On 19/10/2018 12:32, Luca Martinelli wrote:
Il giorno ven 19 ott 2018 alle ore 01:09 James Heald
<jpm.heald(a)gmail.com> ha scritto:
But the taxo project has become such a walled
garden, answerable only to
itself, that people with comments may need to be quite forceful to get
their message through, if we are to deal eg with some of the
difficulties Cparle describes in the ticket [...]
Me and other admins are unfortunately aware of this and this is
exactly what I was referring to in my previous e-mail. I do agree with
you the situation there is frankly unbearable, and IMHO it will likely
be ended also through "removals" of some users who think they should
be the only one in charge of deciding what's good and what's not. You
might easily understand why this situation deteriorated like this, but
I acknowledge this is no excuse for it to continue.
Re this tricky situation, it might be good that the taxonomy part of
Wikidata avoid the use of "subclass of" altogether. Doesn't this open up
a path for compromise? Wikidata could intentionally "overload" taxons to
also refer to sets of organisms (in some cases). The taxonomic model
would not be affected by this in any way, since it ignores "subclass
of". Some (historic or debated) taxons could be ignored for this
"colloquial" subclass hierarchy, while other merely colloquially defined
classes of animals could be put in relation to proper species. I think
such overloading is acceptable as long as there cannot be confusion
between which statement refers to which facet of the concept. Then no
use of either facet will be impaired by the presence of the "irrelevant"
The only alternative seems to build a "mirror taxonomy" that consists
not of taxon names but of animal classes (and that would include "dog"
somewhere in its hierarchy ). But then we will need a community-wide
decision on which of the two (class of organisms vs. scientific name) is
the subject of actual Wikipedia articles, which might be a difficult
topic to discuss.
Alternatively, if the taxons are mostly considered as "names" (syntax)
rather than classes of individual organism, then it seems we are
actually building a kind of scientific dictionary here that might rather
belong into the lexeme space.
Whatever happens, this problem needs some solution.
 It seems that the strange position of "dog" is mostly due to the
fact that two taxons are associated with it. In general, this seems an
important issue (many common names are not clearly specifying a taxon),
but in the case of dog it seems that the two taxons are synonyms of one
another, i.e., the taxon for dog simply changed names over time.