Please do not re-click a link while waiting for a page to load. (It’s slower and degrades site speed for all users.)
To get images for machine learning, see MO Images for Machine Learning


When: 2008-08-19

Collection location: Forest near Elgin St., Pembroke, Ontario, Canada [Click for map]

Who: Paul Derbyshire (Twizzler)

No specimen available

Green wood very distinctive, and what may be a small fruit-body is visible at left. There is also an agaric growing here (obs. 10693).

Species Lists


Please login to propose your own names and vote on existing names.

= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
Paul, you didn’t do the microscopy.
By: Alan Rockefeller (Alan Rockefeller)
2016-06-29 00:24:48 -03 (-0300)

So you don’t get to call it Chlorociboria aeruginascens.

This isn’t about
By: Paul Derbyshire (Twizzler)
2016-06-28 12:58:18 -03 (-0300)

the views of the community. Far from it. This is about one person deciding the observation should have name X and deciding to make it be so by hook or by crook, regardless of the views of the community. And again, as soon as he voted “As If!” for a name with better-than-even odds of being correct he stepped off the path of honesty. Honest people don’t give a more negative vote than the evidence warrants just to force the outcome they desire. And Newman is apparently a published researcher. In such circumstances, forcing the data to fit his notion of what it should be, heedless of anything else, would be a serious misconduct. Here, unfortunately, it’s just business as usual apparently …

With all due respect Paul,
By: Rand Workman (Ranmofod)
2016-06-28 11:52:29 -03 (-0300)

I believe that you may be looking too far into this.
You, yourself state that the original votes were “I’d call it that”/ “Could be”. The only reason for using “As If” was when you (the owner of the obs) “pushed back”.
Each of these actions or comments or name changes brings your obs to the top of the Log. It seems reasonable that more users will see this now and potentially have input if they so feel inclined. Since the name change DOES reflect the views of the community, it is also reasonable that they DO vote on it, I would/will if it were necessary.
Looking at both the species in question, there are relatively few obs that actually prove their species ID, and others are putting up similar arguments. This is not about you or me or them, this is about Chlorociboria

If it were an isolated incident
By: Paul Derbyshire (Twizzler)
2016-06-28 09:12:20 -03 (-0300)

then I might dismiss it as such. Alas, it is part of an ongoing pattern of behavior by Newman that’s lasted years now.

Furthermore, your suggestion that it could be one other species suggests a 50/50 chance, which is inconsistent with Danny’s vote of “As If!”. That’s if those are really separate species, rather than two spellings (or one __mis__spelling) of the name of one species. IMO, a vote of “As If!” should ordinarily only be used if it’s absolutely most-definitely not the name in question.

And what is your innocuous explanation for Danny calling a friend to come and double the power of his votes? I can’t think of any innocent explanation for that behavior.

The point is, whether Danny has a valid reason for preferring “Chlorociboria sp.” over “Chlorociboria aeruginascens” for this observation, he is nominally given one vote. One person, one vote. If others disagree, so be it. Danny’s behavior indicates that he has a different attitude toward the voting system: “I think I’m right, so by golly I’m going to force the website to say the consensus is what I think it should be, and to hell with letting it reflect an actual consensus that includes the actual opinions of other people here.” So far as I am aware, acting like that violates at least the intent behind the design of the voting system, if not the actual terms of service of this website.

Note that I could call a friend of my own, or create a sock puppet account and conceal its IP address behind a proxy, to do some ballot box stuffing of my own, but I don’t and I won’t. I refuse to stoop to that level. If Danny wants to control the “consensus” on this observation so badly, then I will concede rather than go that far — but everyone should be aware that Danny’s actions bring the voting system, and potentially this website, into disrepute, and raise questions about other IDs on the site: do they really reflect the mix of opinions of various human beings, or do they represent the opinions of just one or a small number who have gamed the system in some manner to suppress the effects of other voices? Does a name with four “I’d Call It That” votes and one “Doubtful” actually have a 4-1 not-quite-unanimous consensus in its favor, or does it just mean one of two disputants is willing to stoop to lower levels than the other one in order to “win” an argument?

Of course, all I have is circumstantial evidence that Danny is doing anything shady (beyond the demonstrable fact that he gave an “As If!” vote to a name with at least a 50% chance of being correct); but it is very strong circumstantial evidence, based on the timing of events: I push, a few minutes later he pushes back, I push again, he pushes back again, I push again, and a couple minutes later suddenly a third person just happens to amble along by these same eight observations and just happens to agree with Danny about every one of them?

Incidentally, I read the user profile information for both Danny and his pal, and that information indicates that both should be expected to behave in less underhanded ways, especially on a site like this one.

But the fact is, an honest person might initially have proposed “Chlorociboria sp”, voted that “I’d Call It That”, and voted “C. aeruginascens” “Could be”, but would then have left it at that. The moment he reacted to my voting “Could be” for the “Chlorociboria sp” name by downvoting “C. aeruginascens” with “As If!”, he ceased to be behaving honestly and began to be engaging in a tit-for-tat contest of wills rather than reasoned behavior. At that moment he proved his attitude not to be “Well, you think it’s this and I think it’s that” but rather “I think it’s that, so screw you, and the hell with ‘consensus’”. And therein lies the problem.

And the above, of course, ignores the question of why he would suddenly dredge up eight old observations of mine and start proposing names and changing his votes on those observations after years of inactivity for all of them and apropos of, apparently, nothing. That isn’t exactly a normal pattern of use by a normal user with normal motivations, is it? Looks more like cyberstalking to me.

When was the last time you used Advanced Search to find all observations with name X by user Y solely for the purpose of systematically questioning Y’s IDs of name X? Certainly it suggests his reason for arguing that it’s not X has little to do with the contents of the observations and a whole lot to do with their being Y’s observations instead of someone else’s, which in turn suggests less than exemplary motives.

And the only alternative explanation I can think of to that stalkerish behavior is if someone decided to question all IDs of name X period, again independently of the specifics of the observations, and at the cost of hours or even days of obsessively clicking through 50,000 pages of search results. Neither seems like normal usage, and both suggest, at a bare minimum, that someone has way too much free time.

Perhaps the site should try to detect if a single user (or users at a single IP, with maybe exemptions for the public-facing IPs of large institutions with multiple users, such as universities) is systematically going through large numbers of search results doing something repetitive and start throwing captchas at them? It would slow down and deter an obsessive manually clicking on zillions of links, and stymie anyone who went so far as to write a bot to automate downvoting their enemies’ IDs or other such anti-social behavior.

In either case it might improve the SNR of the proposed names and votes on the site, as the behaviors that would be discouraged are ones that necessarily add noise rather than signal, since thoughtless mass-proposing-and-voting cannot conceivably do otherwise. The only legitimate activity that might be inconvenienced would be if taxonomists decided two names described a single species, and the site already furnishes a less tedious and altogether superior tool for that use-case, which is to make the names synonyms and deprecate one. Every other case, such as if a single name formerly regarded as just one species gets split into two by the taxonomists, requires considering each individual observation for whether it should go on one side or the other of the split or whatever, and that need for individual case-by-case attention is incompatible with the sort of rapid-fire blind voting that is at issue here.

There is a very good reason
By: Rand Workman (Ranmofod)
2016-06-28 06:26:57 -03 (-0300)

for this and a few other obs (one of mine included)
to be labled by the genus, not the species. Without microscopy there is no real discernable difference between Chlorociboria aeruginascens and Chlorociboria aeruginosa . This is not my, Danny’s or anyone else’s opinion, it is scientific fact.
The only reason that I am piping in is because you say that you are unaware of another possible species that this could be.
Here is one link, and there are many other references that are available to confirm that this is not a personal vendetta or a conspiracy.

And what, exactly …
By: Paul Derbyshire (Twizzler)
2016-06-28 05:43:06 -03 (-0300)

… is that supposed to mean?

I note that you still have not furnished evidence to support your claim that it’s not C. aeruginascens. Nor have you tried to excuse calling in a favor from a confederate to circumvent “one person, one vote”, thus violating the spirit, if perhaps not the letter, of the rules here. Perhaps that’s your tacit admission that you have no such evidence, and no such excuse?

all hail the Derbyshire!
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2016-06-28 03:22:00 -03 (-0300)
I find it even more interesting…
By: Paul Derbyshire (Twizzler)
2016-06-28 02:10:29 -03 (-0300)


a) Either there are now three such people here, or one of them feels so strongly that all of my IDs are automatically wrong just because of who authored them as to feel it acceptable to create a sock puppet account to Sybil-attack the vote; and

b) They are so invested in this pet project of making it look like I’m wrong about every ID that they coordinate their efforts to gang up on me.

I mean, just look at the chain of events here. First, out of the blue Danny suddenly gets it into his head to dispute all of my Chlorociboria aeruginascens observations. He doesn’t suggest any other particular species it might be, or give any reasons (besides that I was the one who suggested the ID) to suspect it’s not Chlorociboria aeruginascens. He just votes for it to be something else instead, giving a very high vote for just the genus and adding a lower vote of “could be” for my proposal. Systematically on all 8 of my observations of this species. Then I come along to investigate what happened and find that Danny has been up to his usual tricks, so I decide turnabout is fair play and vote “could be” on his name proposals. Fair enough — he may think for whatever (unspecified!) reason that it’s more likely to be a different member of the genus (not that I’ve ever even heard of any other member of this genus), but I think it’s more likely to be exactly what it says on the tin.

So he comes back after a quite short time and actually downvotes my IDs with “As If!”, not that there’s any evidence that it absolutely can’t be that species. Turnabout being fair play, I return the favor. And now if he were working alone he’d be stuck.

But he’s not. As soon as he sees notifications that the observations are back to a consensus of C. aeruginascens, he (and I may be being charitable here as to what he actually did) phones a friend to come here and systematically upvote his preferred ID on these eight observations.

Behavior that looks a lot less like trying to come to any kind of scientific consensus than it does like schoolyard bullying.

Helpful hint: scientific questions are not resolved by majority opinion, but by evidence. They are certainly not resolved by “who can get a bigger clique to act as a voting bloc”. They are not resolved by schoolyard tactics of “OK, if I can’t beat you by myself I’ll get a couple of other big kids to come help”.

Danny, please take a step back and think about your behavior on this site, and take a deep look at your own motivations. Why do you feel so strongly that this should not be identified as C. aeruginascens that you believe your concerns override the intent behind the voting options, so that you have no qualms abusing the “As If!” vote on a proposed name that’s very likely accurate and certainly has not been ruled out on evidence, and indeed so strongly that you feel that actually cheating outright by stuffing the ballot box is a lesser sin than letting my identification stand as the consensus?

Even if you have nearly airtight evidence that this is not C. aeruginascens, I’d submit that resorting to such tactics to “defeat your opponent” (when this is not supposed to be a contest in the first place, BTW) is dishonest and will only end up sullying the credibility of all of your ID proposals and votes. That you refuse to disclose this evidence, even when it’s directly requested (and assuming that it even exists), only makes things even worse. (And if it does not exist, well, then there is absolutely no excuse for your behavior whatsoever, as it can’t even be considered well-intentioned extremism anymore, but merely extremism.)

I find it interesting …
By: Paul Derbyshire (Twizzler)
2016-06-28 00:08:29 -03 (-0300)

… that there are no fewer than 2 users at this site who will, every few weeks, spontaneously run a search on all of my observations under some name to systematically downvote my IDs on every matching observation, apropos of nothing: no new evidence of any sort that might prompt such a thing, and no new activity that would have brought the old observations to their attention. In other words, two people every so often proactively search for some subset of my observations with the apparent motive of picking a fight.

I find that odd, and sad.