Language for taxonomic names, redux

Andy Mabbett andy at
Fri Feb 24 00:19:39 CET 2017

On 23 February 2017 at 21:27, Michael Everson <everson at> wrote:
> 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.

No. I was referring specifically to the edits I said I would make, in
my previous post (which you quote). I'm well aware of the in-line use
of taxon names, but that was /not/ what I was referring to.

The {{Lang}} template:

already exists for inline content in a different language to that
declared for the body of the page, and no change in Wikipedia policy
is required for its use - indeed, it's already used (often multiple
times) on almost 600K pages on the English Wikipedia alone.

>>> then it would need to be Wikipedia policy.
>> No. You appear to have a fundamental 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.

I've been on Wikipedia for over 13 years. I have made around /fifteen/
times more edits on en.Wikipedia than you. I've been appointed as a
Wikimedian in Residence more times than anyone else on the planet.
I've been presented with an award for my contributions by Jimmy Wales.
I'm happy to be judged on my contributions to Wikipedia and its sister
projects; but I also try not to be the first person in a discussion to
make an argument from authority.

I note that LangCom is responsible for allowing Wikimedia Foundation
projects to be created in new languages; and has no role on policy for
language markup on the English Wikipedia; nor on any other Wikipedia
or Wikimedia Foundation project; nor for Wikipedia policies more

> You’re going to see that this subtag is used in “hundreds of thousands of English-language
> Wikipedia articles”. Where? In the body text?

In {{taxobox}}:

for one. That template alone is used on 300K articles.

> 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.

Wikiprojects do not make Wikipedia policy.

>> 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.

That depends on what you mean by my "scheme". Your terms are unclear.
If you mean my initial edits to a few templates, improving hundreds of
thousands of articles after a few minutes work, then the latter is
true. If you mean my request for "suggestions as to how [how to
indicate the language of these names] might finally be resolved", and
the use of templates like {{lang}}, then yes, it will.

My question below, about the relevance of the internal workings of
Wikipedia is again pertinent. Far more sites than Wikipedia
programmatically publish pages about individual taxons, or lists of
them and could (and would, in my experience), apply language markup
easily and quickly, if only a suitable and standard language (sub)tag
was available.

>> 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.

I believe I have answered all your questions except where others have
beaten me to it.

Andy Mabbett

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