Wikispecies talk:Policy

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As the content is growing, new problems arise. I have for now opened this page to discuss those new issues.

some stuff copied from my talk page

Multiple interpretation of taxonomies[edit]

What is the policy on taxa where different authorities use different circumscriptions? It is too early to move all the asterisked species to Callitropsis, as the work making this change is not yet conclusive and far from accepted by all authors, but it may well be shown by further research to be the best treatment, so does need to be mentioned clearly. I can't think of a better way of showing it, than the page does at the moment. I'd suggest formalising this in the guidelines, as it is very far from the only case of legitimate differences in treatment - there must be thousands of others. - MPF 12:10, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Please comment.

Lycaon 13:09, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Comments/solutions[edit]

  1. ...

Author Abbreviations[edit]

There seems to be a major inconsistency with abbreviations of authors names. What is the policy of Wikispecies? Spaces between initials or no spaces? by Ed Uebel 10:35, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Comments/solutions[edit]

  • IPNI policy is, like Hafellner, not to have spaces, thus: W.R.Buck. I'd guess it would be best to follow suit (and have always done so myself). - MPF 12:10, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
  • We are working from several sources, and there are many sources that have their own standards. IPNI has the most extensive list out there, and they indeed don't use spaces. (Not 100%, sometimes they forgot their rule). However, I added a lot of authorities working from Fungorum and they use always spaces. I think what needs to be done at some point for wikispecies, is that we create our own standard. IPNI only has authorities for botanists, Fungorum specializes in mycologists, and lichenologists. For zoology there are not many good lists I believe. In fact there are many problems to be solved there. (Agassiz & Agassiz is a famous example, where Mr. and Mrs. Agassiz got the same name). Since Wikispecies has the chance to create the biggest list on the net, we will run into problems if we only copy these names. In my opinion we need to come up with our own abbreviations, though if possible following 'common' standards as much as possible. But the only real goal should be that an author name gets linked to the correct page.


Lack of spaces seems weird to me. This is hardly standard practice in the botanical literature. I wouldn't call it "IPNI Policy", since I don't see anything on IPNI that actually recommends this usage.

I will acknowledge that the printed version of Brummit & Powell (which is the original data source for the bulk of the IPNI and Harvard author lists), spaces are not used. I strongly suspect that this is due to limitations in the database used by B&P, rather than a preferred means of citing the display (B&P do not actually mention elision of spaces at all).

The ICBN (46A Note 1.), says, "Brummitt & Powell's Authors of plant names (1992) provides unambiguous standard abbreviations [...], and these abbreviations have been used for author citations throughout the present Code."

In light of this statement, it's important to note that the while the Code follows B&P, spaces are used throughout when using author abbreviations with multiple initials. The Code doesn't mention the space issue, but their practice is clear

Yes, the actual references promoted by the botanical community as author standards don't include spaces, but just about every botanist out there adds them back in when they cite authors.

I doubt that I will convince you guys to change this policy, and if I do much contribution, I suppose I will reluctantly follow it. However, this really appears to stem from a limitation in a late 80's database, and flys in the face of actual botanical convention.AndrewT 23:14, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

To be honset is it really a good idea to use abbreviations at all? Apart for the idea of creating our own list to use here my pass into OR there is the very probable chance of multiple repetitions of abbreviations for different researchers. As an all inclusive database we will have names for botanists, mycologists, lichenologists, mammalogists, herptologists, Ornithologists, virologists, arachnologists, entomologists, cnidariologists, helminthologists, ichthyologists, etc... Now add to this already crowded stage of researchers paleobotanists, paleomycologists, paleomammalogists, paleoherptologists, Ornithologists, etc... IT would be much simpler to cite the full name and avoid any confusion at all. --Kevmin 04:41, 3 March 2008 (UTC)


Just to be clear, author abbreviations are not used in zoology. I haven't come across an animal pages with abbreviated authors. I think it's fine to not use author abbreviations for plants. There's nothing "incorrect" about full names, but author names of plants are usually abbreviated. The major online databases and most of the primary literature have the abbreviated author format. Requiring/recommending the full name on Wikispecies adds another step for editors working on plant articles to deal with; they'd have to go to the IPNI database to translate an abbreviated author into a full name. I'm not sure how often that would get done, so it would probably lead to inconsistent citation of plant authors, some with full names, some abbreviated.
Above is a side issue from my original complaint regarding spacing in the name. J.F.Gmel is abbreviated, but if it were expanded, should it be J.F.Gmelin, J.F. Gmelin or J. F. Gmelin? Or by full name, are you thinking Johann Friedrich Gmelin? That gets around the issues of spaces (I assume nobody is going to advocate JohannFriedrichGmelin), but represents A LOT of additional work for editors tracking down the full first and middle name (presumably this would be done for animal authors as well as plants)
A fundamental question What function is the author citation in the name line expected to serve? Is it supposed to show the way the name normally appears in the literature? Is it expected to be a complete (or as complete as we can make it) citation of the original reference for that name? I assume the intention on Wikispecies is to give the literature form for the authorship, and to provide the complete citation in the references section.
If we're going for the literature form, it opens the issue of what to do about the year for plant pages. In botany, the year is not part of the standard name citation (but it's still useful information). Wikispecies has mostly been following the animal format when date of authorship is given on a plant page.


  1. Stapelianthus arenarius Bosser & Morat
  2. Stapelianthus arenarius Bosser & Morat, 1971
  3. Stapelianthus arenarius Bosser & Morat (1971)
  4. Stapelianthus arenarius Bosser & Morat, Adansonia N.S., 11:340-341. 1971.
  5. Stapelianthus arenarius Jean M. Bosser & P. Morat, Adansonia, new series, 11:340-341. 1971.
1 is the literature form. 2 is uses the typical animal format (and is widely used on Wikispecies. I've got no problem using format 2. However, it's not the literature format, which is what I think Wikispecies may be going for? 4 & 5 are full (and fuller) citations, which I don't think is what we want in the name section? If a year of publication is presented with a botanical name, it usually roughly follows format 4. 3 is a shorthand way for botanists to show the year, but is little used.— The preceding unsigned comment was added by AndrewT (talkcontribs).
Have you seen this?Prashanthns 06:34, 21 February 2009 (UTC)