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.: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.
“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.“
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:
- Broad in its coverage:
- it addresses the main aspects of the topic; and
- 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.