How I stopped worrying and learned to love the bulb

Michael Mace
Mon, 07 May 2012 00:15:56 PDT
This discussion of the definition of "bulb" is interesting.  Sort of.

The folks who work on the wiki had a long and very involved discussion about
the precise definition of "bulb."  For what it's worth, here's what I
learned from that conversation:
--It is impossible to create a precise and perfect definition for "bulb" for
our context, because there will always be a number of plants that qualify in
some ways but don't qualify in other ways.

--Therefore, you have to use a definition that has some vagueness and
flexibility to it.  That's what we wrote for the wiki.

--It's actually very good to be flexible in the wiki's definition, because
when you're running a wiki your most important resource is the enthusiasm of
the people contributing to it.  If someone is excited enough to write up a
genus or species, and it's on the borderline of being in-topic, you include
it because you want to reward the contributors.  That doesn't mean redwood
trees get counted as bulbs, but Xanthorrhoea...well, OK.  

--By the way, Xanthorrhoea has been in the wiki for quite a while, and the
world didn't end.

--You don't have to worry about being forced to discuss something here just
because it's in the wiki.  The list and the wiki are two separate things.
If people here don't want to discuss something, they won't discuss it.  The
conversation will adjust itself naturally.

I know there's a natural human desire for precision, but running a wiki (or
a discussion forum) is a lot more like playing jazz than playing orchestral
music.  Enjoy the tunes and don't worry about the sheet music.


PS: Paul, I am very jealous of your terrestrial orchids.

More information about the pbs mailing list