Wikispecies:Village Pump

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Moving vernacular names to Wikidata[edit]

I've asked for a bot to copy vernacular names from {{Vn}} to Wikidata. Once this is complete, I'd like to look at removing them from Wikispecies, and instead having the template fetch the data from Wikidata, automatically (as we do for values in {{Authority control}}). Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 17:54, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

Hmmm - not a good idea. There's an awful lot of dreadful junk in the vernacular names at wikidata - scientific name synonyms misinterpreted as "vernacular" names by the bots, and above all, archaic names dredged up from out-of-copyright texts from 100 years ago or more. I'd say we should stick to authoritative modern sources like IOC for birds, or BSBI for European plants (both English, but similar sources exist for many other languages) - MPF (talk) 18:18, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
These are not insurmountable problems. We need to increase the integration of the two projects, and storing the same things in two places - indeed, different versions of the same things - is neither a sensible nor a sustainable model. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 18:50, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
There's an awful lot of dreadful junk in the vernacular names at Wikispecies. Do the Wikidata folks really want more unsourced garbage shoveled over there? From the recent discussion at Wikidata:Wikidata talk:WikiProject Taxonomy#Populating common names, it would seem that they don't. I don't see any problem with archaic names dredged up from out-of-copyright texts, provided that the text is given as a source. The problem on this end is represented by stuff like @MPF:s recent change at Ribes petraeum of "rock currant" to "Rock Red Currant". ARS-GRIN is listed as a reference in the article, and while they have both "rock currant" and "rock red currant", they don't have "Rock Red Currant". Where did those capital letters come from? Well, ARS-GRIN does have a bad habit of reformatting common names so they don't match the cited source. In this case, I have the source cited by ARS-GRIN, and it is still lower case there. Then at Juniperus virginiana, Wikispecies has "Eastern Juniper", and MPF knows perfectly well that practically nobody calls it by that extremely uncommon name (though one could dig up a citation in a soon to be out-of-copyright text). If it's desirable to call it a juniper, Wikispecies could've gone with BSBI's "Virginian Juniper" (or even with ARS-GRIN's misrepresentation of the BSBI name as "Virginia juniper").
The vernacular names on Wikispecies are no better than those on Wikidata, and often worse. Wikidata has been adding sourced vernacular names from USDA PLANTS database recently. Wikidata and the Wikipedias tend to at least have links to the biodiversity databases that include vernacular names, while these databases are far from the gold-standard for references at Wikispecies. Plantdrew (talk) 20:13, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
The example you cite was a tricky one; the species isn't on BSBI's list, but PFAF are generally fairly reliable, so I used that. "Wikidata has been adding sourced vernacular names from USDA PLANTS database recently" - a lot of those are very inaccurate for European species, compare with BSBI, which is the definitive source for English names for European species. Yes, it's definitely desirable to use accurate vernacular names (calling a juniper a juniper), we should avoid misleading and scientifically inaccurate vernaculars, as they only serve to confuse, or to encourage creationists wanting to obfuscate evolutionary relationships. - MPF (talk) 20:36, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
Yes, it's not good to have both the same stored here and there. As far as I see, if some unacceptable name is shown here from WD, it can be changed immediately when noticed. Only the place of change is different then. Anyway, changes at WD that affect WS can be shown at the WS watch list. Here and then some vernacular names are added or changed in languages I can neither read nor understand. If such additions or changes are made at WD and also shown in the Wikispecies version in these languages, I feel more confident, that not much VN junk will be imported here. In such cases I trust the community of native speakers and anyway cannot check anything. --Franz Xaver (talk) 20:59, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
Just a quick point or two. In England we do tend to capitalise common names particularly when used formally i.e. as a Vernacular Name. USDA and GRIN are definitely not international sources. Great for US plants but relatively poor for other countries. Non-English VNs need to be sourced from countries of origin or language. VNs on WS often get added by non-specialists. VN on WS is just an added bonus for info only and perhaps to help searching, not essential data and therefore we do not usually reference, reserving this section for the information required for nomenclature, taxonomy and classification. This can change in the future, but it would be a tedious to redo older pages and most of us would not bother. Andyboorman (talk) 21:42, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

There's a further comment on this proposal here, but I don't speak German (perhaps that's why I wasn't pinged when User:Succu mentioned me), so can someone who does give a summary, please? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 21:04, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

Why should I ping you in a private conservation? --Succu (talk) 21:20, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

It would be really good to add common names to WD. But preferably from other sources than WS (GRIN, BSBI etc). I think all of them. Maybe on of them should be given a preferred rank if several different names exists. It is no problem at all to have several values with different sources in WD. As here there has been a lot of original research on WD but to add (all) these would definitely be a step in the right direction for both projects. --Averater (talk) 08:37, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

INFO: User:Magnus Manske will soon start importing the vernacular names of Wikispecies to Wikidata. --Succu (talk) 14:53, 11 October 2016 (UTC)

Discussion on Wikidata; it might be best to keep talking there. --Magnus Manske (talk) 08:29, 12 October 2016 (UTC)

Tringa like Charadrius, but more messed[edit]

Tringa says ♀, so:

  • T. glareola
  • T. incana
  • T. melanoleuca
  • T. nebularia
  • T. semipalmata
  • T. solitaria

but ♂?:

Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 12:14, 3 October 2016 (UTC)

In the protologues, the epithets Canutus, Ocrophus, Totanus, and Vanellus are written with upper-case initials. So, these are nouns in apposition as well and do not change their gender. I have not checked the two other cases. --Franz Xaver (talk) 13:41, 3 October 2016 (UTC)
From enwiki: The specific erythropus is from Ancient Greek eruthros, "red", and pous, "foot"; The specific ochropus is from Ancient Greek okhros, "ochre", and pous, "foot"; only fuscus and guttifer left. Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 11:00, 4 October 2016 (UTC)
Yes, the epithets Ochropus and Erythropus very likely are nouns in apposition. According to this paper, the species seems to have been described by Pallas as Scolopax erythropus. As Scolopax is of female gender, and has been since the times of Linnaeus, this is one more indication for being a noun. However, the epithet fuscus should be adjectival and therefore would change its gender. I found two older books in German: [1], [2], where for "Dunkelbrauner Wasserläufer" and "Dunkler Wasserläufer" the names Scolopax fusca, Totanus fuscus, and Limosa fusca are listed. So, this epithet has to be changed to fusca, when combined with Tringa. However, for me the correct nomenclature for this species is not fully clear. There seems to be some other problem, that the epithet fuscus/fusca cannot be used here. Finally, I also could find the protologue of Totanus guttifer by Nordmann (1835). As the epithet guttifer, if used adjectival having the male termination -er and the female termination -era, was combined with the male genus name Totanus, it is not unambiguous, whether this was intended as a noun or as an adjectival epithet. Maybe the first author, who combined it with a genus name of female gender has decided the case. (Not sure about the relevant rules in the zoological code.) --Franz Xaver (talk) 12:31, 4 October 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, @Franz Xaver:. In the end, I understand that fuscus is wrong but fusca less used, and guttifer, who knows!? Anyway, this is driven by use, so I leave the species we have as they are, only to mention fusca (and the others) as a variant. Tomorrow or the next day I shall render my table with what I found. Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 08:11, 5 October 2016 (UTC)

Template:Empty category[edit]

{{Empty category}} is now available for use on categories, such as Category:Candidates for speedy deletion, which are usually, or occasionally, empty. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 12:02, 5 October 2016 (UTC)

Scoloplax as Antilocapra[edit]

I was climbing up the taxons (or cladi) of Scoloplax because I found the same huge length of the non-collapsible box than the one for Antilocapra mentioned before, and I wanted to do it myself. I was surprised that there is no box in the whole branch up to Cordata. And that Reptiliomorpha is mentioned in the tree for Antilocapra. Do we have a new way of showing the upper taxons without boxes and mentioning the parallel branches? Or are we in the middle of some transition into merging cladistics? Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 07:53, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

As far as I see, there is nothing special here. These collapsible boxes are missing at many places, where they should be. It is easy to fix it. --Franz Xaver (talk) 08:58, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

Problem concerning Flow activation on user talk pages[edit]

At the moment it is not possible to activate and deactivate Flow on a user talk page. Activate or deactivate Flow will lead to an empty page, with an error message.

Developers are fixing it. I'll post news when some updates will be available.

Please share that information with other users. Trizek (WMF) (talk) 14:23, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

Main Page changes[edit]

Protections Per this discussion, I have removed cascading protection from Main Page--it can be easily restored if there is a problem. I also think that we should stop making new templates such as Template:Distinguished author 2016-08 and Template:Species-2013-11 and just have Template:Distinguished author and Template:Featured species and then just overwrite them. What does everyone else think? —Justin (koavf)TCM 00:23, 10 October 2016 (UTC)

I guess the reason for this, is to maintain an archive. If, however, if theres no need to keep an archive, I agree with with you. Dan Koehl (talk) 12:58, 10 October 2016 (UTC)
@Dan Koehl: But, of course, someone can just view past versions of the templates if he really wants to see the Main Page as it was. Besides, the current Featured Species is a redirect to one from 2013 anyway. —Justin (koavf)TCM 13:28, 10 October 2016 (UTC)
Sometimes users asked for 'species of previous months', and they can find these pages easily here. The current way to change the page monthly is better than to have the same page for a long time. We had a longer discussion about this about one year ago. If one of us is bored of redirects to earlier pages, he is free to write a new page. I don't see any reason for going back to the old system. --Murma174 (talk) 16:56, 11 October 2016 (UTC)
I agree with Murma174. The current system is sufficient and makes it easy to see an overview of all the different versions. –Tommy Kronkvist (talk), 02:09, 12 October 2016 (UTC).
Sounds fair I will keep it so that if someone wants to edit Template:Languages, he will just have to post to talk. Thanks. —Justin (koavf)TCM 02:32, 12 October 2016 (UTC)

Other Scolopacidae genera genders: Numenius[edit]

After simplifying myself the issue, I reached to the question of whether: is Numenius ♀ or ♂? Numenius americanus, Numenius minutus vs. Numenius arquata? Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 13:00, 11 October 2016 (UTC)

As far as I see, Numenius is male. However, Arquata is a noun in apposition, which is shown by the upper-case initial in the protologue. --Franz Xaver (talk) 14:25, 11 October 2016 (UTC)
So the Numenius arquatus of Avibase is a boutade, kind of a boast. Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 09:50, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
Avibase is mostly using the correct name Numenius arquata, but is simply reporting that American Ornithologists' Union had used Numenius arquatus in 1931 und later had changed. No problem so far. --Franz Xaver (talk) 10:28, 12 October 2016 (UTC)


Hello! Can, please, somebody creat slovak logo of Wikispecies (File:Wikispecies-logo-sk.svg)? Text in slovak is

slobodný adresár biologických druhov

(free - slobodný, directory - adresár, species - biologické druhy - genitiv biologických druhov; see also w:sk:Šablóna:Sesterské projekty). I wanted to creat it, but I haven't got good PC program. Face-sad.svg --MDsmajlik (talk) 16:54, 12 October 2016 (UTC)

I might be able to do a Slovak version in Adobe Illustrator CC 2015, even though Illustrators' support for the SVG format isn't the best. (I haven't got a clue on how to use Inkscape instead, which would be a better choice otherwise.) Does any one know which fonts are used for the official, English version of the logo? –Tommy Kronkvist (talk), 22:10, 12 October 2016 (UTC).

Editing News #3—2016[edit]

17:50, 15 October 2016 (UTC)

Offline Wikispecies[edit]

Hello people,

We're releasing an offline version of Wikispecies via Kiwix following several requests. But apart from "hey, it'd be cool to have it", we would like to put a nicer spin to it to accompany the release. Any idea of the type of audience we should aim at? Biologists in the field? Entomologists? Students? Thanks! Stephane (Kiwix) (talk) 07:59, 19 October 2016 (UTC) 

@Stephane (Kiwix): I'm not 100% certain who a target demographic may be but a suggested use that I would write into the copy is someone in the field looking at/for species and who doesn't have reliable Internet access. I'm not sure how purple your prose is going to be but if you had something like, "Offline Wikispecies is ideal for an amateur explorer in the heart of the Amazon, a professional mycologist traversing the Sahel, a class of students learning in the forest, or anyone else needing offline access to a taxonomic directory. Take it on vacation with you to help identify the flora and fauna." Please understand that I'm only giving a friendly suggestion and in no way dictating how you write up your own release. Thanks for all the good work you do. —Justin (koavf)TCM 15:37, 19 October 2016 (UTC)
@Stephane (Kiwix): In many of the less well explored countries, the latest comprehensive taxonomic literature, which you can take with you on a field trip as an ebook, can be very outdated. For example, botanists doing field work in Congo Republic (Brazzaville), Central African Republic or Chad still might have Flora of Tropical Africa (first volume from 1868) with them. An offline version of wikispecies might help as an additional tool, which can be used to look up recent classification or synonymies of the names found in the outdated flora or to check, if in a certain genus (family) additional taxa have been described since then. Nevertheless, an offline version is only half the fun, as external links would not work. Regards --Franz Xaver (talk) 20:35, 19 October 2016 (UTC) is a pity, that the Kiwix-version can not be edit or expanded at home. Orchi (talk) 10:24, 20 October 2016 (UTC)
From my perspective, as a taxonomist, I would see the target audience for offline being those students and academics who are doing a lot of writing on the run or in places with limited access. The information in Wikispecies is useful for writing, be it grant proposals, reports or journal articles. As it gives the correct names, synonymies and general references for this. People in the field only are more in need of field keys, which help with the identification of species. We are not producing keys. Having a list of names of the species in a given area does not mean you can identify them. It would be useful for those preparing for field work however. This would be because they can get lists of the species expected in their field site and prepare for what they might find. By and large though I think it would be most useful as a tool for writing. Cheers Scott Thomson (Faendalimas) talk 13:01, 20 October 2016 (UTC)