K P wrote:
On 5/2/07, Bryan Derksen <bryan.derksen(a)shaw.ca>
K P wrote:
If you break down a family into genera, then you
can wind up with
from one of the big families, where you have 5
genera with 100 members
and a couple of thousand genera or categories
with only one member each,
again, you haven't done anything useful.
I expect the way this would be done
according to existing common
practice on Wikipedia would be to create subcategories for those five
genera with lots of members, and then the remaining thousand species
that each belong to their own genera would remain under the root family
category. People don't generally create categories that will only ever
hold one or two articles, there's no point.
That's assuming all of those species even get articles, of course.
Then you've articficially, uniquely and originally to Wikipedia created
groups that don't exist elsewhere.
No? I'm not entirely sure what you're saying here, but if my
interpretation is correct (that it's "original research" to create
subcategories for genera that have lots of members but not those that
have only a few members) then I simply disagree. It's not original
research to note that genera W has a hundred articles on its members
while X, Y and Z have only one each, and create a category structure
that has a subcategory for W but not X, Y and Z.
Is this acceptable, that you group
organisms in ways they aren't already grouped, and when do you do it, and
Wikipedia's category system has all manner of groupings that don't
appear to have been done by other sources, so yes, it seems it's acceptable.
The problem is that these genera are probably already
some level of groups, tribes or other, that aren't necessarily used. So,
what if two of the big genera belong to one group, but they've been given
their own category, and some of the singular genera, belong in various other
groups, but have been grouped together, artificially, and originally, by
Now I'm really not sure what you're saying. If a species is grouped in
multiple different ways by scientists, why not have multiple different
category structures to hold them in? That's done frequently on Wikipedia
as well, for example articles on asteroids are categorized both by
spectral class and by orbital characteristics.
The problem is that categories in taxonomy mean
something, whether Linnaean
or phylogenetic. Nature didn't sort them like Wikipedia wants them, in nice
tidy groups. When you group organisms you are implying that they belong
together for some reason, such as they are evolutionarily closer to each
other than to members of other groups. Any time you use a classification
system based on something else, you can't extrapolate a different type of
classification system into what you are doing. If organisms are categorized
according to taxonomical systems, then Wikipedia editors can't come in and,
because of the convenience of or need for categorization, add a layer of
unrelated groupings to the system.
But Wikipedia's categories were never _intended_ to exactly represent
Linnaean or phylogenetic classifications. They're a way of grouping
_articles_, not animals or rocks or what have you. It's only because in
this case the articles are each about a specific type of animal or rock
that the category structure winds up mirroring the other classification
systems so closely.
In botany we create categories all the time that will
only ever hold one or
two articles simply because of this, we categorize by families into orders,
and some orders have many families, others only one, we classify genera into
families, and some families have 20,000 genera, others only one.
Taxonomical systems group organisms based upon morphological similarities or
upon evolutionary relationships. Nature didn't order evolution by numbers,
only 10 allowed here, 20 there.
So, either we use existing taxonomical systems, and then Wikipedia has to
commit to not altering them (what the librarian suggested so readily), or we
don't use existing taxonomical systems of categorizing organisms and simply
make up our own original system. But what we can't use part taxonomy and
part something we use to accomodate categorization on Wikipedia.
I think what we've done is make up our own system that happens to be
based closely on existing taxonomy, with modifications that make it more
convenient for its function of grouping encyclopedia articles. Why can't
we do this? It's already widely implemented.