Okay, not copyright violations, just plagiarism

Because, after all, if it’s in the public domain, we can act like we wrote it, then attach a  Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License to it.

No, that’s not how public domain material works; if you didn’t write it, don’t lie and say you did, and then license it; it’s not yours.

A little problem over at DYK with one of the nominations being largely copied from non-attributed public domain materials.

Template DYK Nomination, Slave-making ant.

Tsk, tsk, slave-making ant task force.


Joint Ventures — WikiMedia Foundation, ‘pedia, ‘species, ‘data


, , , , , , , , , , ,

There are other things going on with the Wiki run by the WikiMedia foundation, some joint ventures, exchanges.


Wikipedia is a collaboratively editedmultilingualfree Internet encyclopedia supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation.


Wikispecies is a wiki-based online project supported by the Wikimedia Foundation. Its aim is to create a comprehensivefree content catalogue of all species and is directed at scientists, rather than at the general public. Jimmy Wales—chairman emeritus of the Wikimedia Foundation—stated that editors are not required to fax in their degrees, but that submissions will have to pass muster with a technical audience.[1][2]


Wikidata is a collaboratively edited knowledge base operated by the Wikimedia Foundation. It is intended to provide a common source of certain data types (for example, birth dates) which can be used by Wikimedia projects such asWikipedia.[2][3] This is similar to the way Wikimedia Commons provides storage for media files and access to those files for all Wikimedia projects

A rose is a rose is a rose, right?


A rose is Rosa, the genus, in the family Rosaceae, in the order Rosales, in the unranked clade Rosids, in the unranked clade Eudicots, in the unranked clade Angiosperms, in the Plant kingdom.


A rose is Rosa, the genus, in the tribe Roseae, in the subfamily Rosoideae, in the family Rosaceae, in the order Rosales, in the unranked clade Eurosids I, in the unranked clade Rosids, in the unranked clade Core eudicots, in the unranked clade Eudicots, in the unranked clade Angiosperms, in the Plant kingdom.


A rose is Rosa, the genus, in the tribe Roseae, in the subfamily Rosoideae, in the family Rosaceae, in the order Rosales, in the unranked clade Eurosids I, in the unranked clade Rosids, in the unranked clade Core eudicots, in the unranked clade Eudicots, in the unranked clade Angiosperms, in the Plant kingdom.

This is not too bad; as expected the WikiSpecies and WikiData entries are denser, containing all possible ranks. In practice, not all ranks are used even in the scientific literature. Families are important in Angiosperms and classes are important among the chordates, but a data repository should include all of the ranks.

What happens when we click on all these plant links about roses in the different locations?


The Rosales has nine families: Barbeyaceae, Cannabaceae, Dirachmaceae, Elaeagnaceae, Moraceae, Rhamnaceae, Rosaceae, Ulmaceae, Urticaceae.


The Rosales has the same nine families: Barbeyaceae – Cannabaceae – Dirachmaceae – Elaeagnaceae – Moraceae – Rhamnaceae – Rosaceae – Ulmaceae – Urticaceae.



On WikiData there is not list of child taxa. Maybe we should look at the parent taxon of the Rosales, instead?


Parent taxon is rosids.


Parent taxon is eurosids I, then  rosids.


Parent taxon is, or, rather parent taxa are Rosanae, fabids, Rosidae, eurosids I, Dialypetaleae, Calyciflorae, Archichilamydeae.

WikiData has so many parent taxa because it includes all parent taxa for the Rosales in all past taxonomic systems, Cronquist 1981, APG II 2003, Wettstein 1935, Bentham and Hooker 1962, and Engler 1924. However, the taxon Rosales, on WikiData, is the the taxon described in APG III in 2009. It is not the Rosales described in Cronquist in 1981; it is not the Rosales as circumscribed by the APG II in 2003; it is not the Rosales that Engler circumscribed and published in 1924; these other parent taxa are the parent taxa to those circumscriptions of the Rosales.

WikiData is idiocy and has no understanding of taxonomy.

Well, let’s move up a bit and see what the parent taxa for WikiSpecies look like. It looks okay, until we get to the Angiosperms, which is a redirect to Magnoliopsida. This is cited to various sources. APG III does not use the term “Magnoliopsida.” Friedrich A. Lohmueller uses the class Magnoliopsida, but puts it in the angiosperms and ties it to the APG III, which does not use the class Magnoliopsida. Stevens does not use the term on his website. The WikiSpecies website has APG III orders; APG III uses the term angiopserm, and does not, as I just said, mention magnoliopsida; but the WikiSpecies article has APG III orders, calls the containing claid the magnoliopsida, then ties it to citations that contain different order defined in different ways then their modern usage, Cronquist 1981 does not have these same orders, neither does Dahlgren 1985, or Engler 1930, or Lindley 1830, or Takhtajan 1997.

WikiSpecies is run by an independent and argumentative taxonomist who is not a botanist, but is a strict follower of Linnean taxonomies; the modern taxonomic system in use by botanists is not strictly Linnean, so, the scientist is making stuff up to fit his vision of botany!

WikiData botany is run by an editor who is also extremely argumentative, and, like the WikiSpecies editor, had been banned from editing WikiPedia, so had to turn to WikiData. This editor also thinks he/she, like the WikiSpecies editor, is the only human being on the planet earth who understands taxonomy and can correctly classify the plants. On WikiData, he/she is taking a single taxon and making it multiple, because of a lack of understanding that a description of a taxon changes with different taxonomic systems.

Exactly how is WikiPedia going to integrate this cluster muck? WikiPedia is mostly following the most current and universally accepted system of plant taxonomy. WikiSpecies is making up a taxonomy based on one argumentative scientist who disagrees with the rest of the world. WikiData doesn’t have a taxonomy, it’s just a bunch of information put all in one place; it’s like you said, stack the plates here and the bowls here, and, instead of stacking anything, you threw all the pottery in a green garbage bag, then threw it in the corner and ate dinner out of pots at the table.

Way to go, WikiMedia Foundation!


And what about the pictures?


, , , , ,

And what about the pictures?

“Typical view of Joshua Tree National Park with impressive rocks and Johshua trees (Yucca brevifolia). The photo is taken from the parking lot close to the Banana Cracks Formation.”

This is a featured picture on en.Wikipedia. It’s not that great of a picture, but it’s not that bad of a picture, either. It’s not what I would call typical of the park, because there are so many places with grand vistas, but there are also all these great bouldery outcroppings of rocks, so, in spite of some technical issues, it’s okay.
Let’s go to the article on the park.

Joshua Tree National Park

“It is named for the Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) forests native to the park.”

What do you think of when you think of a forest? I think of a dense collection of trees; can’t see the forest for the trees, you know? You can still see the woodlands for the trees, like a desert woodland. But, at the elevation where Joshua trees grow, you do have some dense groves, but you usually see what is the typical pictures of Joshua trees, widely spaced trees where you can still see the woodlands for the Joshua trees; it’s not everywhere a forest, and, later in the article, the editors admit that in some places it is a forest, while in others, like the often more familiar pictures, you have sparse trees.


“A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees.”

Okay, so, is it a forest, or is it sparsely spaced trees?

Mojave Desert in Joshua Tree National Park

“It occurs in patterns from dense forests to distantly spaced specimens. In addition to Joshua tree forests, the western part of the park includes some of the most interesting geologic displays found in California’s deserts. The dominant geologic features of this landscape are hills of bare rock, usually broken up into loose boulders. These hills are popular amongst rock climbing and scrambling enthusiasts. The flatland between these hills is sparsely forested with Joshua trees. Together with the boulder piles and Skull Rock, the trees make the landscape otherworldly.”

Okay, let’s run through this paragraph. Dense forest to sparsely spaced, then in addition to the forests (uh oh, seems only forests now), bare rocks, bare rock hills, sparsely forested (does this mean patches of forest, or sparsely spaced trees, who knows), boulder piles plus trees = otherworldy.

What other world?

Geology in Joshua Tree National Park

“The rock formations of Joshua Tree National Park were formed 100 million years ago from the cooling of magma beneath the surface. Groundwater is responsible for the erosion that created the spheres from rectangular blocks.[6] These prominent outcrops are known as inselbergs or monadnocks.”

“Geologists believe the face of this modern landscape was born more than 100 million years ago.”

Formed 100 million years ago? That’s a rather exact number for geological formations of Southern California; I’m impressed, but, I’m also wary, having looked a few times at the difference between what en.Wikipedia says and what the source says.

Wikipedia: “Groundwater is responsible for the erosion that created the spheres from rectangular blocks.[6]

Source: “The monzogranite developed a system of rectangular joints. One set, oriented roughly horizontally, resulted from the removal — by erosion — of the miles of overlying rock, called gneiss (pronounced “nice”). Another set of joints is oriented vertically, roughly paralleling the contact of the monzogranite with its surrounding rocks.

The third set is also vertical but cuts the second set at high angles. The resulting system of joints tended to develop rectangular blocks.

As ground water percolated down through the monzogranite’s joint fractures, it began to transform some hard mineral grains along its path into soft clay, while it loosened and freed grains resistant to solution. Rectangular stones slowly weathered to spheres of hard rock surrounded by soft clay containing loose mineral grains.”

Uh-oh, once more Wikipedia and the source differ.

But we’re used to that by now. In fact, everything in en.Wikipedia is thoroughly wikilinked within a network of similar bad science, factoids, idiocy, plagiarism, and nonsense.

and everyone knows we plagiarize


, , , , , ,

“Well yes, but just because the articles weren’t tagged doesn’t mean the content was good. A more common reaction to the introduction of bad content is for editors just to delete it.”

A large psychology class contributed to the barrels of crap all over en.Wikipedia. I’m not sure that editors should have got up in arms, considering the main page of Wikipedia is mostly prepped by established editors and contains bad science on a daily basis.

So what if we plagiarize?


, , , ,

So many reasons the WMF did not want to answer my Reddit questions about bad science. Number one probably being they are already aware of the problem, have cushy jobs, and don’t want to bring any more notice to it than necessary.

Well done.


This blog asks talks about the results of a plagiarism survey, showing that regular Wikipedians tend to plagiarize more often than student Wikipedians. 

10% of the crap on Wikipedia is plagiarized. And they know it. And they have no intention of stopping it.

What happens when a plagiarist is found out? Usually nothing. They have to be found out multiple times. Then, their known plagiarized content sits on en.Wikipedia for months more.

Way for anyone to plagiarize an encyclopedia, Wikipedia!

So what if the prose is bad?


, , , , , , , ,

A mountain gorilla in the Kahuzi-Biega Reserve...

A mountain gorilla in the Kahuzi-Biega Reserve, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s see what’s queued up for DYK. A good one, a very important park, low-hanging fruit, and deserving of what Wikipedia once intended to be.

Kahuzi-Biéga National Park


“The park covers an area of 6,000 kilometres (3,728.23 mi) in the Mitumba Mountain range of the Albertine Rift in the Great Rift Valley[1] A corridor of 7.4 km width lies between these two areas.[2]The eastern part of the park is the smaller mountainous region measuring 600 square kilometres (230 sq mi) in size; the larger part measures 5,400 square kilometres (2,100 sq mi) and consists mainly of low land stretching from Bukavu to Kisangani, drained by the Luka and Lugulu rivers which flow into the Lualaba River.[1] The park is situated 20 kilometres (12 mi) to the west of Bukavu inSouth Kivu Province. The park’s name derives from the two dormant volcanoes within its limits–the Kahuzi volcano (3,308 metres (10,853 ft)) and the Beiga volcano.(2,790 metres (9,150 ft))[2]

The park receives an average annual precipitation of 1,800 millimetres (71 in). The maximum temperature recorded in the area is 18 °C (64 °F) while the minimum is 10.4 °C (50.7 °F).[3]

It covers “an area of 6,000 kilometres?” Square kilometers, actually. But, could be just a typo, and I think most readers will misread it correctly.

“The park covers an area of 6,000 kilometres (3,728.23 mi) in the Mitumba Mountain range of the Albertine Rift in the Great Rift Valley[1] A corridor of 7.4 km width lies between these two areas.[2]

But, according to source [1], the entire park is not in the Mitumba Mountain range; only the eastern montane portion of the park is there.

“The 75,000 ha eastern sector is entirely montane. The massif is part of the Mitumba Mountain range, the western mountains of the Great Rift Valley.”

“The lowland sector in the Zairean central basin covers the watersheds of the tributaries of the Luka and Lugulu rivers.”

Even the intro to the en.Wikipedia article says that the park is “set in both mountainous and lowland terrain, …”

That may help to explain what two areas the corridor lies between, because the other choices appear to be between, well there are no two areas.

Editors need to read their own articles. Just read them.

“The park covers an area of 6,000 kilometres [the mountains of the rift]. A corridor of 7.4 km width lies between these two areas.[2]

There are not two areas; this is nonsense. Here is what source [2] says, “”The park covers 6,000 sq km and is composed of two parts joined by a 7.5 km wide corridor.”

It also appears from these sources that only the smaller, eastern portion of the park is in the Mitumba Mountain range, while the greater part of the park is in the Zaïre basin, more low-hanging fruit, and information entirely missing from this little article, probably because of the lack of a redirect due to lack of basic knowledge among editors.

After getting the lay of the land, we learn that there are two parts, the location of the park in relation to the nearest city and within what DRC province, then the source of the park’s name, precipitation and temperature, a virtual hodge podge of disorganized information.

Why not tell me where, geographically, the park is, tell us that it is near a town called Bukavu in a DCR province, then describe the two parts, use that to lead into the parks name, then into the volcanics of the region, then the climate. Or anything but a disorganized vomit of information. Also, why does source 2 say it was made a UNESCO site in 1981 and the article say 1980?

Onto the flora and fauna!


“Rain forest (Guineo-Congolian) is the dominant vegetation type in the low lying flat land of the park. Also noted are transitional zone of rainforest and Afro-montane vegetation which has profusion of trees heather.[3] The vegetation varies from rainforests in the lower areas to mountain and bamboo forests. Above an altitude of 2,600 metres (8,500 ft) on the summits of the volcanoes is sub-alpine vegetation, consisting of heather and the endemic Senecio kahuzicus.[1] Swamps and bogs are found in the park, and marshland and riparian forests are noted at all altitudes.[1]

Let’s assume it is all true, and let’s rewrite it so we can read it.

“The larger, lowland area of the park is dominated by the rain forest (Guineo-Congolian) vegetation typical of tropical Africa. There is a transition zone of mixed rain forest and Afro-montane vegetation between the lowlands and where the montane vegetation begins. Tree heathers dominate this transition zone. Both montane and bamboo forests grow at higher elevations. Sub-alpine vegetation of heather and the endemic Senecio kahuzicus grows above 2,600 meters near the summits of the volcanoes. Riparian forest and marshlands occur near watercourses at all elevations in the park, and there are also rare swamps and bogs.”

Here we move up in elevation covering the most typical vegetation types then name the exceptions. Not great, my writing, but you can read it and follow it and understand it.


“Among the 136 species of mammals identified in the park, the eastern lowland gorilla is the most prominent. Other primates include the eastern chimpanzee, Cercopithecinae, Colobinae. Some of the mammals include the bush elephant, bush buffalo, hylochere and bongo, Aquatic civet, eastern needle-clawed galago, Maclaud’s horseshoe bat, Ruwenzori least otter shrew, owl-faced monkey, and Alexander’s bush squirrel.[1]”

All over the place with the mammals, elephant, buffalo, hog, antelope, civet, primate, bat, shrew, primate, squirrel. Why not include all the primates in, “other primates?”

And what about those primates, we have a species, and I assume “eastern chimpanzee,” a subspecies, and two subfamilies? Which one of these things is not like the other? Other primates do not include “the Cercopithecinae,” but rather many species from this subfamily. This was just another atrocious copy and paste. Please, en.Wikipedia, learn to plagiarize accurately! Source says, “Other primates include eastern chimpanzee, and numerous Cercopithecinae and Colobinae.” Unfortunately the combination of plagiarism, lack of basic biology, unwillingness to read the source while stealing from it, and the source italicizing the subfamilies may have contributed to the error. However, take a basic biology course, and you would have recognized these were subfamilies. Then, instead of plagiarizing without understanding, you might have changed “numerous” to “many.”

And, what is it with en.Wikipedia Did You Know racers being too lazy to click on their own links?

Then, we have a disorganized list of endangered species, bird, mouse, bird, hippo, hog, elephant, shrew, bird, chimp, cat, baboon, bird, bird, bat, buffalo, antelope. Why not list the forest mammals, other mammals, any endemic species, then the birds?

Why not include readable prose? Oh, it’s not part of the promotion of a DYK. You can copy and past, you can make stuff up, and that won’t matter, but, there’s also no need to write as if you expected someone to read it.

Wikipedia asks, should we remove the crap?


, , , , , , , , ,

  • Oppose basically per Cas Liber – DYK is a great incentive to create new articles, and we want to encourage those. Even if a DYK fails, in most cases we still end up with a new article or an expanded one. Nothing horribly wrong with that, no? Taylor Trescott – my talk + my edits 01:21, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

But we’re not wining up with new or expanded articles; we’re winding up with bad science.

And, bad science, according to en.Wikipedia, fails verifiability. If it’s wrong, it’s not verifiable. If you misunderstood or could not read the source and just copied and pasted jargon to  create nonsense, then, you don’t wind up with a “new article.”

By en.Wikipedia’s definitions, you’ve just wound up with vandalism.

Someone beat me to it; said it all three years ago


, , , , ,

“A lot of yall just don’t get it. The cutty-pasty epidemic is a big problem, spawned in part by other ailments like the “wiki cup” and “dyk” and other bauble collecting exercises that favor measurable “deliverables” (“i created x articles” “I got y DYKs” etc…) over creating coherent articles that are accurate surveys of a relevant topic. A lot of these articles are wrong, wrong in emphasis, wrong in basic facts, and most importantly wrong because there is no true distallation of the consensus view of the topic from the best sources. Why? Because the cutty-pasties don’t really understand what they’re writing about (how could they? In general, they haven’t sat down and read it all before starting. They’re just Magpies; a bottle cap here, a shiny piece of plastice there, ctrl v and I’m done). And this entirely leaves aside the fact that cutting and pasting is often from very old PD sources that are no longer accurate (particularly in science-related articles, but not exclusively). The culture of tolerance for this stuff, and the false sense of accomplishment given to poor article writers with DYK baubles, leads to an ever expanding miasma of innacurate articles, beyond the scope of the small handful of engaged editors to fix, if they were to try. Sometimes, more is less.Bali ultimate (talk) 22:32, 28 October 2010 (UTC)”

(Linked in my reply to the previous post on plagiarism; I will add the link later.

Did You Know … that DYK is just “silly vanity?”


, , , , , ,

And, I agree wholeheartedly. Nice to see the community is beginning to also realize the tremendous damage DYKs cause to en.Wikipedia.

User page with DYK awards is nominated for deletion.

Now, this is User:Bonkers the Clown‘s list of DYKs. Bonkers is the en.Wikipedia reader who, after reading here about the travesties of science on en.Wikipedia’s main page, corrected some of the worst and most obvious errors. Other editors who created these errors and are fully aware they exist, can’t be bothered to correct what they are vomiting into cyberspace.

Silly Vanity

Silly Vanity

Will someone on Wikipedia now nominate for deletion the falsely earned DYK credits, the silly vanities, the trophy cabinet, of the person creating those science travesties, User:Cwmhireath, that Bonkers bothered to correct some of the worst of?

What about all the other editors with trophy cabinets full of silly vanities for creating bad science and getting thousands of readers to look at it while it was on the main page?

Plagiarizing science


, , , , , , ,

Wikipedia editors seem to think that if you change a word or two in a sentence, so the sentence can’t be searched within quotes, you can fool the world demanding that you don’t plagiarize from others.

As far as I can tell, the only articles on en.Wikipedia that aren’t seriously plagiarized are stubs, the very well-written articles, and a lot of tedious articles that are written in a strict form on very limited topics, roads in the UK, small tropical storms of the mid-twentieth century.

Although I’ve pointed out copied lines and texts from Wikipedia articles, this is largely ignored on en.Wikipedia; editors see their articles written about here and whine that I’m “making mountains out of molehills.” What’s a little thievery among friends, so what if I got it completely wrong, so what if I just made up a source to back up the made-up bad science? Like the problematic WikiCup contest that encourages the creation of crap to be seen by 10,000 readers on Wikipedia’s main page, copyright violations are just one more ugly part of en.Wikipedia.

The first huge copyright problem editor I ran across was en.Wikipedia editor, User:Valich. This editor was copying and pasting into geology articles on Wikipedia. I saw a notice about him at the project page, and I began reading his articles. They are huge copyright problems. Almost every word is copied. I posted something to this effect at the copyright violation page opened for him. His articles need deleted. However, instead of removing these thefts from en.Wikipedia, the decision was made to individually check 168 articles, individually, for copyright violations. Each copyright violation check takes longer than it would take to delete, research, and rewrite the material he added. He copied much of the material from famous papers in geology, and any geology student will instantly recognize the copyright violations.

Right now, two months after the final admission that this editor copied much of his material from other sources without rewriting it or putting it in quotes, the editors have still, potentially, left major copyright violations in articles that get tens of thousands of hits every month, such as Bear (viewed 92688 times in the past 30 days) and Organism (viewed 55385 times in the past 30 days).

Bad science and thievery should be removed immediately from en.Wikipedia. Nothing should justify leaving a known copyright violation in an article and allowing it to be viewed 180,000 times since the discovery of the copyright violation in September. How does this belong on en.Wikipedia? Is it “anyone can edit,” or “anyone can steal?”

User:EnCASF has 39 plant articles being investigated for copyright violations. Each one is being painstakingly investigated for hours to clear the copyright violations. Please, just remove everything he added!

User:DrMicro has 580 biology articles being reviewed. From en.Wikipedia discussions, it appears that his copyright violations had been identified three years ago, then ignored. It appears that the plan is to individually go through these articles. What a waste of time! It would be faster to rewrite the articles from scratch. And, it appears that en.Wikipedia, while well-aware of copyright violations, has opted to just leave them on the encyclopedia.

Wikipedia editors spend a huge amount of time discussing everything; but, let’s consider this for a moment. What right does en.Wikipedia have to host known copyright violations on its website for over two months?

More later, but, note that my Reddit questions to Sue Gardner AMA, were ignored; User:SarahStierch read the questions, but also ignored them. Like the copyright violations, when en.Wikipedia editors and admins are alerted to a problem, and when the Wikimedia Foundation is alerted to a problem, they just ignore them. Sue seems to think clean up is someone else’s job; but, if you create a hostile editing environment that does not allow for editing, then why would you think it’s anyone else’s job to step into the morass you built? Why not create a neutral editing environment that is about content-creation rather than social networking?