I have only recently begun my editorial duties and would love to get some input on an issue I have been considering. I have a professional background in proofreading and copy editing and one of the things that I really wanted to be able to improve on BugGuide was the consistency of formatting and information provided on the site. While there are many issues that I think could use improvement, there are two which I would really like to put some work in on at the moment.
1) I would like to see ALL of the common names standardized to use initial caps. As it currently stands, there seems to be three different approaches being used by various editors -- all initial caps, some initial caps, and no capitalization at all. As a hypothetical example, a user might see a common name such as "Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle" represented in any one of three ways depending on which editor created the page:
Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle
Swamp Milkweed leaf beetle
swamp milkweed leaf beetle
I believe the most correct application for this site would be to always use initial caps.
2) I know there has been some long-standing controversy over whether or not to use alphabetization as a method for organizing taxonomic data. I do not wish to revisit the issue, but I was under the impression that there had been some agreement to at least order species alphabetically within a genus, and also perhaps to order genera alphabetically as well. (For instance, please see step #8 of Robin McLeod's article Page Creation Tips
, regarding taxonomic housekeeping.) I have seen MANY instances where this protocol has not been followed and it leaves me wondering if the alphabetization is being contended or if some editors are simply not following through when creating new pages.
My primary goal is to attempt to improve the global consistency of the site, not to stir up trouble. I do not wish to make the mistake that many new editors have in the past of instituting multiple, wide-ranging changes throughout the site without seeking input from the other members of the community. I will not begin making any of the changes I have detailed above without receiving a fair bit of support from others first. Any advice on how I should proceed would be sincerely appreciated. Thank you!