Language for taxonomic names, redux

Michael Everson everson at
Thu Feb 23 22:27:24 CET 2017

On 23 Feb 2017, at 10:49, Andy Mabbett <andy at> wrote:

>>> Indeed, as soon as a tag is available, I shall see that it is used in literally hundreds of thousands of English-language Wikipedia articles about taxons, more again in other languages, as well as hundreds of thousands more in Wikispecies, and a even larger number of taxonomic items in Wikidata.
>> Surely if planning such sweeping changes you’ve discussed this with members working on:
> [...]
> No. Its not a "sweeping" change; it will involve only a couple of edits to two or t[h]ree templates.

No. Scientific names are not only found in info-boxes. They are found inline in the text of articles as well. 

>> Because if this idea of yours were a good idea,
> I wasn't aware that tagging content to indicate the language it uses being a "good idea" was in question.

It is part of my function to criticize and press you for better answers. Otherwise I will not be convinced, and I’m the one you have to convince. Though I note that not many other people have supported your proposal. In any case, you can respond to my criticisms aggressively, or not. It won’t make a difference to my decision. 

*IF* your idea were a good idea, it would need to be implemented wiki-wide. Otherwise it the functions of automatic translation and text to speech would not work consistently.

>> then it would need to be Wikipedia policy.
> No. You appear to have a fundaemntal misunderstanding of Wikipedia polices.

Yeah, that’s why I’m a member of LangCom. I’ve been on the Wikipedia for nearly 13 years, too. 

You’re going to see that this subtag is used in “hundreds of thousands of English-language Wikipedia articles”. Where? In the body text? For such a convention to be preserved (and to prevent later editors from undoing the tagging work), it definitely WILL have to be policy within the Wikiprojects for Science and nomenclature and so on. 

To do that requires policy decisions within projects, so that editors have consistent guidelines. 

>> Otherwise you could alter 50,000 pages and unless you were tracking all of them your tagging would be lost and the effort wasted.
> I'm not sure how the "hundreds of thousands" of articles to which I refer[r]ed became "50,000" in your mind;

Whatever. Let’s move on, shall we?

> but I won't have to edit a single one of them.

Ah. Then your scheme won’t affect ordinary text, only info boxes and so on. Well. that does NOT convince me that your idea is robust and that it would make a difference to text to speech or translation of anything but info-boxes. 

> Does the creation of a language (sub) tag by IETF really depend on the internal workings of Wikipedia?

It is a subtag. You yourself have failed to answer a number of my questions (like about accent and the expected prefix use) though others have clarified that somewhat. You’ve stated a number of usage scenarios. CSS could handle formatting. A language tag might be effective for translation and text to speech, but if, as you suggested, the Wikipedia was one target area, and you’re not considering article text but only info-boxes, then it doesn’t seem to me that the usage scenario has been properly explored.

Michael Everson

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