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User talk:gracefool/What is a category?

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If categories are meant to be sets, not trees, then what can we use for trees? I agree that categories are not well designed for tree-like data, but I thought this was going to be fixed, eventually. anthony (see warning) 20:44, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Sets are trees, but more flexible. They represent tree-like data, but are not strict hierarchies. ··gracefool | 03:50, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I'm not sure "sets" and "tree" are in the same domain that they can be compared in this way. But I'm fairly sure I know what you're getting at, so I'll ignore this. My point is, we need some way to put meta-data into Wikipedia. We need to be able to mark an article as being about a baseball player, not just about something related to baseball players, to facilitate automated searches (give me a list of all baseball players, give me a list of all baseball players born in Venezuelo, etc). The category system, as built, does not enforce this very well, and because of this people tend to create combo categories rather than singular ones. For instance, we put Bobby Abreu into category:baseball players, category:Venezuelan sportspeople, and Category:Philadelphia Phillie players (among others), while he should be in just category:Venezuelan people [sic] and category:Philadelphia Phillie players. The category of Venezuelan sportspeople would then be a combination Venezuelan people and Sportspeople or their descendants (in this case Phillies is under "Baseball players by team" (!), which is under "Baseball players", which is under "Sportspeople by sport" (!), which is under "Sportspeople"). We need to do away with the whole notion of "Sportspeople by sport"/"Sportspeople by country" and "Baseball players by team"/"Baseball players by position". In a perfect world we could encode the fact that all baseball players have teams and positions, all sportspeople have sports, and all people have countries, but as an adequete interim solution we can keep this data freeform. anthony (see warning) 11:04, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)

It's pretty obvious that we at least need an intersection function. ··gracefool | 00:32, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)



I really don't understand how sets are less POV than hierarchies. Your argument seems to be somewhat fundamental--and seems to assume that there is some single hierarchical system at work in Wikipedia (which I've not seen evidence of yet--seems to me to be more like several systems going at once). But at the most basic level of the article and the category--the POVness is really unrelated to whether it is a set or hierarchy. Are you perhaps suggesting that POV categories such as Category:Alcoholics or Category:Dictators are somehow less POV with sets rather than hierarchies? Any sort of categorization implies drawing lines between things and sorting on some sort of criteria which inherently has the potential for POV, regardless of whether there is a hierarchy in place or is based on sets. Seems to me that some degree of hierarchy is more user-friendly than simply lumping an article into every possible category. I don't think that having an article belong to lots of nonhierarchical categories is very helpful. It seems that is a better function for lists than of categories. olderwiser 02:06, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Sets are basically hierarchies with less limits. Yeah, the page isn't very clear - I assumed people know what I mean when I talk about sets. I'm basically arguing for less limits and less of a "one true hierarchy", which some people seem to want. ··gracefool | 02:32, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)