Any one can create an organism


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What is a defining characteristic? Does it matter that en.Wikipedia editors write and mark as the “best of Wikipedia” articles that are about organisms, but the editors don’t know what a defining characteristic is?

An apple is round and red.

Does it matter that I have not said it is a fruit? What about pome? What about the rose family?

A cherry is round and red.

Does it matter that I have not said it is a fruit? What about drupe? What about the rose family?

A strawberry is a red berry.

Does it matter that I have not said it is a fruit? What about berry? What about the rose family?

A raspberry is a red berry.

Does it matter that I have not said it is a fruit? What about berry? What about the rose family?

Defining characteristics make it clear to you and to others exactly what red fruit you are talking about. Shipwreck island, scurvy: You are allergic to apples. Our source of vitamin C is strawberries. But you can’t eat round and red fruit.

Scurvy is nasty stuff.

The very best of en.Wikipedia is apparently being written and certified by a group of editors who don’t fundamentally understand how to write about what they are writing about.

But an organism is not defined by a random collection of facts. Taxa are distinguished from other taxa when scientists decide that some characteristics uniquely define them as separate from other closely related taxa. Then enough scientists agree and the taxon is distinguished from other taxa. Sometimes the scientists almost agree. These defining characteristics then follow this taxon around everywhere, until any one creates an en.Wikipedia article about the taxon and redefines it as a random collection of facts. And, often, factoids. Then the organism is redefined, courtesy of en.Wikipedia, as some vague assortment of facts and factoids that may or may not distinguish it from other organisms and may or may not gather it with similar organisms.

The very best of en.Wikipedia does include an original and unique method of describing taxa. Any one can and does edit and create a taxon defined by whatever random facts can be gathered together and posted to an article.

i am going to aggregate me some fruit


Why don’t you just shut up? So sayeth all bad articles writers on en.Wikipedia to critics.


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At this point there is, on en.Wikipedia, an editor review in progress for one of its most prolific offenders in the writing of bad science articles. I am not the first editor at en.Wikipedia to see her articles and basically go, WTF? She makes stuff up. She invents organisms. She creates new information to avoid plagiarism. She assigns random sources to statements. She uses sources for morphological descriptions that are older than the most recent taxon revision. She misses major information, like the description of the taxon in articles on the taxon. She cannot take two sources that say different things and understand how to bring them together (a common need in the sciences).

During the editor review, Cwmhiraeth was defended by a now-blocked editor, whose basic defense was to attack me, personally. Personal attacks are not only allowed on en.Wikipedia, they are rather enjoyed, and they can never be dropped. Tenacious, the editors are when the gauntlet has been thrown. Most of Cwmhiraeth’s defenders cannot find much to defend, and they, too, are focused on attacking me. The primary attack against me is how long I have been hounding Cwmhiraeth. I wrote blog posts about bad articles by other en.Wikipedia editors, one editor apologized and made the decision to stay away from science editing, another asked for my input, one plagiarized my blog then rewrote the article in his own words, and another group policed themselves and corrected their own articles. Only Cwmhiraeth has staunchly defended everything she writes and gathered her posse of tit-for-tat DYK and GA racers to also defend the badly written science

Cwmhiraeth is the most prolific contributor to main page articles on en.Wikipedia. She wants prizes for this, but she does not want her articles scrutinized by critics–only praise and prizes are allowed. Her articles get copied by wiki mirrors, and, due to their main page appearances, they eventually replace accurate science Google results–replace them by pushing down accurate and verifiable information to be topped with her made up science. This is bad–Wikipedia should be following its own accuracy rules (WP:Verifiability). But, it’s not; it’s making excuses–other stuff exists, writing good science is hard, it was only there long enough to move to the top of Google search results, it will be corrected. All sorts of excuses, without any desire to create a method whereby scientific information on en.Wikipedia is verifiable.

During the editor review, Cwmhiraeth made many promises that she had discovered her errors. However, also during the editor review, she created more main space bad science articles. Cwmhiraeth uses a sandbox, a space where an editor can write an article and see how it looks before moving it into article space for the general public to access. It’s not really too much to ask that she leave the article in her sandbox, user space as it is, until the crap is removed from it.

But, this did not happen. On April 18th, she created an article, Lebrunia coralligens, with this sentence:

“Sea anemones of this species have a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae, photosynthetic single-celled green algae residing within the tissues.<ref name=Lewis/>”

She then created this DYK Template, in order to get the following hook onto en.Wikipedia’s main page, linking to her article on this species, thereby replacing credible scientific research in Google search results with her article:

“Did You Know … that the tissues of the hidden anemone contain symbiotic green algae?”

In this sentence, green algae is wikilinked, or internally linked, to Zooxanthellae, a common name for endosymbiotic dinoflagellates. Dinoflagellates are not green algae. They have never been green algae. They’re not green, for one thing. Lewis, the source in the article that is cited to this hook in the DYK template, does not say they are green algae.

Three days later, after I criticized it on Wikipediocracy, she changed the template and removed the “green.” This article should never have been in main space with this piece of mixed up science, untied to any source.

Or is it untied to a source?

Let’s go to the Order article (intervening taxa are all stubs).


“Although not plants and therefore incapable of photosynthesis themselves, many sea anemones form an important facultative symbiotic relationship with certain single-celled green algae species that reside in the animals’ gastrodermal cells. These algae may be either zooxanthellae, zoochlorellae or both.

Not if they’re green algae they may not be. But, en.Wikipedians proudly proclaim that Wikipedia is not a reliable source, so no one should be sourcing to this.

What about the corals, other closely related organisms with photosynthetic endosymbionts?


“Many corals, as well as other cnidarian groups such as Aiptasia (a sea anemone) form a symbiotic relationship with a class of algae, zooxanthellae, of the genus Symbiodinium, a dinoflagellate.[15]:24

Well, this seems better, but you know, there’s a bit more about sea anemones and corals. Like, those green sea anemones. But, you’re not going to find accurate information about photosynthetic endosymbionts on en.Wikipedia, some articles will say one thing, others something else entirely.

Cwmhiraeth is also very concerned that editors are purposely picking her worst articles while claiming to be randomly selecting articles to look at. She wrote them all. Enough said on that point.

Let’s look at the ones she wants us to look at and see how far we get before obvious nonsense occurs.

Formica incerta

“Its specific name comes from the Latin incertus meaning “uncertain” and seems particularly apt given the subsequent uncertainty as to the validity of the species and the difficulty in distinguishing this ant from other species living in the same area.[1]

That’s an awkward sentence. Is this what the source says?

“This name was coined by Emery from the Latin adjective incertus meaning uncertain. This seems appropriate to describe Emery’s own and subsequent authors doubts regarding the validity of this species.”

A minor omission, but it creates a jarring sentence. How could it have been aptly named for future uncertainty? Cwmhiraeth often omits odd pieces of information which create nonsense sentences, done in the name of avoiding plagiarism. According to the source, the name was appropriate because of the original authority’s uncertainty about the validity of the species, not because of future uncertainly. Some more time travel on en.Wikipedia? More difficulties, but this is a quickie.

“A worker of Formica incerta is very similar in appearance to Formica pallidefulva but the former….”

Based on a 1948 comparison of two species of Formica, Cwmhiraeth makes it appear that this species is similar to and only distinguished usually from one other species. Why? Is this the only other species in the range? I don’t know. However, the antweb article contains this information, “Metrically, F. incerta is distinguished from the other species in the group by a relatively broad head and short scapes….” This species characteristic is missing from the article. You really should at least know how species are described before you create articles on them–each species in the genus is distinguished within the genus, information missing from the en.Wikipedia article. It is also distinguished from closely related species and species with nearby ranges. For this, Cwmhiraeth picks some species to distinguish, but omits others. This is Original Research in en.WikiSpeak–the sources have already weighted which species need distinguishing.

Taxa are described by comparing them to and differentiating them from other taxa.

Another article that Cwmhiraeth feels passes the muster is the Gastrotrich article. This is another time where Cwmhiraeth failed to describe the taxon, because she does not understand the relevance of this information in the sources she has. I started a Good Article Review on this piece of junk, but an administrator at en.Wikipedia shot me down decisively. With science? No, as he also does not appear to understand how to describe species. But, it turns out this administrator promoted this bad and incomplete article to its GA status and may be another angry Parsnip.

“The article totally ignores the animal’s epicuticle and other defining characteristics. As such, it is not complete. An organism is defined by what distinguishes it from other closely related organisms. To omit this is to fail to define the organism.” I said on the GA Review.

Source? What other “defining characteristics”? What other “closely related organisms”? Again, this is unactionable. J Milburn (talk) 23:02, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

What other defining characteristics? Well, the ones listed in both main sources used for this article, including the mysterious text book. The defining characteristics that make this a taxon with its own description–those other defining characteristics, Randy.

There was another big problem with this article, the Gastrotricha have two orders, one is mostly marine with two known non-marine species. This order was described as entirely marine. Both Cwmhiraeth and J Milburn struggled to find sources that listed the non-marine species.

“A recent source has been found saying that there are two species which are not marine. I have clarified this in the article. Especially considering the fact that those two species have each been observed only once, I don’t think the claim that the Macrodasyida are all marine was as bad as was made out, especially as it was taken from a recent, strong source. J Milburn (talk) 16:03, 15 April 2014 (UTC)”

Maybe it isn’t all that bad. Except that the primary source that Cwmhiraeth used for the article not only has the characteristics of the clade, it also tells Cwmhiraeth:

The phylum is cosmopolitan with about 765 species grouped into two orders: Macrodasyida, with 310 strap-shaped species, all but two of which are marine or estuarine, and Chaetonotida with 455 tenpin shaped species, three-fourth of which are freshwater.

Todaro, M. A. (2014-01-03). “Gastrotricha”. Retrieved 2014-01-23.

Cwmhiraeth especially struggles with this, when two supposedly reputable sources say different things. She simply picks something from one of the sources, and, whether it contradicts other information in the article or not (the entire range of the Red-cheeked salamander is in North Carolina and Tennessee, except it’s not, because it’s in NC, T and Georgia), she just includes it anyhow. She picked one book that said the the gastrotrich order is entirely marine (maybe it says that), and she ignored the other source which said otherwise. Ditto with the salamander; it can’t be only in NC and T, if it’s also in Georgia, so figure out which source is correct. When you write about science, it’s much easier to understand what you are writing when you actually read it.

What other defining characteristics, indeed. The characteristics that define the Gastrotricha–those other defining characteristics.

A Good Article is the Gastrotricha:

  1. Broad in its coverage:
    1. it addresses the main aspects of the topic;[6] and
    2. it stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail (see summary style).

You can’t address the main aspects of the topic, if the topic is a clade, and you don’t define the clade, and can’t define it–because you don’t understand how to define a clade. A clade is defined by its relationship to the clade it belongs to in large part, how it is like other members defines the superclade, how it differs defines it.

Tunicates are chordates. “Chordates are animals possessing a notochord …”

Therefore, tunicates are not animals that may have a notochord. (The edit summary says concealed, and it was concealed upon my request.)

A clade is also defined by differentiating it from other clades in the clade it belongs to. The Gastrotricha are not defined in this manner because neither the GA writer nor the reviewer know how to define a clade, and the article is not complete because in addition to missing the defining characteristics completely it also misses the controversy about its defining characteristics (those defining characteristics, as mentioned in both primary sources used for the article).

This is the saddest thing about all these articles, the en.Wikipedia article turns up in a Google search above an excellent website by the world’s leading authority. The crappy en.Wikipedia article fails to define the clade, but it also misses the wonder, the scientific wonder of these amazing little creatures. What are they!?

A clade is defined by what distinguishes it in its own clade. If you are describing a species, then describe the species, don’t take the definition of the family or order and put it in the species description. And don’t take the defining characteristics of the microbats and say it is a defining characteristic of all bats.

If you haven’t defined the clade the article is about, you haven’t, by definition, written a good article, because you’ve missed the topic.

I still think Wikipedia is a great idea, but they have to competently police themselves, and they are not.

An article on an organism should be simple.

Blah is a phylum of unsegmented worms in the animal kingdom. Like other animals, the least basics. It is different from other phyla majorly by blah, and it is different from closely related phyla by these unique defining characteristics (that’s why it’s a clade). It is divided into three smaller clades based upon morphology and ecology, clade one is mostly this with a few known exceptions, clade two and three have different morphologies from one, but similar to each other, and two has this ecology and three has that.

They were first described in 2013 by a Swede named Jackson. They live in these types of ecosystems in coastal waters of Australia. They are invasive agriculture pests in France. They are fished and used for their fur. Here is a fun fact.

Can you catch my errors in this post? Well, I’m not getting millions of hits a year for puffins with ice cube blocks as feet.


Why don’t you just shut up


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Why don’t you just shut up ….

If you edit en.Wikipedia, and you appear to have subject matter knowledge, and you disagree with someone who appears not to, you will eventually be told this, “Why don’t you just shut up?”

Can a bunch of kids who appear to be functionally illiterate in a bunch of areas gather the world’s knowledge? I think they’re too busy making it up to do much gathering. They are also busily fighting off anyone who might have knowledge and points out their errors.

Stay tuned for what’s queued up in the “made up science” arena for en.Wikipedia’s main page, being brought to you by one of en.Wikipedia’s least competent (it’s not required) editors and an army of supporters of “bad guesses for the main page.”

On accuracy and verifiability, or not


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One of the least understandable things about en.Wikipedia is the low value of its own policies to its editors, in particular the low esteem for verifiability. 

I am not the only editor who can see Cwmhiraeth’s howlers. However, the desired outcome of pointing out her mistakes is not that she or someone correct them, it is that I stop pointing them out.

This is like that nightmare geology article, declared a “Good Article” while containing time travel and imaginary rock formations. There is no reliable source on the planet for this fake science information, but, in spite of being entirely unverifable, the only thing that mattered was its promotion to “Good Article” status must be kept. Correcting the nonsense was not important. The best of Wikipedia is nonsense.

A “Featured Picture” contradicts the article text? It does not matter, because consensus, also known as majority voting, trumps verifiability.



How’s the Good Article geology coming along?


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Let’s see what’s in the line up for Good Articles  in geology, articles which may eventually appear on Wikipedia’s main page.

Glastonbury Tor

“Glastonbury Tor is a hill at Glastonbury in the English county of Somerset, ….

The conical hill of clay and Blue Lias rises from the surrounding Somerset Levels. It was formed when surrounding softer deposits were eroded, leaving the hard cap of sandstone exposed.

Location and landscape


The Tor consists of layers of various Lias Group strata of early Jurassic age, the uppermost of which are the rocks assigned to the Bridport Sand Formation and which overlie strata of the Beacon Limestone Formation and Dyrham Formation.[12] The Bridport Sands have acted as a caprock protecting the lower layers from erosion. The iron-rich waters of Chalice Well, a spring, flow out as an artesian well impregnating the sandstone around it with iron oxides that have reinforced it.[13] Iron-rich but oxygen-poor water in the aquifer carries dissolved iron (II) “ferrous” iron, but as the water surfaces and its oxygen content rises, the oxidized iron (III) “ferric” iron drops out as insoluble “rusty” oxides that bind to the surrounding stone, hardening it.[14]”

A hill of clay and Blue Lias. Good so far, but the next sentence says it is capped by sandstone. Problematically, Blue Lias is a well known limestone and shale formation; but, I’m not all that familiar with European formations, and I can just check the handy wikilinked article on Blue Lias to  confirm there is some sandstone in it.

Blue Lias

“The Blue Lias consists of a sequence of limestone and shale layers, laid down in latest Triassic and early Jurassic times, between 195 and 200 million years ago. The Blue Lias is famous for its fossils, especially ammonites.”

Inconclusive, as we’ve seen how well Wikipedia does geology–often not well at all. Two geology articles contradicting each other on Wikipedia are nothing new. The Lias Group is rather large, there must be some sandstone in it. Clicking on that link, we learn that the Blue Lias is under- and overlain by shales.

We opened the article with the hill being from some uncontained and unknown clays, and the Blue Lias Formation, and then, as we go into the article, we’ve expanded, greatly, the range of the stratigraphy in the hill to the Lias Group. We learn that the uppermost Lias Group formation is the Bridport Sand Formation. (By the way, the Wikipedia article on the Lias Group also points out that it is not Early Jurassic, but is Late Triassic to Early Jurassic.) The Lias Group article does not mention the Bridport Sand Formation. the Beacon Limestone Formation or the Dyrham Formation. I will look at the source, [12].

“Somerset’s famous landmark, Glastonbury Tor, is made up of Bridport Sand Formation on Beacon Limestone Formation on Dyrham Formation; the latter also forming Wearyall OR/12/032; Final 1.1 3 Hill west of the Tor.”

This is the description of the formations and geology within the Wessex Basin, where Somerset is, geologically. And, let’s look at the geology of the Wessex Basin from the source.

Wessex Basin and Bristol Channel Basin

“The entire Lias succession is well exposed on the Dorset coast between Lyme Regis and Burton Bradstock (Callomon and Cope, 1995; Hesselbo and Jenkyns, 1995). As now classified (Cox et al., 1999) it comprises:

Bridport Sand Formation

Beacon Limestone Formation

Dyrham Formation

Charmouth Mudstone Formation

Blue Lias Formation”

Is the hill Blue Lias Formation, or is it upper Lias Formation, or is it some made up Wikipedia-can’t-read-the-geology formation? And where’s the clay?

What is a tor, by the way? 

According to the geological article on Wikipedia on tors, a “tor is a large, free-standing residual mass (rock outcrop) that rises abruptly from the surrounding smooth and gentle slopes of a rounded hill summit or ridge crest.” That does sound about right.

According to this article on the Glastonbury Tor, “tor is an English word meaning a high rock or a hill, deriving from the Old English torr.[note 1][7]”

While the latter may technically be correct, this article does wikilink to the geological article on tor; so, again, we have contradictory meanings. The residual nature of a tor, found in the geological definition on Wikipedia is important; it gives some small group of readers information to read further and encounter the word again and place an object in its geological context; it gives another group of readers, those with backgrounds in geology, an instant visualization of the object. It’s also a fun word.

What gives Wikipedia? What is a Good Article, anyway, and how can you come up with them, if your editors can’t read basic geological articles and won’t read other Wikipedia articles they link to?



Is there any end to the bat poop? For my friend, Cwmhiraeth


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A new contest on Wikipedia! We’ve all seen the glories brought to web science by this year’s WikiCup winner, User:Cwmhiraeth, who equates my spelling her name incorrectly with her having 1000s of daily readers of Wikipedia encounter her made up science. I think the equivalence is lame. Other editors have posted on her talk page, pointing out her problems with biology, and another Wikipedia editor also posted critical of Cwmhiraeth’s efforts in Featured Articles and Good Articles, and rightly so. Her efforts in these areas reach far more readers, and the more people you expose to made-up science, the bigger an offender en.Wikipedia is.

“Dear Cwmhiraeth, as a fan of your contributions (actually creating new articles) on lots of otherwise ignored species, I was really disappointed with your GA and FA efforts. Now you are welcome back to creating new articles and bringing a great number of species into light again. Best wishes —Hanberke (talk) 06:37, 14 November 2013 (UTC)”

This user should also look more closely at Cwmhiraeth’s new article efforts, which clearly show her lack of understanding of basic biology.

Let’s first look at how this user is contributing to bettering en.Wikipedia by writing stubs; later on we’ll see if there is anyone else more helpful or clueless.

Wikipedia has a responsibility to reel in these users who are creating articles that contain made up science and these editors who are approving the made up science and putting it on the main page where it is copied extensively by wiki mirrors.

Brought to you by Wikipedia Stub Contest:

Little golden-mantled flying fox

“The little golden-mantled flying fox (Pteropus pumilus) is a species of megabat in the Pteropodidae family.”

Okay, the Pteropodidae family is a family of bats that contains some megabat species. Simple enough? No. “Megabat” is the common name for the Pteropodidae family, and nothing in this opening sentence indicates the least understanding of biology, common names, bats, mammals, anything. Was this already there due to the article being created by a badly programmed bot or did someone else add it? Doesn’t matter; Cwmhiraeth is credited with expanding the article and should have the least knowledge of bats to correct this.

Grade: F.

Adansonia suarezensis

T he [sic] Suarez baobab, (Adansonia suarezensis), is a species of baobab tree in the genus Adansonia. It is an endangered species and is endemic to Madagascar.

Again, this tree is a species of baobab in the baobob genus? Oh well, at least it’s not wikilinked to the article and a redirect to the article.

Adansonia suarezensis


“This bat is believed to be the main pollinator of the flowers of these trees.[3]”

Does this agree with the source?

No, of course not.

“Baum (1995) proposed that bats were the only pollinators of A. suarezensis, but both his study and ours were short and although we recorded no lemur visits to this baobab species, lemur pollination … cannot be ruled out…. (the flowers) are both suited to pollination by bats and lemurs…. … it is possible that the relative contribution made by lemurs and bats will vary over a small spatial scale. [More research is needed.]

Grade for falsifying the science? F.

Madagascan fruit bat

“The Madagascan fruit bat (Eidolon dupreanum) is a species of megabat in the Pteropodidae family.”

Same bat poop channel. Grade? F.

Isalo National Park

“Isalo National Park is a National Park in the Ihorombe Region of Madagascar. The park is known for its wide variety of terrain, includingsandstone formations, deep canyons, palm-lined oases, and grassland. The closest town is Ranohira, and the closest cities are Toliara and Ihosy.”

This has one of my favorite parts of Wikipedia park articles, a species count.

Flora and fauna

“A total of 340 faunal species are known to inhabit the area, including 82 species of birds, 33 species of reptiles, 15 species of frogs and 14 species of mammals.[2]”

I want to know what type the missing species are, amphibians? Insects? What numbers do they use in the cited source? Well, it mentions some numbers, but not the same ones.

La faune

“Les animaux de l’Isalo sont typiques du climat, de la végétation et de la géomorphologie du parc. Ce sont, pour une très forte majorité, des espèces endémiques. 77 espèces d’oiseaux vivent à Isalo dont le merle de Benson ou Pseudocosyphus bensoni, une espèce endémique de Madagascar qui est très protégée. On y trouve aussi 14 espèces de lémuriens diurnes et nocturnes dont 8 introduites et 7 endémiques de Madagascar. Reptiles, amphibiens, carnivores, insectivores et rongeurs complètent la liste.”

It’s number count isn’t much better, but, it does not include the information cited to it as a source.

Grade? F.

Stop plagiarizing, stop making up science, stop having contests that encourage it.

And, I hope I misspelled someone’s name here.

Same bat poop, on the en.Wiki bat/bot channel


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ImageInteresting enough, you don’t have to be human to create bad science on en.Wikipedia. Bots are also used to create the garbage. And, like most of en.Wikipedia, once the bad science is created, it is mirrored all over cyberspace and ignored by editors whose goal is not writing an encyclopedia but exchanging accolades with each other. After the article is badly written, and copied into cyberspace, it is simply ignored. Forever. By Wikipedia editors. No, en.Wikipedia is not correcting itself. The bad science editors I write about, like User:Cwmhiraeth, read my blog, and whine that I posted about their errors, but they don’t correct the errors on en.Wikipedia; they go on continuing to create the same errors, over and over again.

My interest in bots came about after watching a number of ridiculously bad edits by an en.Wikipedia editor, User:Smith609, who brags about being a PhD student. The user is now a post-doc, and he makes no secret of his real life identity; he is Martin Smith, a post-doc at Cambridge. He even edits articles to add citations to his own pre-publication literature. However, in spite of being recently published in a prestigious publication, he can’t seem to write basic English. Here are some of his awesome contributions to en.Wikipedia”


“The Heteractinids are a grade of sponges that are paraphyletic with respect to Hexactinellida.[1] …  Nevertheless, they actually represent a polyphyletic grade, from which the hexactinellids arose.[1]”

But the source says, “… and suggest that the heteractinids were paraphyletic with respect to the Hexactinellida.”

Apparently he obtained his PhD and is a post-doc at universities that don’t require you write in complete sentences or use English. Did he write a dissertation and journal articles like this? 


“A genus of lobopodian known only from its biomineralized dorsal plates, which somewhat resemble those of Microdictyon.[1]”


“A genus of lobopodian known only from its biomineralized dorsal plates, which somewhat resemble those of Microdictyon.[1]”


“A family of mites; nymphs retain their moulted exuviae until adulthood.[1]”


“A rare unarmoured lobopodian from the Chengjiang biota, with prickly legs, a pair of ‘antennae’, and an onychophoran-like body outline.[2]”

Smith609 got a little miffed at being asked to use his educated native tongue while writing paleontology articles. I looked at his edit history and found that he had a bot. And, it turns out he had the mother of all bots, Anybot. Anybot at one pointed created a lot of algae articles, 6000 of them, in fact. And, Smith609 put every bit as much care in how the bot created these articles as he puts into creating his paleontology articles. The bot created 6000 algae articles with serious problems including classifying organisms in the wrong kingdom. When an IP confronted Smith609 about the articles, and another IP started correcting them, Smith609 requested that the IP editor write an algorithm for the code necessary to correct the errors. There were the usual Wikipedia fights and accusations, and the IP editor was threatened with blocks for bringing up the issue, and his corrections to the articles were reverted by other bots. In the end, the mother of all AFDs resulted in the deletion of the bot’s 6000 algae articles for “major errors of fact.”

I looked recently at the contributions of another bot, Polbot, articles created in 2007 (the Anybot mess was discovered in 2009, but I’m not certain when the articles were created.) In Anybot’s approval for creating articles, it was noted that Polbot required many months of clean-up, though:

“Re: “Polbot created tens of thousands of plant and animal species stubs. None were deleted”. This is flatly untrue as I had to personally delete many of the superfluous stubs for monotypic plant taxa, or where the bot generated a duplicate article under a new name. Just cleaning up the taxoboxes for Polbot’s monocot articles took months of dedicated work on the part of several editors. –EncycloPetey (talk) 18:11, 15 August 2008 (UTC)”

The bot created many stubs about species from the IUCN red list. It includes many bat articles, of which, a few dozen, never subsequently checked for bot nonsense, contain this lovely sentence:

Gray Sac-winged Bat, as Polbot created it.

“The Gray Sac-winged Bat (Balantiopteryx plicata) is a species of sac-winged bat in the Emballonuridae family”

Gray Sac-winged Bat, today’s opening sentence

“The gray sac-winged bat (Balantiopteryx plicata) is a species of sac-winged bat in the family Emballonuridae.[2]

Again, it would seem that sac-winged bats are one group within the family Emballonuridae. It’s not. Sac-winged bat is a common name for the bat family Emballonuridae.

African sheath-tailed bat, today’s version

“A young African sheath-tailed bat is called a pup, and a group is called a colony or a cloud.[2]

More unique writing on en.Wikipedia, the name for the pup of this species, and the name for a group, is not such for the species, but for the order. Sigh; that’s pretty lame of me considering that en.Wikipedia editors are rewriting taxonomy to reflect their own stupidity. 



Featured Articles — the best Wikipedia has to offer? cough, cough


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Public Domain image, en.Wikipedia Zebu article.

Public Domain image, en.Wikipedia Zebu article.

I always love to hit Wikipedia’s main page. But, I thought, after the debacle with User:Cwmhiraeth’s awful Featured Articles on Sea and Desert, that I would look at what others are putting on the main page as Featured Articles. Today’s Featured Article is Ambohimanga, an article about a hill and a royal fort situated upon it in Madagascar. It was expanded and nominated for Good Article, then Featured Article, by Wikipedia editor User:Lemurbaby, who, according to his user page, has been editing Wikipedia since 2007, has lived in Madagascar, and has a Ph.D. in international development education policy.

Wikipedia:Featured Articles

Featured articles are considered to be the best articles Wikipedia has to offer, as determined by Wikipedia’s editors. They are used by editors as examples for writing other articles. Before being listed here, articles are reviewed as featured article candidates for accuracy, neutrality, completeness, and style according to our featured article criteria. There are 4,116 featured articles out of 4,394,300 articles on the English Wikipedia (~0.1% are featured). Thus, about one in 1,060 articles are listed here.”

The Good Article nomination was reviewed and promoted by User:Tibetan Prayer, who quit editing soon after the article’s promotion, or is now User:Dr.Blofeld, who we have already met for contributing to very, very bad flora and fauna sections in en.Wikipedia DYKs and Good Articles. I just could not work to make this stuff up; all I do is click a link on en.Wikiepedia’s main page, and I get rewarded….

Ambohimanga, at its Good Article promotion

In this version there is not much information on the flora, fauna, and geology. The Conservation and management section is mostly about a fee being charged for entrance.

Conservation and management

“The Office of the Cultural Site of Ambohimanga (OSCAR), created by the Ministry of Culture, has managed the site and its entrance fees and state subventions since 2006, when a five-year management plan was developed for implementation by the group’s 30 employees. These management and conservation activities are conducted in cooperation with the local population within the Rural Commune of Ambohimanga Rova. The Village Committee, comprising representatives of all the adjacent quarters and the local community, are also involved in the protection of the site.[1] Conservation of Ambohimanga is further supported by a private association, Mamelomaso, which has also been active in campaigning for awareness and protection of cultural heritage and has contributed to the preservation of numerous other sites of cultural and historic significance in the highlands.”

OSCAR “manages the site and its fees,” and the unnamed “conservation activities are conducted in cooperation with the local population within the Rural Commune of Ambohimanga Rova,” whatever that means. The Village Committee is “also involved” with these unnamed practices, and so is a “private” group. But, there is not really anything about what is being conserved. Or protected. In fact, this section says almost nothing, but uses a lot of words to do so.

In another clicky-wiki-linking failure, fig trees are sacred, but are never linked within the Good Article, and there is an image caption that says:

“The Fidasiana-Bevato esplanade is shaded by sacred aviavy trees (left) and attracts pilgrims who come to make sacrifices to the ancestors (right).”

This image caption uses the term “aviavy trees,” but does not explain that these are fig trees, and, like the other mentions of fig trees, it is not wikilinked.

But, this post is about the Featured Article, and let’s look at its flora and fauna section, called “Natural features.” The article was “supported” for its FA status by a number of editors, User:Squeamish Ossifrage, who has brought a fungus article to FA, User:GermanJoe, who writes history and geography articles, and User:IanRose, a FA director who writes military and music articles (“The FAC coordinators—UcuchaGraham Colm, and Ian Rose—determine the timing of the process for each nomination).”

Ambohimanga, at its Featured Article promotion

Natural features

“The forest at Ambohimanga benefited from customary protection and today represents the largest of the last remaining fragments of primary forest that formerly covered the highlands. It contains a representative assortment of native tree and plant species, in particular the endemic tree zahana (phyllarthron madagascariensis) and a variety of indigenous medicinal plants,[1] many possessing traditional or spiritual importance. Examples include the native bush Anthocleista, traditionally believed to attract lightning and often planted in clusters beside villages; the Dracaena plant, traditionally used for hedges and planted at sacred sites in valleys or other natural features where people would come to communicate with ancestral spirits; and the Phyllarthron vine, which was planted in sacred thickets and harvested for its wood, which was traditionally used to fashion handles for diverse tools.[30] The recent and growing presence of two foreign species (golden bamboo and lantana) threaten the integrity of the site’s ecosystem. The local management authority is currently engaged in activities to eradicate the encroaching vegetation.[1]

No idea what “customary protection” is in this context, if you are trying to use the “best Wikipedia has to offer” to understand what you are reading.

“Largest of the last remaining fragments of primary forest that formerly covered the highlands.” What type of forest? Madagascar had a number of different types of forest; maybe a little information about it? Maybe we can figure out by its elevation? No, although the article is about a hill and its fort, it does not explicitly give the elevation. Let’s see if the source gives any clues.

The source:

“The site is in a good state of conservation, vegetation covers the slopes of the hill evenly despite the invasion of certain exotic or local species (bambusa, lantana, pinus). The forest on the Hill constitutes the most important residual element of the primary forest, with deciduous species that in earlier times covered the interior of Madagascar. This forest contains endemic, woody and herbaceous species and medicinal plants. The abundance of “zahana” (phyllarthron madagascariensis) and medicinal plants constitute the specific character of the Ambohimanga forest.  In addition, the forest has retained its regenerative powers and biogeochemical cycles, in particular that of the water, which continue to be active, ensuring the continual use of the sacred fountain and lake.”

The forest, it appears, is not “primary forest that formerly covered the highlands,” but, rather, “primary forest, … that covered the interior of Madagascar.”  Minor difference, a few other minor issues.

” It contains a representative assortment of native tree and plant species, in particular the endemic tree zahana (phyllarthron madagascariensis) and a variety of indigenous medicinal plants, …”

Zahana,” not wikilinked, thankfully, is also a town in Algiers. It is a common name, and it should not be in italics, although it is from a foreign language…. What is “phyllarthron madagascariensis,” maybe another foreign word, as it can’t be a binomial name, because all of these editors working on the best of what Wikipedia has to offer must surely know that the genus name is capitalized? On the other hand, if you plagiarize blindly from the source without any understanding, and the source has the binomial name without a capital, you might just copy and paste without any thought to what you are copying and pasting.

In fact, if you are a Wikipedia main page content editor, this is most likely exactly what you will do: you don’t have the fundamental knowledge of biology or geology, so you just copy and paste without the least understanding and present crap to the readers under the guise of “the best that Wikipedia has to offer.”

If crap is the best, then Wikipedia should stop offering. And take a high school science class.

It’s not linked, even to its genus or family or anything, so there is no clue what this mysterious, unidentified, and improperly written “best of Wikipedia” plant is. The easiest place to look up plant names is, but it is not very useful for plagiarizing, hence, out of favor among those writing “the best of what Wikipedia has to offer.”

Phyllarthron madagascariensis is actually Arthrophyllum madagascariense, and there is an article on the genus on Wikipedia, unsourced since 2009, and a stub with almost no information. Still, it does give the plant family, and the family is a mostly tropical family of woody plants.

Another unlinked plant, Anthocleista, has a slightly usable genus article that describes it as a mostly tropical African and Madagascar genus, so, why not wikilink it to help the readers? Because the best is promoted by the incompetent and the lazy, it seems.

Again, Dracaena, is unlinked. It’s a fascinating genus of plants, with a few species that are horticulture spectaculars, and, again, mostly native to Africa.

Is the Phyllarthron vine, the same as Phyllarthron madagascariensis? Or another species of Phyllarthron? The book lists this as the particular species, but on the page in question, it just uses the genus. Although, incorrectly, again, the wood of the vine is used for tool handles, not for tools. There is a difference, a wooden tool might be a comb, or a club, or a spear, or a tailor press, but a wooden tool handle is a far more sophisticated creation, and it gives a sense of the purpose of the tool that is very different from a wooden tool.

We’ve avoided linking the exotic species that are both interesting and possibly less familiar to Western readers of the article, but, what plants are linked in the article?

“The recent and growing presence of two foreign species (golden bamboo and lantana) threaten the integrity of the site’s ecosystem.”

Threatening foreign species are usually called “invasive species,” but, okay. “Golden bamboo” is a pretty good common name, although, actually, the source says “bambusa,” and bambusa, is the source’s mangle of the genus name Bambusa. The en.Wikipedia article on golden bamboo, however, suggests that it may be native to Madagascar.

So confusing, as usual. Let’s go back to the source.

The site is in a good state of conservation, vegetation covers the slopes of the hill evenly despite the invasion of certain exotic or local species (bambusa, lantana, pinus).

The sources does not name two foreign species. It names three exotic or local species. But, they are not species, they are genera, and the en.Wikipedia article converts, without explanation, three exotic or local species to two foreign species, then makes what are actually three genera into one foreign species, that may or may not be native, and one foreign genus, that is again, not properly italicized as Lantana, but again, does not capitalize the genus.

Encroaching? Is that like when en.Wikipedia editors vomit the worst of what Wikipedia has to offer into cyberspace to have it copied by wiki mirrors and forever trash actual information?

If this is the best, then bad science is entrenched on Wikipedia, and if this is an example, no wonder the editors at DYK are churning out such garbage. It is not accurate, as the editors don’t understand what they read, don’t even know how to use binomial names, misread that the species are exotic, didn’t realize that they were genera, not species names, then made up a species for a genus, and contradicted another Wikipedia article, and it is incomplete, as the editors could not even be bothered to wikilink or look up exotic plant names. Style? Does that include capitalizing the genus? Apparently not.

Thank you en.Wikipedia for more bad bad science.

Some plagiarism of my own


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A compendium of criticism of Wikipedia from Wikipediocracy.

Really, it seems that only Sue Gardner is unaware of how bad en.Wikipedia is. If you plagiarize from everywhere, but can’t do so accurately, and you write like crap, and you vomit this into cyberspace for it to stay forever; what do you think you are writing?

It’s not an encyclopedia, it’s a mountain of garbage on a playground.

Wikipediocracy, a website critical of en.Wikipedia, recently posted their blog, linked above, about the usual criticisms of Wikipedia. Nothing I’ve said here is new. The editors at Wikipedia know that the Did You Know editors are plagiarizing from sources and making up science to get it quickly to the main page of Wikipedia, and they don’t care. Because, it’s not an encyclopedia, it’s a mountain of garbage being created on a playground.

In honor of Wikipedia, I’ve stolen the Wikipediocracy blog, but rewritten it in my own words to show that it can be done. Still, no one should seriously give me credit for what is written below, but, as usual, should blame me for any problems in it.

And remember,

Welcome to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.

Wikipedia content

1. Wikipedia articles are wrong. The editors using the sources can’t read them; the citations aren’t there to verify anything because the information is made up.

2. Administrators and editors are anonymous in addition to often being uneducated children. They use the rules in an arbitrary manner, but usually just to attack anyone who disagrees with their made up information.

3. Pokémon beats science, always.

4. Plagiarism, plagiarism, plagiarism.

5. Google helps Wikipedia spread what they made up. Editors, administrators, and the Wikimedia Foundation argue that the made up factoids on Wikipedia will be corrected; but they don’t care that it is first copied by Wiki mirrors, and never removed from Google after some child editor makes it up and a Wikipedia contest spreads it into cyberspace.

Bureaucracy and Culture

1. Wikipedia is disrespectful of scientists and specialists. The author is generally discussing the fact that Wikipedia does not allow editors to claim credentials. But I don’t think that credentials are necessary; there is never a problem distinguishing expert material from Randy from Boise’s meaningless made up Did You Know science. And the made up science always trumps the expert’s knowledge.

2. It’s easy to write crap and walk away on Wikipedia—anyone can edit, anonymously, then walk away from their bad science, and from any responsibility for permanently uploading that made up science into cyberspace.

3. Wikipedia administrators are an entrenched and ridiculous group who argue with each other and trump each other with little boy declarations of policy.

4a. Policies and procedures are not enforced equally, so no one ever knows what to expect. 

4a. Policies and procedures are not enforced equally, so no one ever knows what to expect.

4a. Policies and procedures are not enforced equally, so no one ever knows what to expect.

4a. The rules are a joke. An insider’s joke.

4b.Administrators and regular editors are frequently given a free ride by the little techno boys in the community. There are warning templates for all sorts of things, but it’s considered impolite to put warning templates for infractions on the talk pages of regulars. Only outsiders may be warned for infractions.

6. ArbCom is such a joke they can’t even support themselves, so most of them quit this year. Few of them even bother to pretend they are part of the community that is supposed to be writing an encyclopedia. If you want to find editors with power who aren’t there to write an encyclopedia, go check out the contributions records of members of ArbCom.

7. The Wikimedia Foundation is Jimmy Wales’ sycophant. So is ArbCom. So are Wikipedia administrators. That’s why it’s not really a community run encyclopedia, or maybe it is, until a friend of Wales wants to Raul a position.