Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Tree of Life/Archive 24

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Since ITIS is grossly outdated for all (birds), many (e.g. fishes) or some (e.g. mammals) taxa (and should not be used anymore in favor of BirdLife, FishBase, MSW etc) but fairly or even highly useful for others, an additional parameter "Version of ???" would be most useful (use either the revision date if explicitly given or the publication date of a cited reference). I think I have grokked the syntax enough to add the param, but I am afraid to break it, so perhaps some of the folks who are regularly changing the template can do it.

It might also be more consistent to move the "Integrated Taxonomic Information System" text to the beginning of the output, to be more consistent with the usual citation layout. Dysmorodrepanis (talk) 11:44, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Ideally the output would look like:
Integrated Taxonomic Information System <revision/source year> <taxon> <TSN>. Version of <complete revision/source date>. Retrieved on <retrieval date>.
Basically as in the IUCN Redlist template output layout.
The same might be adopted for the FishBase template. But then again, I rarely if ever edit anything else than genus articles in fish and for these I usually do not use the FishBase template at all because it does not give the info I actually want (currently valid species) and for non-genus articles the overall taxonomic information page linked to by the template is indeed cool. (talk) 11:44, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
For plants, ITIS classifications are often old(ish), but sometimes it has species which aren't covered at and the other places I think to look. I had forgotten about {{ITIS}}; I usually just cite it with {{cite web}}. Kingdon (talk) 14:48, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Whither Oligochaeta?

Now, it is known that the "oligochaetes" are a grade rather than a clade, consisting of (at least 3 I think) lineages with the other three clitellates stuck in between them. So the consequences would be either to chop up the oligochaetes taxonomically, or to synonymize them with Clitellata. Personally I find the latter more charming, though Encyclopedia of Life uses the former. Since this gives us the reference we need, we might as well follow suit. But since there is nobody that can keep us from doing the other (preserving Oligochaeta) except our own consensus - the ICZN has no authority in that matter - if it is sourceable, we'd need to check whether treating Oligochaeta as the alid name for Clitellata has been formally proposed, so we can present both approaches. Dysmorodrepanis (talk) 10:57, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

We should follow the lead of people who write on such things. If this is all new research, we should mention both the traditional classification and the new one, and only take sides where we really need to (like taxoboxes). It is also fine to wait a few years for things to shake out among annelid researchers. Earthworm presents additional issues, due to it being a concept in common usage (not just scientific usage) and perhaps validity as a description of a way of life, whether or not it has a phylogenetic meaning. Kingdon (talk) 14:59, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Copy to Wikispecies?

Has anyone ever actually used the {{Copy to Wikispecies}} template? I became aware of it when the Vampyrops genus stub got tagged for being 'just a list of species'. There are a grand total of two other pages (Oliveridia and Flyriella) so tagged... both incorrectly in my estimation. I doubt we've ever had a page which was set up per Wikispecies standards for a species registry. Transwiki templates in general are useful, but I can't see this one ever being implemented. It just seems to get mis-applied by people who don't understand that Wikispecies is not an 'encyclopedia of life forms'. --CBD 22:58, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Articles that cover a variety of taxa

Many geographical articles refer to a wide variety of organisms, but there is no agreement as to how the species names should be capitalised across taxonomic boundaries. I have posted a proposal at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#Animals, plants, and other organisms to enable some kind of consistency in geography and other articles with similar issues. Please note that as the related essay states, this is not aimed at having individual projects change their policies. Ben MacDui 16:24, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

New WikiProject proposal: Biota of the UK and Ireland

I've proposed a new WikiProject named WikiProject Biota of the UK and Ireland which would encompass all species and conservation efforts within Britain, an extremely interesting area. The project would include vegetation classification, Category:Lists of British animals, Category:Conservation in the United Kingdom, Category:Ecology of the British Isles, Category:Forests and woodlands of the United Kingdom, Category:Fauna of the British Isles and anything else to do with the flora and fauna of Britain. If anyone is interested just leave your name on the proposal page. Cheers, Jack (talk) 17:12, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

Automated creation of alga articles


I'm creating a bot to create short article on algal taxa from the genus level up. Stubs will appear over the next couple of days here; more details are available here, where any comments would be gratefully received.

Thanks, Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 17:52, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Hi Martin,
That's great news! :) I went on an enthusiastic spree roughly a year ago, making articles for most taxa of the Chlorophyta and Charophyta (the green algae) at genus-level and higher, but undoubtedly I missed some and new taxa have been added in the meanwhile. You might also consider developing a bot to improve those earlier articles with a fuller description, images, more links to literature and databases, etc. I did the best I could, but I'm no expert and they were pretty rudimentary. Thanks for your good work, Willow (talk) 19:27, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
PS. I made a few templates and categories to help with the work, which you might consider? I made separate categories for each of the (major) taxonomic levels of algae: Category:Algae taxonomic classes, Category:Algae taxonomic orders, Category:Algae taxonomic families, and [[Category:Algae genera. Secondly, I made two templates for linking to taxonomic references and databases, unimaginatively titled {{Taxonomic references}} and {{Taxonomic links}}. ;) We can modify or specialize them for you, if that'd help! :) Willow (talk) 19:45, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

New template for in-line display of vernacular & scientific names

I have created {{Biota}} for the display of in-line scientific names, with the same draft "species" microformat used by taxoboxes.

So far, it works only for vernacular, binominal, trinominal and genus names (example on template documentation), but I'll add a few other ranks soon ; and more complex processing for Foo bar ssp. boo and other such formats, later.

It allows wiki-linking, and the optional emboldening of vernacular names, and italicises scientific names automatically.

Comments welcome. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 12:33, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

I have some comments to make:
  1. There is no convention or even agreement to use "Common Name (Scientific name)" format for names. The plants people all use "Scientific name (Common Name)" format, for example. Unless you're planning on rolling out functionality in support of both (with no default bias) I would be half-inclined to nuke this as imposing a convention by stealth.
  2. You will need to take the italics off the trinomial, because plants trinomials include a rank that is not italicised. e.g. Banksia sessilis var. cordata. The same problem applies for manuscript names such as Dryandra sp. Cataby (F.Hort 1779); and to infrageneric ranks such as Banksia subg. Spathulatae, if you ever decide to support those ranks. And of course, if you're taking the italics off the trinomial, you will want to take it off the binomial and genus too, for consistency's sake.
  3. What about taxa with no common name?
  4. Have you considered the implications of full names; i.e. with author citations; e.g. "Banksia sessilis (R.Br.) A.R.Mast & K.R.Thiele"?
  5. The current title is uninformative and I think inappropriate. I think this functionality has a much stronger claim to the title "Taxon" than does Template:Taxon, which is currently a recently created, almost unused, external links template.
  6. I have occasionally put more than just the common name within the parentheses; e.g. "... considered it to be closely related to Dryandra armata (Prickly Dryandra, now Banksia armata), from which it differs in having...". I don't think you can be expected to cater for that, but I thought I'd mention it.
  7. By convention, when the genus may be safely inferred from the context, one abbreviates it in species names. For example, in an article on a Banksia species, it is acceptable to write "Its closest relative is B. integrifolia (Coast Banksia)". This doesn't present a problem for your template as far as I can tell; I just wanted to put the thought into your head.
    • Oh, and when the genus is abbreviated, the abbreviation is separated from the specific epithet by a non-breaking space.
Hesperian 13:11, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
On reflection, I think you're trying to put too much functionality into a single template. You would be better off if people could get
B. integrifolia (Coast Banksia)
by typing
{{species|''[[Banksia integrifolia|B. integrifolia]]''}} ({{common name|Coast Banksia}})
That way, people get flexibility in name order, parentheses, etc; and you still get your microformat markup.
(I should clarify that I'm advocating separate templates for each rank, and for the vernacular name. My example should not be taken as passing comment on your automation of italicising, links, bolding, and abbreviation)
Hesperian 13:24, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

←Thank you for your comments. Dealing with them in order:

  1. There is no intention to "impose a convention by stealth" (please [[WP|AGF|assume good faith). I will look to providing a switch, or a second template, in due course.
  2. Such cases are already on the template's documentation's "to-do" list.
  3. Per the template's documentation, the common ("vernacular") name is optional.
  4. Yes; but obviously it's easiest and best to deal with simpler cases first.
  5. As you point out, "taxon" is taken.
  6. That seems too complex for any template to deal with.
  7. Such cases are already on the template's documentation's "to-do" list.

You ask for more complexity; then say it's too complex! Microformats cannot be applied across multiple templates in the manner you describe. Is there anything about the template that you do like?

Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 13:49, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
No, I asked for more complexity, then decided, "on reflection", that what I was asking for would be too much for a single template.
I assume your "microformats cannot be applied across multiple templates" comment refers only to the splitting of scientific and vernacular names, right? There is no reason why you could not roll out a separate template for each rank, right?
Is there anything about the template that you do like? Not particularly. It seems to be adding a hell of a lot of confusing markup for no real benefit other than support of microformats, about which I know very little and so must reserve my judgement. Hesperian 13:59, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
My comment about multiple templates applies to any two properties of a microformat. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 14:19, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
What is the point of this? To have to type female {{biota|vernacular=[[mammal]]s}} make milk seems too much like the daft, long-standing situation where egg is a disamb page, to which I consequently never bother to link (even in FAs) jimfbleak (talk) 14:19, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
Your "have to" is imagined. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 14:34, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
Postsript to point 1 - Wikipedia seems to be using the convention of common-name first, at least in part; at Lady's Slipper we read of "The Pink Lady's Slipper, (Cypripedium acaule)", for example. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 14:30, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
As I've come to see point 1, it depends a great deal on the title of the article. Plant naming convention is to keep most articles at the scientific name, thus we place the species name first and refer to the common name second. I frequently write: "Foobus barus, commonly known as the foo bar..." and have the opportunity to back that up with references right after the commas in a string of common names. We do have exceptions to our scientific name title convention, as you seem to have found one at Lady's Slipper (plus we haven't gotten to all of the articles to make sure they're up to standards). --Rkitko (talk) 22:43, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
There is, AFAI can tell, no usefulness whatsoever to this template. Everything it does, it does so by being much, much longer longer and complex than any code that might reasonably be used directly. Second, the best place to put a microformat is in the taxobox, and it already does so. Third: what exactly is this template supposed to accomplished that cannot be accomplished more efficiently in wikitext or in the Taxobox? I strongly suspect (though I'm unclear on that as I don't sue them in the slightest) having microformats for as many species on a page as are mentioned in the article would be a bad thing, so what is the point? Circeus (talk) 02:42, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

The usefulness of the template, over and above its potential for the simplification of formatting, is that it emits a 'Species' microformat for the name of the organism. There is consensus for and very widespread use of microformats on Wikipedia already, including hCard for people, organisations and venues; hCalendar for events and Geo for coordinates. As you note, the species microformat is already emitted by {{taxobox}}; this new template makes it possible to use the microformat on articles without taxoboxes, or where the content of an article with a taxobox mentions subspecies (as on Peregrine Falcon), prey/predator/pest species, symbiotic species, etc.; and for examples of species on genera and higher-rank pages, etc.; to mark up lists of, say, families like that on Neogastropoda; or simply in prose ("The hospital was shut by an outbreak of Escherichia coli") where taxobox use would be inappropriate or impossible. The only other way to do so in these cases would be by using in-line HTML spans (or other suitable elements) and classes; understandably some editors consider that approach unacceptable.

Taxonomic names are based on, but are not, Latin. When the taxonomic and IETF-langauges communities agree a language code for scientific names (I'm involved in discussion of the issue in both communities), the template will allow that language code to be applied, also.

There is no 1-1 relationship between a microformat and a page; a page on one subject can still have microformats about other subjects. For example, the page on David Beckham may have an hCard about him in his infobox, but also has over 100 microformats for all his team-mates in the relevant "squad" navboxes. Likewise for "species" microformats, which are intended for multiple use on a page; e.g. [1], which, at the time of writing, has 195 (it's updated regularly). The microformats community are looking at a method of indicating the prime microformat for the topic of a page, where it has one, and when a solution is found, it can be implemented here, not lest in Taxoboxes.

Calls for the deletion of this new template are premature. Though ready for use in limited number of cases (chiefly, vernacular, bi- and trinominal names using the Zoological code), it's still under development, and I have undertaken to include requirements and fix issues raised by more taxonomically-knowledgeable editors than. I trust that this reassures yo. but am happy to answer further questions. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 22:45, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

You have not addessed my primary questions in any meaningful way:
  1. What does this do that the microformat already in {{taxobox}} doesn't?
  2. If anything, is there any usefulness in adding extra microformat for every mention of a species in an article?
Circeus (talk) 23:13, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
With respect; I have:
  1. It describes the sub-species, and other species (prey, parasites, etc) also mentioned on the page - see the (since-reverted) use on Peregrine Falcon
  2. This seems to be a new question: The same usefulness as for the first microformat; but for the other organisms mentioned on the page concerned.
Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 23:22, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

TfD nomination of Template:Biota

Template:Biota has been nominated for deletion. You are invited to comment on the discussion at the template's entry on the Templates for Deletion page. Thank you. Hesperian 03:38, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Withdrawn for now, as it has been pointed out to me that Andy is currently not in a position to respond. Hesperian 03:55, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
And he will not be available indefinitely. -- Donald Albury 11:06, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
It's "indef" as in "until this is resolved", not "indef" as in "infinite". I'll hold off until there is some clarity. Hesperian 11:28, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Andy is back; TfD is live. Hesperian 00:32, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia 0.7 articles have been selected for Taxonomic

Wikipedia 0.7 is a collection of English Wikipedia articles due to be released on DVD, and available for free download, later this year. The Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team has made an automated selection of articles for Version 0.7.

We would like to ask you to review the articles selected from this project. These were chosen from the articles with this project's talk page tag, based on the rated importance and quality. If there are any specific articles that should be removed, please let us know at Wikipedia talk:Version 0.7. You can also nominate additional articles for release, following the procedure at Wikipedia:Release Version Nominations.

A list of selected articles with cleanup tags, sorted by project, is available. The list is automatically updated each hour when it is loaded. Please try to fix any urgent problems in the selected articles. A team of copyeditors has agreed to help with copyediting requests, although you should try to fix simple issues on your own if possible.

We would also appreciate your help in identifying the version of each article that you think we should use, to help avoid vandalism or POV issues. These versions can be recorded at this project's subpage of User:SelectionBot/0.7. We are planning to release the selection for the holiday season, so we ask you to select the revisions before October 20. At that time, we will use an automatic process to identify which version of each article to release, if no version has been manually selected. Thanks! For the Wikipedia 1.0 Editorial team, SelectionBot 22:42, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Debate about which taxonomy to follow for reptiles

I see that you've not been informed of this debate. Several of us believe that in order to avoid future conflict between the views of different WikiProjects (indeed, child and parent projects), you should be notified and given the opportunity to have some input on the debate. Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 08:22, 19 September 2008 (UTC)


OK, who can find the highest ranking taxon (phylum?? division?? order/class etc.) currently represented by a stub of less than 150 words. You don't have to expand it, but note it at Wikipedia_talk:Did_you_know#Competition. I am seeing if there are notable stubs around and decided to have some fun. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 08:50, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Do red links and redirects count? If you're including unranked clades, you probably won't get much more basal than Gracilicutes. As for ranked taxa, I'll start the ball rolling with Sphagnopsida. Hesperian 12:23, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
Better yet, Trimerophytophyta. Hesperian 12:25, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
Whoa, not bad at all....Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 12:28, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Fossil range template

I think it is better to remove the dates. They give a false sense of precision (in what I edit, there sure is the odd article where I really can fix them with 2 Ma plusminus, but these critters are usually known by a single bone fragment only ;-) ). If we simply use the base of the Late Jurassic for a start, the error we might make in absence of exact knowledge of the age of the first fossil is hardly noticeable in the diagram. But with numbers given, this can indeed be factually wrong and usually is.

Plus, the numbers are usually redundant as the issue tends to be mentioned in the maintext in more detail. Plus, the taxobox header might contain less text, but certainly not more I think.

If removing the numbers, the epoch names can also be unbolded and made small again. I think that would pretty up the layout very much. Dysmorodrepanis (talk) 01:13, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

See also Gymnosperm where I set the end date to Recent (0) for how weird/ugly this looks. The bar signifying the fossill record is not running to the very end BTW, but we might have to live with this (technically, it ends where the record becomes subfossil and starts to contain organic material, so though the effect is accidental it is arguably not untrue...) Dysmorodrepanis (talk) 01:15, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

New IUCN Red List released

A new IUCN Red List update just came out, and there appears to be some big updates. Consequently, I have created a new IUCN template, {{IUCN2008}}, to replace the heavily used {{IUCN2006}}. It is important to note that there have been changes in the IUCN Red List website's URL structure, and although it currently redirects the old links, I'm strongly recommending that people switch to this new template (as well as update the status on every species they can). To encourage the use of this new template, I have updated Taxobox usage and Conservation status, as well as added links on the old templates.

In creating {{IUCN2008}}, I had a few questions regarding the citation style, given the differences from the citation offered on the IUCN Red List site. I left those questions on the template's talk page. Feedback would be appreciated.

Thank you for your time. - Visionholder (talk) 17:47, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Their new interface currently sucks. Critically for us, the "export" functionality is broken. As soon as it is working, I will be happy to run the 2008 update. Hesperian 01:21, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
Sorry for my ignorance, but what exactly will the 2008 update do? - Visionholder (talk) 03:10, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
I mean to say that I will update Wikipedia to reflect the 2008 changes to the Red List. There are only about 19000 changes, and we don't have articles on all of them, so it should only take a week or so. I said "run the update" because I have already semi-automated the process of updating taxoboxes. Hesperian 04:53, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Monotypic genera articles

It says on the project page "However, for a genus that contains a single species, the genus name should be used since it is included in the binomial. For instance the order Amphionidacea, which has the single species Amphionides reynaudii, is discussed at Amphionides." There seems to be some confusion here since many prefer having the article at the species and having the genus as the redirect. Shyamal (talk) 01:52, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

This is presently under discussion at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (flora)#Monotypic genera. Could we centralise discussion there? I don't think the flora people would mind if you broadened the scope to TOL. Hesperian 04:37, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm fine with discussing it there. I'm not aware of any difference between conventions for plants versus non-plants on this point. Kingdon (talk) 12:40, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

Brain at FAC

A heads up, Brain is at FAC. Would be great to get this one over the line. Needs some work on evolutionary stuff maybe (?). Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 03:10, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Tree of Life articles without images

There are about 1500 articles on organisms that have no image in their taxobox, but that do have a page or category at the Commons. If you want to help out illustrating these articles, you can find a list at Wikipedia:WikiProject Tree of Life/Articles without images/Commons list. -- Eugène van der Pijll (talk) 23:31, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Note that you shouldn't always put a random image from the commons in the taxobox. For example, for our article on Greater Mastiff Bats (genus Mops), my script suggested an image from commons:Mops (warning: contains images of ugly dogs) or commons:Category:Mops (cleaning equipment)... -- Eugène van der Pijll (talk) 22:36, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
I did a few of these. Assuming this was script-created, I suggest checking that the commons pages/cats are non-empty (people create pages and cats for images that are then deleted, but policy is to keep the empty containers if they are valid), alphabetizing, and not opening articles into editing, because it's not uncommon to have the image in the middle of the article, not immediately obvious in editing mode. A bunch of the commons pages have only a distribution map for the species, dunno if that can be auto-detected. Stan (talk) 13:32, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm not using the entire Commons database; I'm only using a list of page names, so I cannot detect empty pages or categories. Working with a complete database is more cumbersome, and detecting empty pages and categories is somewhat difficult. At this moment, I would say that that is more trouble than it's worth. When this list is done, I will do another run on a new database dump; as it will have a far higher concentration of false hits, I will take up your suggestions then.
Detection of distribution maps will be difficult to do.
I liked the edit link, but I can understand why you don't. I've changed the format of the list. Better? -- Eugène van der Pijll (talk) 22:57, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, thanks! 2 of the 8 articles I tweaked already had images, just inline rather than in taxobox, I wouldn't have guessed it was that common. Stan (talk) 12:12, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Distinguish diseases from infectious organisms


I'm working on a proposal to make sure wikipedia tries to keep articles seperate with talking about diseases and the organisms that cause them.

Please take a look User:ZayZayEM/Proposal:Distinguish disease from infectious organisms if you feel this is a topic that should be discussed further.

I think that articles on disease should not be caught up talking about the infectious agent themself. They should focus on the infectious agent really only in terms of the disease itself (ie. epidemiology, and how the discovery of a connection between disease and infectious agent was found). This would prevent medical articles being bogged down with too much taxonomical classification data and general microbial ecology.

At teh same time it will allow more focus in organism articles on ecology, taxonomy and non-medical biology regarding the actual organism itself rather than mashing that together with information that would be mostly very human-centric.--ZayZayEM (talk) 05:29, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Suggestion for species categorisation: do it like the French!

The French system for categorisation is as follows (I used Great Britain as an example though this will usually be a country):

Category:Fauna by continent

>Category:Fauna of Europe
Contains species articles
>Category:Fauna of Great Britain
Contains main articles (Fauna of Great Britain, List of mammals of Great Britain, List of birds of Wales, etc.)
Can also contain Lists of' sub-categories (Lists of insects of Great Britain).
>Category:Endemic fauna of Great Britain
Contains only endemic species

This way you can still navigate by category, when you get to the country you are interested in then you can go to the relevant list. Featured species articles aren't in 'Fauna by country' categories only the continent article. If there are a large number of insect articles for example (like here) then they can be placed in a sub-category.

Species categorisation has been discussed multiple times, and may, like species capitalisation, be an issue that's never resolved. But, I believe this would be one of the best ways to tackle the problems categories cause, while not disposing of them entirely. What does everyone else think, or are you tired of this topic already? Jack (talk) 18:03, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

I don't like it, and I'm tired of this topic. ;-) Hesperian 04:36, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Too funny - as I'm reading this, I'm formulating my response - don't like it - at the same moment as my eye falls on Hesp's reply. :) Guettarda (talk) 05:00, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
So do you think every species should be in country categories instead, including those with wide distributions? Jack (talk) 05:17, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Every lowest-rank taxon should be in every most-specific by-geography category, yes; but higher rank taxa should only be placed in geograph categories when endemic. This means that you can look at a by-geography category, and get a complete list of most-specific taxa, without also getting broader taxa like flowering plant. It also means that a species should not be in a whole lot of country categories if that species contains subspecies, varieties or forms; instead, it should be these lower ranked taxa that are categorised by distribution. I suspect that many of the most widely distributed species have infraspecific taxa which are less widely distributed than the species as a whole, which would go a long way towards solving your problem. Hesperian 04:36, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

Automated creation of algal articles


A while ago I started writing a bot to automatically create stubs on algal taxa. I've now got it just about working. If anyone has any constructive criticism to offer over the content and style of the stubs created so far, which you can view here here, I'd appreciate it if you could leave it here. To avoid duplication, and because I've asked for input from other Wikiprojects, please don't reply on this page.

Thanks, Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 18:09, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Possibly of interest

There is a discussion going on at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (flora) that may eventually have some ramifications for naming of articles about other taxa. You might want to check it out and weigh in. I'd be happy to summarize if anyone were interested, but I can't guarantee my summary would be neutral.--Curtis Clark (talk) 02:52, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

naming issue which may benefit from more eyes....

Talk:Blackbird. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 10:54, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Articles without images (Marking a success and thanks to all TOL members)

It's been nearly a year now since I traversed the mammals without images list.

My discovery was positive: over 19% of the articles listed could be removed from the list, since they had been assigned pictures. By adding my own images, I was able to eliminate an additional 2%. This brought the overall total down from 1844 to 1468 entries.

I am happy to announce that my next mission to add images to plant articles and remove is proving even more successful!

The list of plant articles without images originally contained 3618 entries. I have progressed a little more than halfway through the list so far, so the percentages you are about to see are low. So far, nearly 29% of the entries could be removed since having had pictures added. I have been able to contribute images for approximately 1.5% additional entries, bringing the current entry reduction to more than 30%.

This marks a success for the Tree of Life, that these articles have been maintained as well as they have. For the first time ever, both these lists have had significant falls in counts.

Keep up the good work! I'll keep going through that plants list... Bob the Wikipedian (talkcontribs) 06:33, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

You rock, Bob. Where does this plants list come from? Hesperian 11:00, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Nice work, Bob! Hesperian, I suspect the list he's working on is at Wikipedia:WikiProject Tree of Life/Articles without images/Plants. Bob may not want to look at Category:Plant articles needing photos, which has more than 14,000 entries; it could be discouraging. --Rkitko (talk) 13:01, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Heh - many of those are auto-generated from red list, not the sorts of plants one finds in the backyard. :-) But many botanical gardens propagate the rare, that's the easiest place to find them.... now back to my backlog :-) Stan (talk) 14:46, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the encouragement. Rhitko is right, I am working from that list. I actually thought about looking for such an alternate list as you have just pointed out (with the 14K) this early morning. Perhaps it's time we tag all the articles on the smaller list with the "Plants needing photos" tag. Perhaps that would be a good project for me to pursue once I finish this one. Also, the images I'm contributing have been illustrations dating from the 1700s to 1913, with the occassional government-created photo. Do illustrations count as "photos"? If not, then let me know and I will tag those as well. Bob the Wikipedian (talkcontribs) 15:38, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Traditionally, I've used the category to mean "needing images" - any kind of image. Sometimes editors will tag an article as needing an image and specifically state what kind of image they desire on the talk page (e.g. a well-rounded article with plenty of photos and other images lacks a specific detail shot of the flower and one can't be found freely). If we decide to go that route, we might need to rename the category to be more precise. --Rkitko (talk) 22:26, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
An interesting suggestion. I like the idea. While we're at it, since there appear to be several possible reasons for "needing a photo" (or image), it might be appropriate to use a set of categories, such as:
This system, of course, could be adopted by any and all of the ToL WikiProjects, plants are used only as an example here. The first of these categories expresses priority. The latter three are not as urgent, and, in my opinion, have equal priority. I should be curious to know whether this idea would be welcomed by the other members of ToL. An obvious benefit to this system is that adventurous photographers would be able to find subjects containing illustrations but no photo, and then have a wider variety of subjects to capture, making it more likely that the illustration is eventually replaced with a photo. This also makes it more likely that images appearing in the texts are of the highest quality. Bob the Wikipedian (talkcontribs) 04:41, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
I like the idea of more specific categories; we're having similar issues in WP:BIRD, where we have some 10,000 species articles, many without any photo at all. We also have a few illustrated only by old prints (usually not very accurate) or fuzzy, distant photos. In our case, however, we might want to expand the "Articles needing more images" category to indicate precisely what is needed: Nest, female, juvenile, habitat... whatever! It's unlikely we'll get all the photos we really want/need, but it might help editors know what to look for/contribute! MeegsC | Talk 10:44, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Hmm. I don't think subdividing a "better photos" tag into even more tags will help...if you cover every single topic that could serve as a reason for replacing them then you'd have quite a few tags and also have to add multiple tags to each such article, as most articles needing photos have several things they could use pictures of. I think that the "better images" and "more images" categories would need to be accompanied by tags formatted such that someone could enter the following:
{{Bird-articles-better-images|The photo of the bird in flight is too distant, and the sun behind it makes the bird appear as a silhouette. Also, the image in the anatomy section illustrating the anatomy applies only to a species which is an exception, not a rule. Please provide an illustration which applies to a broader spectrum of the family. Lastly, the illustration of the common species should be replaced with a photo. This species is quite common, so this shouldn't pose much of a problem for photographers and may even exist as a free image already offsite.}}
This allows you to get several points across at once. Someone like myself who goes through lists of articles without images would see this note upon arriving at the talk page, and immediately understand what it is that needs to be done, and quickly decide whether they can help or should leave the situation for someone who can provide the image and proceed to the next article.
Likewise, the "more images" tag could hold allow for a similar argument to be entered directly into the tag, as seen here:
{{Bird-articles-more-images|An illustration (or preferably, photo) displaying the bird's winter plumage would be wonderful.}}
If needed, we could also add an optional argument to tags for the other two proposed category types, "-articles-needing-images" and "-articles-needing photos"
Thoughts? Bob the Wikipedian (talkcontribs) 19:36, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Brilliant! ; ) MeegsC | Talk 19:54, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Now we just need to see if we can get a consensus. If we get five yays and no nays, I'd say we go ahead and implement it. Bob the Wikipedian (talkcontribs) 05:11, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Duplicate articles

A few more that still need to be merged.

Big-Headed Rice Rat Big-headed Rice Rat
Four-eyed Frog Four-eyed frog
California Slender Salamander California slender salamander
Limestone Salamander Limestone salamander
Asiatic Grass Frog Asiatic grass frog
Seychelles Small Day Gecko Seychelles small day gecko
La Digue Day Gecko La Digue day gecko

Cheers, Jack (talk) 15:02, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm now fixing the first one. Ucucha 15:15, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Notability issue

This has come up in the past whether taxon authors become automatically notable just like species. This Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Andy_Lehrer may be of interest. Shyamal (talk) 06:00, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing us to that. It isn't clear whether anyone else recognizes his taxa besides him, which if so would make him a "taxon author" only in a formal (that is, mostly irrelevant) sense. Kingdon (talk) 17:53, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia naming conventions for organisms

Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (flora) is being assaulted for over two months now by two editors, User:Philip Baird Shearer and User:Born2cycle whose intent now seems to be only to disrupt editing. However, their battle is largely about trying to force plant editors to use "the most commonly used name," for plant article titles. While attempting to get the two of them to source precisely where plant editors should find the most commonly used name, I have come to realize that all Wikipedia naming policies for organisms which require the use of common names are destined for failure. It simply cannot be done. All attempts to use the most commonly used name in English for article titles, for all but a few organisms, are ethnocentric, full of original research, and create problems and opportunities for disruption by editors such as PBS and B2c that would not exist at all if Wikipedia simply had a naming convention policy for organisms that required the articles be titled with the scientific name, according to the rules of scientific nomenclature, introduce the most common names in the lead, discuss them early in the article, and create redirects from the common names to the scientific name. --KP Botany (talk) 19:23, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

I suggest this be discussed in full at Wikipedia naming conventions. --KP Botany (talk) 19:30, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Pluralizing common names as article titles (higher than species) when used

In the areas that have elected to use common names in article titles, there are a few instances where the Order/Family/Genus article also uses a common name (for example, Owl for the Order Strigiformes). Such articles usually use the singular of the noun (a few use plurals). However, such articles are not about one species, they are about a group of species collectively known as such-and-such. Therefore, I would propose that it would be proper that said articles use the plural in their title, such as Owls. This would also allow for clarification when a genus and a single species share a common name (African Linsang - species & African_linsang - genus); the genus would be plural and the species would be singular. Thoughts? Rgrds. --Tombstone (talk) 13:58, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree. I find it extremely confusing to distinguishing species from higher taxa by means of capitalization. Although using singular and plural to distinguish them may also be confusing to the casual reader, I believe the confusion will be more limited.
In addition, I find it more encyclopedically correct to use the plural for groups of multiple species. My biological books also use the plural for such groups. Ucucha 14:44, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
I think there's a broader manual of style issue here. Switching article names to plurals (such as "owl" to "owls") is probably something that should be attempted higher up since we'd really be changing the overall guidelines for the encyclopedia. The capitalization trick clearly doesn't do the job since I would guess that there are very few readers who would have a clue about how we're distinguishing "African linsang" from "African Linsang" are those who have edited here and seen the extensive discussions. Additionally, this is a format that's only been adopted among ornithologists, a handful of mammalogists, and perhaps in another group or two. It's hardly appropriate for the whole tree of life. Additionally, creating plural common names is awkward in many cases - another feature that makes it difficult for editors to link and readers to find. Everyone knows that mouse becomes mice, but who knew that the plural of tuatara is tuatara? I personally like the use of plural in taxoboxes for groups and I think most well-written articles tend to use the plural form in the lead (which should also be well written enough to make it clear that the article concerns a group), but I think that (cattle aside) plural article titles is to big of an undertaking. Wouldn't it be awkward if tree stayed where it was, but pine moved to "pines"? And what would we do with monkey and other paraphyletic/sort of taxonomic groups? --Aranae (talk) 15:19, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
I realize some areas this would not be appropriate; I mainly had in mind animals. I wanted to see what the general feeling was here, and then if appropriate maybe take it to more specific WikiProjects. Guidelines relevant to this discussion would be Wikipedia:Naming conventions (fauna) and Wikipedia:Naming conventions (plurals), but both were vague on this specific situation and left it to individual projects so a discussion here would be appropriate as a first step. Since a order/family/genus deals with a collective group, it might be clearer for a casual reader to understand that a bear is not one species, but a group of species, so the article would be plural. If the lede paragraph and the taxobox utilize the plural, then it would follow that the article title should also. Linking to a plural form should not be too awkward with proper redirects (Octopi). I know this would need tweaking in certain areas, and no undertaking is all that huge when you think about it. --Tombstone (talk) 17:28, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree with that it would be preferable, but there is one technical issue that needs to be resolved, and that is that many wikilinks are using the singular. Even many plural wikilinks are standard generated using the singular link as in [[Owl]]s. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 17:44, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
I oppose this proposal. The common name of a kind of animal is used in the singular or plural, depending on the context in which it is used. The base page name should be the singular form. --Una Smith (talk) 17:01, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Oppose, per I haven't seen anywhere else on Wikipedia where we use plurals to refer to a group name in the article heading. Bob the Wikipedian (talkcontribs) 19:09, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Oppose. I don't understand what problem this would solve. The prefer singular nouns rule is pretty well ingrained, and if there is a reason to try to push for an exception for taxa, it would have to be a really good one. Kingdon (talk) 02:44, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Comment. It occurs that it could be a benefit for higher level taxa that combine two discrete groups; for example "ibises and spoonbills" (Threskiornithidae) or "coursers and pranticoles" (Glareolidae). It would also help where a group has two common names and annoying editors object to one or the other being used even if they are essentially the same things (the "but pigeons and doves/lorikeets and lories are not the same thing" whiners) The fact that we can use the family names (cumbersome as they are) means there is no real need to change anything. Sabine's Sunbird talk 04:20, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

MOS question

On my talk page, Kim van der Linde has objected to my bolding the scientific name of a taxon in the first sentence of the article. For example, in Kiang I made the intro "The Kiang (Equus kiang ..."; Kim changed it to "The Kiang (Equus kiang ...". Which of these styles is customary in WP:TOL? --Una Smith (talk) 17:09, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

The reason I objected is that it is custom across all animal articles that I have edited to use only italics for scientific names. I can see the argument that it is actually an alternative name and therefore that it should be bolded, but at the same time, that is more a question to be solved at a higher level than some individual article talk pages. For that reason, I suggested she would try to resolve the issue here. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 17:17, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

The question I posed is what is the underlying policy or guideline? Does it specify bold or not bold? --Una Smith (talk) 17:33, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

For what it's worth, at FAC, where any transgressions from MoS are treated as heresy, I've never had unbolded italics challenged for binomials. I prefer italics only if to minimise the intrusiveness of bolding. jimfbleak (talk) 17:39, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
The bolding is only for names that are alternatives to the article title name, and only the first time they are used. On articles that use the scientific name as the title, of course, bolding is used to call out the corresponding common names. As far as I know, this point of style is not mentioned in any Wikipedia manual of style, apart from Wikipedia:Lead section, which begins like this:

The lead section, lead (sometimes lede), or introduction of a Wikipedia article is...

--Una Smith (talk) 17:55, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
As you have pointed out here in some detail, Una, it does indeed appear that this issue is not covered by a guideline per se. Are you proposing to add one? If so, what are you proposing, so that the rest of us can respond? MeegsC | Talk 19:40, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
I am proposing nothing. Kim van der Linde informed me (1) that a relevant policy and/or guideline exists; (2) that I am not following it; and (3) that I should either follow it or propose changing it. I have now located in Wikipedia:Lead section support for bolding of alternate names in article ledes, as I have been doing. So, I think I am done here. Thank you for your time. --Una Smith (talk) 21:06, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Not so sure, the lead guidelines say not to bold foreign names and gives examples (Chernivtsi Oblast Чернівецька область) scientific names certainly aren't common English names jimfbleak (talk) 20:08, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
I think Una is completely right although I agree that the usage seems to vary. The scientific name is an alternate article title (some editors even think it's the appropriate article title) and bolding in its first usage is used to indicate that. It's really not the same thing as a foreign name, a redirect of which exists simply to aid in finding the article. Note that the scientific name is also bolded in the taxobox. --Aranae (talk) 20:16, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Only bold the scientific name if no common names are listed. If a common name is added, the scientific name should, from then out, never be bolded again. Bob the Wikipedian (talkcontribs) 22:03, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
The only discussion is about bolding the first occurrence in the lead, so the never be bolded again doesn't refer to anything, but seems to be added to the end of a comment about common names. Huh?
Common names and the correct scientific name are bolded as a courtesy to readers who enter the article from a redirect. The alternative is to have the entire article at every page or a statement early on, maybe a hat note, describing why the user was redirect. --KP Botany (talk) 04:33, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
By "from then out", I mean chronologically, not within the same text at any given point in time. Here's an example of what I mean:
Conolophus rosada currently has no widely used common name other than nicknames given to it by the press. The article on C. rosada should begin with "Conolophus rosada is...". If the name "pink iguana" becomes a popular common name for it, it is appropriate to remove the bolding from the scientific name and display the common name in bold, as such: "Pink Iguana (Conolophus rosada) is ...". If it should acquire another common name, such as "rosy iguana", the article should display the following: "Pink Iguana (Conolophus rosada) or Galapagos Rosy Iguana is...". The scientific name, once there is a common name associated with it, should never again be seen in bold on Wikipedia unless someone changes the common standard most of us follow. (Actually, I'm not sure why the artcile hasn't been updated yet...I'm pretty sure these are already common names for it.) Bob the Wikipedian (talkcontribs) 05:07, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Wow, that's hostile to users who happen to have only the scientific name, then get redirected, and have to search for the scientific name, rather than having it courteously bolded as if it's a name in use. Wow! It's so hostile I'm quite surprised. The very day a common name becomes "popular," howsoever that is rated (and I bet that's simply OR), the scientific name is no longer allowed to be used in the article as if it has any meaning different from the other words. Wow! No wonder so many animal editors want support from plant editors in order to be able to edit articles, fauna is anti-science, it seems, from this policy alone. --KP Botany (talk) 07:14, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
KP, I think you need to actually check a few fauna articles to see how we currently do things. The scientific name is always in the article—and always with two or three words of the beginning of the text. Bob's actually referring you to the very loose "guideline" (and yes, I know that it's not an official guideline, and not documented, and all the other things that 27 people are now going to throw at me) that many WP fauna folks use. I think the feeling has always been (at least at WP:BIRD, where I've spent more time, and where this has been discussed) that the italics—which you must admit are very close to the start of the article, coming as they do two or three words into it—are already enough to draw one's eye. So I don't think that's "hostile" to those readers who only know the scientific name. MeegsC | Talk 09:03, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
If the article is about a phylogenetic group, then the scientific name of that group should be bold. By the same reasoning, if the article is about a folk taxon then there is no exactly corresponding scientific name and a scientific name should not even appear in the lead first sentence. --Una Smith (talk) 16:17, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I have to disagree with Bob and MeegsC, here. This is a minor stylistic matter and my preference is for vernacular names and the scientific name bolded. --Rkitko (talk) 16:48, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I am still in complete agreement with Una except for a single point. It's possible that a folk taxon may have scientific names in the lead that are not redirects to the article. Ungulate might have included the terms Perissodactlya and Cetartiodactyla in the first sentence (certainly in the first paragraph), but these terms would not be redirects and bolding would be inappropriate. Alces alces is referred to very quickly in the article elk, but it is not the correct scientific name for this animal. Bolding the scientific name quickly identifies the subject of the article and it makes no sense to make this the one exception to bolding synonyms and redirects. --Aranae (talk) 17:12, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree completely with Aranae; I simply omitted to mention this detail, but it is one key to a current thread on Talk:Tarpan. --Una Smith (talk) 17:44, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Ditto Aranae, ditto Una. --KP Botany (talk) 03:17, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Ok, as this is not official policy or guideline, maybe we should formalize it, by holding a straw poll so that we can get a feel for what people think. Anyone opposes? (talk) 17:00, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

I would support bold for both common and scientific name, per Una's point. Generic articles have both the genus and common name of the genus (if applicable) in bold, as do other ranks, so why not species as well. The scientific name does redirect to the common name (generally) so really it should be in bold. Jack (talk) 17:28, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I tend to bold both (though I didn't when I started). My question is - is this even remotely important? I mean, really? Sabine's Sunbird talk 00:01, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
Ha, I wondered that myself. I don't see much point in continuing to defend my view, although I'll continue to exercise it. Bob the Wikipedian (talkcontribs) 01:19, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it is important, the bold names stand out in a way that the italicized names don't, and they are bolded for that reason. If the other common names are bolded for a reason, then that reason applies to all names, including scientific names. --KP Botany (talk) 03:17, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
Apropos of very little, it is worth remembering that all of these articles have the scientific name emboldened in the taxobox. Hesperian 05:53, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
I do remember that. But in the animal articles, the bolded name above the image in the taxobox is the common name if that is the article title, so, when viewing the page on a standard sized screen, any bolding of the scientific name (which sounds like it is extremely frowned upon even in the taxobox), is below the break in the screen. I work with children, 3rd grade to high school, who sometimes use Wikipedia as a resource (very limited resource), and, no, when they look at organisms, the names they see are the bolded ones, not the italics, not the taxobox. I don't think my limited experience watching a few kids use Wikipedia is proof of anything, but when a style is used to make something obvious and to catch the eye, then it should not be argued that it doesn't matter. If it doesn't matter don't bold any names. But to have editors writing articles about living things and making sure the scientific name of the animal isn't too obvious is discourteous to users and appears to be unscientific on purpose. --KP Botany (talk) 06:58, 5 February 2009 (UTC)