Andrew Lih wrote:
>Librarian: Don't use Wikipedia as source
>Wednesday, August 25, 2004
>Stagnitta gives two quotes from the Wikipedia site that illustrate the problem.
>>From the home page:
>"Wikipedia is an encyclopedia written collaboratively by its readers.
>The site is a Wiki, meaning that anyone, including you, can also edit
>any article right now by clicking on the edit this page link that
>appears at the top of every Wikipedia article."
Actually, this quote is not taken from the home page, but from
All I can say is if that kind of sloppy journalism is representative of
their work, I'll put our reliability up against theirs anytime.
But Andrew's right, criticism is bound to appear because to the media,
we're a subject to be treated with their own version of NPOV. Usually
that means when the coverage has been too slanted in one direction,
there will be attempts at debunking the misperceptions. This one is
mildly amusing, not worth getting riled up about, and still brings us
[[en:User:Blankfaze]] is writing up a policy proposal which would
formalise actions to be taken against an abusive sysop at
discuss this proposal on the talk page thereof between now and 00:00
August 29 2004 UTC (when voting on the policy is scheduled to begin).
~Grunt (Steven Melenchuk)
> I mean that the Commons should host data that is shared by various
> projects. Storing a single copy of all taxobox and element data (just two
> examples) would be a great use of the Commons.
Even so, a Wikispecies would still be a useful project to *present* that
data to the scientific community (without all the extras that go along with
> Me too! That is why I like the idea of using Wikimedia Commons.
Of course, as of right now there is no Wikimedia Commons. Once Wikimedia
Commons is created, any Wikispecies data could be moved there.
On Wed, 25 Aug 2004 20:43:31 +0100, Pete/Pcb21
> How does having articles of borderline interest make it unusable?
> If I type "George Washington" into Google and end up at the excellent
> Wikipedia article of the same name, Wikipedia has proved very usuable.
> It is completely irrelevant whether a borderline article such as "George
> from Rainbow" is also available *for those who search for it*
In some sense I agree, but what has bothered me lately is the fact
that Googling for "wikipedia foo" likely brings up one of our mirrors
first, and not Wikipedia itself. So when I see a blatant error
magnified "n" times on the many mirrors on the Internet, it sends a
chill up my spine.
Worse, because those sites are mirrors, and don't accept changes, it
makes it easy for readers to walk off and say, "What a crackpot
So increasingly, the dynamic is changing, and in large part it's due
to Google search results. Whether these mirrors are gaming the search
algorithm or whatever, increasingly "Wikipedia content" does not
reside in a true wiki, because the fruits of publishing are being
removed from the mechanisms of fixing errors. I feel the dynamic of
inclusionism/deletionism and the promptness of when things are fixed
must take this into account.
> By supporting Benedikt Mandl's proposal in-house, rather than being
> persnickity and forcing him to go outside for support, we guarantee
> such things as long-term software and content compatibility, etc.
This is by far the best argument you make. But from a technical standpoint,
do we have the resources to give the necessary support? Would we would need
an extra machine to make this happen?
As long as it's kept an unofficial project at first, and the developers
aren't forced to spend too much of their time helping set up the Wikispecies
project, I don't see too much potential harm.
I think there is a growing sentiment that people do not want to fork
Wikipedia to create Wikispecies. This makes a lot of sense. However, there
is something important that is needed for Wikispecies which Wikipedia does
not provide: efficient access of tabular data.
Think of what we would want to be able to do with Wikispecies. Yes, the
simplest of them could be handled by categories, and taxoboxes are a kludgy
solution to some of the data input, but now what if I want a list of all
endangered species in the phylum chordata? There's just no efficient way to
get that information from Wikipedia, even if I have access to the entire
It is possible that Wikipedia could adapt to handle this type of data, but
this is a somewhat fundamental shift in the concept of a wiki. We would
essentially need an open access database, where even the table structure
itself can be modified, complete with a history mechanism which can somehow
allow us to revert poorly thought changes.
There is another benefit to Wikispecies, and it is the same thing we're
seeing with the proposal of Wikicommons. Species classification information
is largely language-neutral. It would be nice if we could somehow have a
single database for all this information, and simply use it on the
language-specific pages. Once again, this could be done within Wikipedia
though, and this change would be somewhat less of a fundamental shift. In
essence, we would simply move the taxoboxes to a common database, in latin,
and translate into the local language on the fly (regnum->kingdom, etc.).
There is a bit of coding involved here, but once Wikicommons is properly set
up a lot of it will already be done.
In the end, I'm opposed to creating a Wikispecies, at least as a Wikimedia
project. I think our efforts are better focussed on creating a system which
can incorporate Wikispecies, Wikipeople, and all the other wikiprojects
together under one roof. I think there are a lot of steps along the way,
and Wikicommons is probably the logical first one.
My name is Carlos Quiles and I am the co-writer of a cultural newspaper,
www.iventia.com, written in extremaduran and a fala (or
'galaico-extremaduran'), both regional languages of Spain, and both with
international recognition (ethnologue.com, proel.org, mercator media,
the wikipedia itself and some universities around the world which have
interest in recording ressources about every possible language).
Me and some other members of the extremaduran APLEx society
(www.aplexextremadura.com) are interested in creating a wikipedia in
both regional languages, to promote the use of them.
The galaico-extremaduran has official recognition in the Autonomous
Community of Extremadura, and is spoken by some 20.000 people.
The extremaduran is recognized neither in the A.C. of Extremadura nor in
the A.C. of Castile and Leon, partly because of its similarity with the
castilian dialect with the same name (see the wikipedia: extremaduran
language, for more information), and partly because it is so endangered
that only the oldest men speak it still. But there is a great advantage
of creating the wikipedia in extremaduran: almost every extremaduran can
understand to a good degree the language, even if they already speak the
castilian dialect, so having probably more than 1.500.000 million people
able (and possibly willing) to write and read it.
One of the better longtime contributors on nl:wikipedia
[[nl:Gebruiker:Roepers]] mentioned today that he is not willing to spend
time anymore on taxoboxes. The time needed to create them takes too long
and he said that somebody else can do it. If this does not happen he
will not mind.
The reasons he gives are:
"* There is no agreement among taxonomists about what is correct. It is
hard to express these descrepancies.
*Creating a taxobox is hard even for people with experience
*They take up much room and they replace text.
*New Taxobox technology continues to be created, the old ones are not
upgraded to the latest version
*Creating a taxobox is dreary work and, who is interested in them anyway."
Copying a taxobox from en: to nl: takes a lot of time. It would be best
to have one taxobox that serves us all.
What is needed to create a truly standard Taxobox?
The Taxobox has to be language independent.
The Taxobox has to be acceptable to multiple wikipedia
The diverse wikipedia have to be willing to work together to create this
At this moment in time people turn there back on ToL things in other
wikipedia because things are not as easy as they can be.
At the same time we cry wolf because valuable resources may end up
My challenge to all wikipedia people interested in biology and the ToL:
make taxoboxes so easy that it is just a matter of picking things up and
dropping them in the appropriate place. Make it usable for great people
like Roepers !!
> I second Mavs concerns about forking, yet including all of the
> Wikispecies contents (as I understand it) into Wikipedia would be
> stretching the rules as well. One possible (but not really beautiful)
> way I could see is to put the source and database stuff into the
> separate Wikispecies, but put the plain text stuff and basic in
> Wikipedia - and of course closely link the two.
I was (and still am) supportive of the WikiSpecies project. You can't
expect to have a Wikipedia article about every species of caddisflies,
or about every ground-dwelling roundworm. As Andy pointed out, these
articles would remain stubs, as mostly no information but the mere
name would be available - plus some scientific stuff that is of no
interest for the general reader. Some of these data might be the
scientific name, its synonymes, the scientist first describing the
species (the taxonomic author).
However, I partially understand mav's concerns. Behaviour,
and stuff like that should remain in Wikipedia (and should not be
duplicated). The WikiSpecies project could have the above-mentioned
data, followed by a link "Read more about this species in English -
German - Polish - Japanese". So it would serve as an interlingual
species directory as well. But it should contain as few duplicate
information as possible.
Mirko Thiessen, aka Baldhur