Wikipedia talk:Automated taxobox system

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Latest comment: 1 month ago by Jts1882 in topic Series
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This talk page can be used to discuss issues with the automated taxobox system that are common to the entire system, not just one of its templates. Discussions of this nature prior to 2017 can be found at Template talk:Automatic taxobox

Those familiar with the system prior to mid-2016 are advised to read Notes for "old hands".

30 December 2022 use stats updateEdit

30 December 2022 update

Project Auto Manual Total taxa Percentage auto # auto added since 30 June 2022 # manual subtracted
Algae 2077 283 2360 88.0 38 2
Amphibians and Reptiles 20981 231 21212 98.9 574 3
Animals 9688 2244 11932 81.2 647 93
Arthropods 9049 3613 12662 71.5 797 484
Beetles 20549 17502 38051 54.0 584 557
Birds 14195 84 14279 99.4 54 5
Bivalves 1644 33 1677 98.0 23 2
Cephalopods 1969 570 2539 77.6 129 112
Dinosaurs 1618 4 1622 99.8 19 1
Diptera 12673 2827 15500 81.8 1305 726
Fishes 22118 2668 24786 89.2 684 166
Fungi 8953 5797 14750 60.7 980 404
Gastropods 22676 11353 34029 66.6 2609 2535
Insects 49427 27994 77421 63.8 2886 1974
Lepidoptera 66328 32052 98380 67.4 8692 8653
Mammals 8051 184 8235 97.8 101 8
Marine life 7584 1468 9052 83.8 305 180
Microbiology 5760 7127 12887 44.7 912 751
Palaeontology 13703 3796 17499 78.3 471 164
Plants 75891 1970 77861 97.5 2398 1027
Primates 981 0 981 100 7 0
Protista 103 21 124 83.1 NA NA
Rodents 3062 30 3092 99.0 -1 1
Sharks 804 50 854 94.1 12 -2
Spiders 9475 0 9475 100 49 0
Tree of Life 79 11 90 87.8 -1 -2
Turtles 747 2 749 99.7 3 -1
Viruses 1708 58 1766 96.7 3 -2
Total 345989 104689 450678 76.8 21046 16251

Mammal subprojects with articles tagged for both mammals and subproject:

Project Auto Manual Total taxa Percentage auto
Bats 1576 0 1576 100
Cats 188 0 188 100
Cetaceans 428 0 428 100
Dogs 241 0 241 100
Equine 106 0
Methods and caveats (copy-pasted from previous update)

Method: For the most part I use Petscan to search for articles with a talk page banner for a particular Wikiproject and either {{Taxobox}}, or any of {{Automatic taxobox}}+{{Speciesbox}}+({{Infraspeciesbox}} and/or {{Subspeciesbox}} (depending on whether botanical/zoological code is relevant)), and record the results. Example search for algae with automatic taxoboxes (search terms are in the Templates&Links tab in Petscan). For viruses, I search for {{Virusbox}} rather than the other automatic taxobox templates. For plants, I sum the results for the Plants, Banksia, Carnivorous plants and Hypericaceae projects. "Total" is derived from the Template Transclusion Count tool ( e.g. results for Speciesbox), and is not actually sum of the results for individual projects (some articles have talk page banners for multiple Wikiprojects, and would be counted twice if rows were summed). I started compiling these stats in April 2017, and have been updating roughly every six months since December 2017. I've kept my method consistent; perhaps I should have included all of the automatic taxobox templates (Hybridbox, Ichnobox, etc.), but I didn't do so at the beginning, and the other templates aren't used in very many articles.

Caveat: The remaining manual taxoboxes in projects with a high percentage of automatic taxoboxes mostly have some kind of "problem". I have periodically reviewed all the manual taxobox articles in projects with less than 235 manual taxoboxes, and chose not to convert them to automatic taxoboxes at that time (however, it has been awhile since my last review, so there probably a few recently included articles I haven't reviewed). "Problems" may include:

  • Fossil taxa; fossil classifications may be derived from multiple sources and present classification on Wikipedia may include mutually incompatible hypotheses. Fossil taxa are often not be linked from extant parent taxa.
  • Synonymy; there is some obvious synonymy issue; e.g., a species is in a genus which redirects (as a synonym) to another genus; maybe the species article needs to be moved or maybe the genus should be reinstated
  • Common names; articles with common name titles may not correspond to taxa, but still have manual taxoboxes. In some cases {{Paraphyletic group}} may be appropriate, in others the taxobox should be removed
  • Parasite and pathogens; article on parasites and pathogens may be tagged for the WikiProject of the organisms they infect. Higher level taxonomy templates for the parasites may not yet exist, and the classification presented in manual taxoboxes may not be up to date.

I grabbed the raw numbers on 30 December, but didn't get around to doing the math right away. Petscan has been failing a lot (and for several months now) with the searches I run for this, so I wanted to grab the numbers when I had the opportunity.

Wikipedia:WikiProject Protista is new and doesn't have very many of the articles that would be in scope tagged yet. Most protist articles are currently tagged for WikiProject Microbiology; a substantial number of articles tagged for WikiProject Algae could be considered protists, as well as a few articles tagged for WikiProject Fungi. I suspect that as a group, articles for protists have the lowest uptake of automatic taxoboxes.

I have some detailed notes breaking remaining plant manual taxoboxes down by family at User:Plantdrew/Plant automatic taxobox progress. Less detailed notes at User:Plantdrew/Animal automatic taxobox progress that break animals down by phylum, and insects and fishes by order. Plantdrew (talk) 03:15, 5 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wow, 8653 conversions in Lepidoptera. I've been making an effort with Crustaceans recently and only made a small dent in the numbers. Are these being done with a tool? I vaguely remember someone mentioning a script for adding speciesboxes, but forget the editors name. —  Jts1882 | talk  16:31, 5 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Jts1882:, the tool/script is User:William Avery/taxoboxalyzer. User:Scorpions13256 has been using the tool a lot and I think is responsible for the vast majority of the conversions in Lepidoptera and Gastropods over the last 6 months. There were also 7k Lepidoptera were converted between June and December 2021, and 10k between December 2021 and June 2022. Plantdrew (talk) 17:54, 5 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks, I'll have a look at that. It did remind me of a conversion template I'd started working on and forgotten about. I've set it up at {{convert taxobox}}. To use simply replace the first line of the manual taxobox {{Taxobox with {{subst:convert taxobox and it will substitute the code for the appropriate {{speciesbox}} or {{automatic taxobox}}. For speciesbox it uses |genus= and |species= after stripping wikitext formatting; for automatic taxobox is runs down the possible taxa and uses the lowest ranked taxon along with its authority. Unnecessary parameters are deleted as used in the conversion, but any extras not handled are left at the bottom of the parameter list. This means a taxobox with several parent authorities will keep parameters like |ordo_authority= when used in a family taxobox. These will need manual conversion to |parent_authority=. I've run a number of conversions today and it seems to be reliable, so I don't expect it to clutter your maintenance categories. —  Jts1882 | talk  15:18, 7 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm rather curious about those negative numbers, and those four remaining dinosaurs with manual taxoboxes. All in all, though, it looks like the autotaxobox system is continuing to replace the manual system at a somewhat-steady rate. SilverTiger12 (talk) 22:35, 5 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@SilverTiger12:. Negative numbers under "# manual subtracted" represent a net increase in manual taxoboxes; e.g. there are two more shark articles using manual taxoboxes than there were six months ago (there is an editor has been creating articles for fossil shark genera that aren't placed to a family, and the genera aren't mentioned in any article for a higher taxon; I'd prefer to see these articles de-orphaned before replacing the manual taxobox with an automatic one). I know the -1 for turtles is due to a manual taxobox being added to Hoan Kiem turtle, which probably shouldn't have a taxobox at all (and which didn't have a taxobox 6 months ago). The -2 for viruses is due to new articles with manual taxoboxes being created for virus "taxa" that aren't recognized by the ICTV (I don't remember specifically what those articles are).
Negative numbers under "# auto added" represent a net decrease in articles with automatic taxoboxes; I would guess the -1 for rodents represents a species being lumped, with a former article (with an automatic taxobox) being turned into a redirect, and the -1 for Tree of Life represents a TOL banner being replaced with a banner for a more specific WikiProject.
Remaining dinosaurs are Stegopodus (ichnogenus, should use {{Ichnobox}}?), Megalosaurus dunkeri (dubious species, genus maybe should be Altispinax?), Macrodontophion (dubious genus, of uncertain placement, once thought to be a dinosaur) and Avifilopluma (proposed clade for feathered animals, I'm not sure that it is generally recognized currently). Plantdrew (talk) 23:12, 5 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I just came across Template:Taxonomy/Saturniiformes which has rank set to "series" and is just below superfamily in rank. There are a few taxonomy templates for plant series (as a rank below subgenus/sectio), e.g. Template:Taxonomy/Banksia ser. Ochraceae. I know manual taxoboxes have |zoodivisio= and |zoosectio= to account for different placement of plant/animal division/section ranks in the taxonomic hierarchy. And there is a numeric value associated with the rank parameters recognized by manual taxoboxes that ensures they display the hierarchy in the right order. I guess the numeric value isn't used by automatic taxoboxes? The order in which ranks are displayed is determined solely by successive parent parameters?

Should there be a "zooseries" rank? Everything seems to be working OK with the plant/animal series templates I've linked above. I guess series isn't checked by Category:Taxonomy templates showing anomalous ranks since it seems like putting series below both superfamily and sectio would be anomalous one way or the other. Plantdrew (talk) 20:40, 31 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Oops, realized everything is NOT quite working OK. Saturniiformes is italicized by the taxonomy template (which would be correct for the plant rank). Plantdrew (talk) 20:42, 31 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Series is used inconsistently and isn't checked by Module:Autotaxobox (it's commented out on line 821). It is italicised because of Template:Is italic taxon which italicises series, subseries, and section ranks.
A zooseries rank would make sense if there was a need and it was used consistently. Template:Taxonomy/Saturniiformes is used for families Saturniidae and Lemoniidae in Bombycoidea. However, no other series are used in Bombycoidea and the template was created in 2010 with no source. The parent source doesn't use series and Lemoniidae is no longer recognised. I think it can be deleted after changing Template:Taxonomy/Saturniidae. —  Jts1882 | talk  08:40, 1 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've changed the parent on Saturniidae, so Template:Taxonomy/Saturniiformes will be unnecessary when the change propagates. —  Jts1882 | talk  08:48, 1 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've reviewed the taxonomy of Lepidoptera and cleared out all the old suprafamiliar taxa (except for a few with articles). The taxonomy template heirarchy follows van Nieukerken et al (2011)[1] at family and above, except for a few new families (which are sourced) and a couple I'm still thinking about whether to move or find an alternative source.—  Jts1882 | talk  18:05, 2 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  1. ^ van Nieukerken, Erik J.; Kaila, Lauri; Kitching, Ian J.; Kristensen, Niels P.; Lees, David C.; Minet, Joël; Mitter, Charles; Mutanen, Marko; Regier, Jerome C.; Simonsen, Thomas J.; Wahlberg, Niklas; Yen, Shen-Horn; Zahiri, Reza; et al. (23 December 2011). Zhang, Zhi-Qiang (ed.). "Order Lepidoptera Linnaeus, 1758" (PDF). Zootaxa. Animal biodiversity: An outline of higher-level classification and survey of taxonomic richness. 3148: 212–221.