishing between "Function" and "Effect" in genome biology. - Genome Biol. Evol. 6: 1234-1237.

Farnsworth, K.D.; Albantakis, L.; Caruso, T. 2017. Unifying concepts of biological function from molecules to ecosystems. - Oikos. doi: 10.1111/oik.04171

Gould S. J. and Lewontin R. C. 1979. The spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian paradigm: a critique of the adaptationist programme. - Proc. R. Soc. B. 205:581–598.

Huttenhower et al. 2012. Structure, function and diversity of the healthy human microbiome. Nature 486:207-214.

Jax, K. 2005. Function and "functioning" in ecology: what does it mean? - Oikos 3:641-648.

Kauffman, S. A. 1986. Autocatalytic sets of proteins. - J. Theor. Biol. 119:1-24.

Kellis M, et al. 2014. Defining functional DNA elements in the human genome. - Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A. 111:6131–6138.

Mayr, E. 1974. Teleological and Teleonomic: A New Analysis. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 14: 91 -117.

Nunes-Neto, N., Moreno, A., & El Hani, C. N. (2014). Function in ecology: An organizational approach. Biology and Philosophy, 29(1), 123–141.

van Hateren, J. H. 2017. A unifying theory of biological function. Biol. Theory 12:112-126 (2017); doi:10.1007/s13752-017-0261-y

Wright L (1973) Functions. Philos Rev 82:139–168.

Yachi, S. and M. Loreau. 1999. Biodiversity and ecosystem productivity in a fluctuating environment: The insurance hypothesis. - Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 96:1463-1468. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Keith df (talkcontribs) 13:31, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

Hi @Keith df: I'm sorry that I will be unable to contribute very much for the next few months, and this is clearly a complex question. I would say quickly that the beginning of your draft is rather slippery, for example "an objective account" is, I think, unnecessarily specific, since objectivity is difficult to establish. Also, "enacted by a biological system A at emergent level n which influences one or more processes of a system B at level n+1, of which A is a component part." would, I'm sure, be difficult for the mythical "average Wikipedia reader" to understand; such concepts as "emergent level" or even "system" are not defined (it seems to me that the two adjectival phrases about levels could be helpfully removed). Editing something so complex to get it to a point where wikipedia editors like it would probably take months, and would generate possibly heated misunderstandings along the way. I would suggest that you experiment with tiny edits to wikipedia for a while, and get a feel for how people respond. Sorry to be out of the loop for much of this year, but I can try to respond occasionally to small direct questions. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:37, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

(talk page stalker)Hello, Keith df! Welcome to Wikipedia. I agree with Sminthopsis84 that it would be a good idea to make small edits to articles for a while just to get a feel for how Wikipedia works. If no one has yet posted a welcome on your talk page, I will, and it will include links to helpful pages where you can read and learn about editing, policies, guidelines, etc. I suggest that you save everything you wrote above to your Sandbox (you'll see it as a tab at the top of your page), which is a kind of worksheet space. You can invite other editors to work with you, or review and comment upon your drafts, etc., before adding something to an article. It is easy to create new section headings in your Sandbox: just put any heading between pairs of two or three equals signs:== Heading here ==. The more equals signs you use, the smaller the font in the heading, so use three or four for sub-sections, one to three for larger headings. (A heading is created for you when you type in a subject to begin a new section on an article talk page or user talk page.) You'll get to know other editors interested in the same topics that you are. One experienced biology editor is Apokryltaros, who might be able to help you. If you have any questions, I'd be glad to try and answer them, or direct you to an editor who can, or to a page where you can find the answer. Don't forget to sign your posts (comments) with four tildes, which look like this: ~~~~. Best regards,  – Corinne (talk) 15:54, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

@Keith df:, In my opinion, I'd recommend condensing the opening statement of "A biological function is something a living system (e.g. an organism, organ or cell) does in the context of a wider system" to "A biological function is a process performed by an organism, or by its component systems."--Mr Fink (talk) 16:10, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

Thanks folks. I was hoping to be able to provide an up to date, accurate and comprehensive entry in Wikipedia. Your responses have reinforced the warnings (e.g. from Sminthopsis84) that Wikipedia is not designed for subject specialists and experts to do this. I therefore think it best for me to leave the well informed material that I have done and let the Wikipedia experienced people work with it as and when they wish. I will keep an eye on my account so I can respond to requests and questions in theoretical biology, ecology, complexity and network theory and related philosophy. The specific phrases commented on above, by the way (thanks for the advice) were quotations, so I cannot change them. Thanks agian. (talk) 11:21, 3 August 2017 (UTC) Keith_df

Okay, we'll see you around, and might solicit your input. It is an important and perhaps interesting point that sometimes quotations from scholarly accounts don't work well in wikipedia. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 11:35, 3 August 2017 (UTC)


Hello, Sminthopsis. I've been doing some work on Pentadiplandra, which I hoped to improve to make it all-round rather than one-issue. User:Zefr however, has deleted a large part of the additions just 19 minutes after I made them, claiming these additions to be unsourced or based on unreliable sources. I think this is not enough time to be able to check if information is well-sourced. Zefr's contributions show he is specialised in removing lots of text in many different articles. Rather than starting an argument with Zefr, I rather ask the opinion of an experienced wikipedian like you. Could you please have a look to see whether you think Zefr is right? Thank you in advance, Dwergenpaartje (talk) 16:22, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

@Dwergenpaartje: I have very rarely known Zefr to be over-zealous; he's usually spot-on in my experience in the application of WP:MEDRS, which you need to review. We are allowed to include information on the bioactive compounds found in plants and on the traditional uses of plants in medicine. However, WP:MEDRS does not allow the inclusion of any information that suggests the efficacy of a constituent of a plant or of a plant-based traditional remedy unless there are reliable secondary sources, normally review articles. I personally think that sometimes this approach goes too far, and we need to avoid censorship, but I've also seen the alternative, namely editors adding "this plant cures cancer" stuff based on a single in vitro study. WP:MEDRS has a strong consensus behind it. Peter coxhead (talk) 16:47, 3 August 2017 (UTC)


I notice that there is a request for a copy-edit at Wikipedia:WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors/Requests, with an accompanying note saying that several sections have been worked on. I recall our discussing this article a little over a year ago, at User talk:Corinne/Archive 21#Bangladesh. I wonder if you would take a look at the article, and perhaps also some of the recent changes, and give me your opinion as to whether the article has become stable enough to make it worthwhile to copy-edit this article again.  – Corinne (talk) 02:15, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

Average Score Per Taxon (deletion)[edit]

Hello Sminthopsis84,

The article i created almost a year agp was now deleted within 2 weeks of me being on vacation... I thought the article was quite precise in adding onto the article Biological Monitoring Article which now has grown quite alot. Could i request an undo for the deletion and fill in the sources that was asked? Evicos (talk) 15:48, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

Hi Evicos, because I am not an administrator, I am unable to see at this point how that article looked before it was deleted, or what the discussion was that resulted in the deletion. Could it be that the coverage at Biological monitoring working party is fairly good now and could substitute for the original? Do you perhaps have a copy of how Average score per taxon looked before the deletion? Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:25, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

The article was unfortunatly put up for speedy deletion, which means it is no longer available in cache. I do however want to try and re-implement it at some point. I can try and rewrite it... Will there be a problem if i recreate a newly deleted page? p.s there was no discussion... Evicos (talk) 11:48, 18 August 2017 (UTC)

I've replied on your talk page. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 12:16, 18 August 2017 (UTC)

Merger discussion for Monotypic taxon and Monospecificity[edit]


Articles that you have been involved in editing—Monotypic taxon and Monospecificity—have been proposed for merging with another article. If you are interested, please participate in the merger discussion. Thank you. Nessie (talk) 16:01, 17 August 2017 (UTC)

Oyashio Current[edit]

Hello, Sminthopsis84 – I came across something interesting in the third paragraph of Oyashio Current. It explains why "despite its present climate being much colder than most of Europe, East Asia has retained 96 percent of Pliocene tree genera, whereas Europe has retained only 27%". I wanted to read more about Pliocene tree genera, so I clicked on the link at Pliocene, and looked in the Pliocene#Paleogeography and Pliocene#Flora sections, but there was nothing about this or the trees. Is there an article where I could find out more about trees that survived in East Asia but not in Europe?  – Corinne (talk) 21:20, 19 August 2017 (UTC) Hi Corinne, those articles are very deficient in citations. I don't think we have any real floristic coverage here, and such information as exists would be on pages about individual tree genera, and not much of that. The reconstruction of the geographic origins of plants is recent science, based on very few fossils, but since the Pliocene is not all that long ago, and the continents have not moved very much since then,I would think that the inference is based on current genus diversity in Europe and Asia. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 13:23, 21 August 2017 (UTC)

Modern synthesis[edit]

Hi Sminthopsis84, I'm busy trying to get Modern synthesis through GAN and have restructured the article accordingly. The basic issue is that the thing was pushed by Huxley and Mayr, rewriting history to suit their narratives, so the story as commonly understood represents their position(s) rather than what had happened; and things haven't grown easier since, with many other interpretations. I've tried to stay clear of historiography by just describing who did what when. Would be grateful if you could take a look and offer any suggestions. I'm not sure if the reviewer is staying around, either... Chiswick Chap (talk) 10:23, 21 August 2017 (UTC)

@Chiswick Chap: I think what you have done is excellent (smiling to myself that you've limited Stebbins to his 1950 book, and not mentioned his vacillations and back-tracking and general confusion in later works after he moved away from the steadying influence of Babcock). Sminthopsis84 (talk) 13:26, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
Mainly through ignorance, I'm afraid ... is there more I should mention in this context? I've added a bit on Gavin de Beer: the more I look at this, the more I find that the history contradicts the party line ... Chiswick Chap (talk) 13:29, 21 August 2017 (UTC)


It's been pointed out that mutationism is wider than saltationism (as well as being later), in that it covers both 1. (saltational) macromutation, and 2. the idea that mutation not natural selection drives evolution. I've accordingly undone the merge of the two articles. Mutationism is certainly a better article than it was, and remains in the GA queue, but I think it needs more work on aspect 2. The "history contradicts the party line" (Huxley, Mayr, Dobzhansky et al) thingy is as true of this as of modern synthesis; the MS team certainly knew how to spin a myth. Thoughts? Hook it out of the queue? Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:05, 23 August 2017 (UTC)

Japanese knot weed[edit]

Hello, Sminthopsis84 – Just now I was reading the article on Japanese knot weed, and I came across a sentence that I think needs clarifying. It is the second sentence in the short second-to-last paragraph in Fallopia japonica#Japan:

  • They are extremely sour; the fibrous outer skin must be peeled, soaked in water for half a day raw or after parboiling, before being cooked.

Because of the way the second half of the sentence is constructed, it sounds like the outer skin must be soaked in water before being cooked. I think it must be only the shoots that must be peeled and soaked. I'm not sure how parboiling fits in. Is it "soaked or parboiled"? Do you feel like working on this?  – Corinne (talk) 16:30, 24 August 2017 (UTC)

Gunflint chert[edit]

Hello, Sminthopsis84 – I was just looking at the latest edits to Gunflint chert and made a few copy-edits. I noticed the phrase "Gunflint flora" toward the end of the article, and I wondered if you had anything that could be added to this regarding the flora.  – Corinne (talk) 14:45, 26 August 2017 (UTC)

Mycoremediation, I removed the redirect[edit]

Hello Sminthopsis84. Mycoremediation was pointing to Bioremediation#Mycoremediation but, as I think the subject is big enough to deserve its own space, I deleted the redirect. As the article was, it made sense to incorporate it into Bioremediation, but I rewrote it all and I think now is decent. I am a new editor on wikipedia, and I read your comment about the redirect after I've done it. I should have ask for an opinion of yours before undoing your work, I am sorry about that, I'm learning. Meanwhile, if you think mycoremediation still doesn't deserve its own page, please let me know in the talk page and I'll revert it all.

All the best, Beleriandcrises (talk) 16:58, 28 September 2017 (UTC)

(talk page stalker) It definitely looks a lot more solid than the previous flaky version. At a glance the sources are a whole lot better too. Good work! Chiswick Chap (talk) 17:23, 28 September 2017 (UTC)

Araucaria araucana[edit]

Hello, Sminthopsis84 – Just wondered if you saw this edit to Araucaria araucana. Doesn't it depend upon what's in the source?  – Corinne (talk)

(talk page stalker) Corinne, yes it should be what is in the source (however, I'm getting a 404 error for the cited source). But the edit removing Brazil was undoing an edit from 23 August that added Brazil). Plantdrew (talk) 16:18, 20 October 2017 (UTC)

Oh. Good sleuthing!  – Corinne (talk) 16:47, 20 October 2017 (UTC)

Here are some userscripts for you to beta test, in case you are interested[edit]

Hi Sminthopsis,

In reply to my post above about JavaScript, you replied:

Thank you, that's good to know. It will be an amusement for when I run out of overdue work in other areas. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 07:44, 13 May 2017 (UTC)

Since then, I've produced some userscripts that actually work! I was wondering if you'd like to tinker around with them, and let me know what you think. You could treat them as an opportunity to learn JS—I've provided extensive notes about the source code on their talk pages that would be useful for this. Or you could beta test one or more of them and let me know if they work. I've only tested them with Firefox. Or you could dive into the source code and help figure out some of the problems.

So far, there is:

  • User:The Transhumanist/OutlineViewAnnotationToggler.js – this one provides a menu item to turn annotations on/off, so you can view lists bare when you want to (without annotations). When done, it will work on (the embedded lists of) all pages, not just outlines. Currently it is limited to outlines only, for development and testing purposes. It supports hotkey activation/deactivation of annotations, but that feature currently lacks an accurate viewport location reset for retaining the location on screen that the user was looking at. The program also needs an indicator that tells the user it is still on. Otherwise, you might wonder why a bare list has annotations in edit mode, when you go in to add some. :) Though it is functional as is. Check it out. After installing it, look at Outline of cell biology, and press ⇧ Shift+Alt+a. And again.
  • User:The Transhumanist/RedlinksRemover.js – strips out entries in outlines that are nothing but a redlink. It removes them right out of the tree structure. But only end nodes (i.e., not parent nodes, which we need to keep). It delinks redlinks that have non-redlink offspring, or that have or are embedded in an annotation. It does not yet recognize entries that lack a bullet (it treats those as embedded).

It is my objective to build a set of scripts that fully automate the process of creating outlines. This end goal is a long way off (AI-complete?). In the meantime, I hope to increase productivity as much as I can. Fifty percent automation would double an editor's productivity. I think I could reach 80% automation (a five-fold increase in productivity) within a couple years.

There's more:

  • User:The Transhumanist/StripSearchInWikicode.js – another script, which strips search results down to a bare list of links, and inserts wikilink formatting for ease of insertion of those links into lists. This is useful for gathering links for outlines. I'd like this script to sort its results. So, if you know how, or know someone who knows how, please let me know. A more immediate problem is that the output is interlaced with CR/LFs. I can't figure out how to get rid of them. Stripping them out in WikEd via regex is a tedious extra step. It would be nice to track them down and remove them with the script.

I look forward to your comments, questions, ideas, and suggestions. The Transhumanist 08:57, 26 October 2017 (UTC)

Azadirachta indica[edit]

Hello, Sminthopsis84 – I was just looking at the latest edits to Azadirachta indica, and something struck me. I realized that the second half of the first word of the species was very close to the Persian/Farsi word for "tree", so I did a little looking and found these sites, first, a listing of entries for "tree" and various types of trees, and second, the page linked at "tree":

tree derakt

If you look at tree in Sanskrit, it looks like "tree" has its roots in Sanskrit, and that "tree" and "derakt" share the same origins. The "t" of "tree" and "d" of "derakt" are variants that appear in different languages, and it's the consonants more than the vowels that indicate the common root: "tr" and "d...r". I just wonder from which language Azadirachta came from.

Another interesting thing is that the common name of this tree is "Neem tree". In Hindi, "neem" apparently means "perfect, complete, imperishable" neem , but in Persian/Farsi, it is one of two words that mean "half": [2]. Maybe it's really two unrelated words; apparently, "neem" in Hindi comes from "Nimba".

Well, I just thought you might find this interesting.  – Corinne (talk) 17:04, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

ArbCom 2017 election voter message[edit]

Scale of justice 2.svgHello, Sminthopsis84. Voting in the 2017 Arbitration Committee elections is now open until 23.59 on Sunday, 10 December. All users who registered an account before Saturday, 28 October 2017, made at least 150 mainspace edits before Wednesday, 1 November 2017 and are not currently blocked are eligible to vote. Users with alternate accounts may only vote once.

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 2017 election, please review the candidates and submit your choices on the voting page. MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 18:42, 3 December 2017 (UTC)

Heddwch ac ewyllys da[edit]

  Claude Monet - The Magpie - Google Art Project.jpg Compliments of the season
Wishing you all the best for 2018 — good health, sufficient wealth, peace and contentment 
 Cheers! ‑ ‑ Gareth Griffith‑Jones The Welsh Buzzard ‑ ‑ 18:21, 24 December 2017 (UTC)

Big Woods[edit]

Hello, Sminthopsis84 – I was just looking at the latest edit to Big Woods, and I thought you might be able to resolve the issue raised by the editor who added the "dubious" tag. See also Talk:Big Woods#"Closed forest" savanna. Also, I think the prose in the Big Woods#Trees and native vegetation section could use some work. For example, in the first paragraph it says the Big Woods once would have covered a strip 100 miles long and 40 miles wide, but it doesn't say where, and in the second paragraph, it says:

  • Native vegetation based on soils information (note the bright green color) from the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture shows the historic extent of oak savannas in the Big Woods region.

I think the phrase "note the bright green color" is not clear. Is that referring to the bright green color of the leaves in the first image, or the narrow pie-wedge in the circle graph?

Also, the "a.d." needs fixing. Well, best wishes and Happy New Year!  – Corinne (talk) 16:30, 31 December 2017 (UTC)

Rhododendron sect. Vireya[edit]

Hello, Sminthopsis84 – I was reading the article on Rhododendrons, and then started reading Rhododendron sect. Vireya. I made a few small copy-edits, but there is a sentence that isn't quite clear to me, and I wondered if you or a tps would take a look at it. It is the first sentence in the section #Subdivision:

  • The section has traditionally been considered to consist of seven subsections based on morphology, although Brown et al., using phylogenetic analysis, found a lack of support for monophyly of these subsections, and rather a series of clades based on geographical distribution:

It is the last part that puzzles me. Brown et al...found

  • a lack of support for monophyly of these subsections

and rather

  • a series of clades based on geographical distribution.

Because it reads: "Brown...found a lack of support...and rather a series of clades", I don't see the reason for the word "rather". I would normally use "rather" in something like this (I'm not saying this has to be the wording):

  • Brown...found not a lack of support but rather a series of clades.

A more mundane example might be:

  • Brown found not a huge crowd but rather just a handful of people.

In other words, "rather" is usually used to indicate a contrast, and here, probably because of the word "and", I don't see a contrast.

Also, does one find clades? I thought botanists and zoologists create, or draw up, clades to illustrate evolutionary relationships. I guess I could understand one botanist finding clades drawn up earlier by other botanists in some dusty old tome in a library, but since it says, "using phylogenetic analysis", it doesn't seem to fit that image.

You know I know very little about botany, so I'll just have to leave this up to you. If I'm wrong, I'd be glad to learn why.

P.S. I have a question. The flowers in the first image in this article look so much like lilies, I was wondering if rhododendrons and lilies were related.  – Corinne (talk) 00:23, 28 January 2018 (UTC)

Happy St. David's Day[edit]

Select Survey Invite[edit]

I'm working on a study of political motivations and how they affect editing. I'd like to ask you to take a survey. The survey should take no more than 1-2 minutes. Your survey responses will be kept private. Our project is documented at

Your survey Link:

I am asking you to participate in this study because you are a frequent editor of pages on Wikipedia that are of political interest. We would like to learn about your experiences in dealing with editors of different political orientations.

Sincere thanks for your help! Porteclefs (talk) 16:50, 19 April 2018 (UTC)