On Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 8:40 AM, Samuel Klein <meta.sj@gmail.com> wrote:

Why do you want categories rather than structured data about gender,
religion, and race?

Because that structured data would embody even stronger assumptions that the current categorisation system? Gender, religion and race are self-defined on en.wiki; you'd have to get the data first and then prove that your structure didn't contradict any of the self-definitions.

Coming from a Western, English-language point of view it's very easy to create structures that declare groups of people such as fa'afafine incapable of existing. At least with the categories that we have at the moment we have substantial room for local redefinition of terms.

A great example of this is the perennial proposal to import biographical details from some library system (usually the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek one), when they have a different definition of gender to en.wikipedia.