Discussing ontology and the internet

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Last edit: 18:07, 13 November 2009

I'm not sure we're all talking about the same thing, hrmm. From my research into the field on Wikipedia and in reading the family of linked articles that branch outward from Shirky's, I think I've come to an understanding of the meanings of the terms "ontology", "taxonomy", and "folksonomy".

taxonomy
This is the umbrella term for the other two concepts. Taxonomy is the science/art of classifying things, of putting things into categories. (It began with biological classifications)
A taxonomist asks, "What makes a thing what it is?"
ontology
This is the structure within the taxonomy. In other words, ontology is the hierarchy, signifying relationships between the categories, which can augment the meaning of them, but doesn't define categories in any other way.
An ontologist asks, "How are these things related to each other, and how can I represent the big picture of these relations in a way that people can understand?"
folksonomy
This term describes the method in which a thing is classified. It also suggests a distinctive lack of ontology (structure). To this point, folksonomy does not appear to be defined as lacking structure, merely that it has not had any, traditionally. What I have read suggests that this is because it has not been feasible to divert resources into guiding the process in any way.
A folksonomist (read as: you and me) asks, "How can I describe this so that myself and others can find it when necessary?"

Does everyone else see these terms being defined this way?

Here are a list of the articles I have been reading:

The shame of it is that I can't seem to find anything more contemporary than a few years ago. The conversation is very old by internet standards, and worse, the debate doesn't seem to have run its full course.

About the "develop method" task, I wasn't thinking that was so much about proceduralising, as it was about discussing how we would keep track of these interactions and issues, whether it's a suggest or direct sort of communication, maybe providing a template that links to tutorials and help pages as well as providing some brief instruction on the issue.

Weight of suggestion - in both cases, each situation needs to be evaluated on an individual basis. Did the author mean to spell "mispelled" as "misspelled"? Absolutely. Did she mean to write "neighbor" or "neighbour"? That's something needs to be discussed. Does a resource on long division belong in the maths branch of the category structure? Definitely. Which age group based category does it belong in? Well, that depends on what country curriculum it was written for, so discuss it. If the author is a part of a school organisation, does the resource belong in the school organisation's category? Maybe, maybe not: ask.

If you're asking if we can make an author do something related to categories, then I'd swiftly answer, "no way!" But can we add categories without asking permission, I'd say, "why not?" Adding categories does not affect the resource in any way, nor can it negatively affect the way in which a category is found. It's in removing them that issues can arise, especially if the author's organisational intent doesn't match up with a category administrator's ideals. Removing categories should always be discussed, and I don't think we should give ourselves the right to remove categories without the author's permission.

Developing a procedure for offering help and suggestions is part of our task list. I don't believe we have one, just yet.

EDIT: Apparently I forgot to complete some paralleled points I had meant to make! I added them in (the questions in the definitions section)

Jesse Groppi (talk)23:14, 4 November 2009

Jesse - WOW - you have done an amazing job on this! I have learned sooo much. Thanks!

Vtaylor (talk)19:35, 5 November 2009

Thank you very much, Valerie, but I think you deserve the credit for having brought it up in the first place!

Jesse Groppi (talk)18:08, 13 November 2009