You're right, I tend to think having a metaclass for types of deaseases would be useful, really.

Please submit your suggestions and correction on :) There is an opened RfC on adopting such basic classification basic principles things as an help page :

2015-10-17 16:25 GMT+02:00 Peter F. Patel-Schneider <>:
On 10/17/2015 12:55 AM, Thomas Douillard wrote:
>> I was a bit surprised to see class reasoning used on diseases.
> I was not aware of that, do you have links ?

See slide 38 of

>> I was a bit surprised to see class reasoning used on diseases.
>> This depends on a particular modelling methodology.
> It's not surprising as the meaning of properties is community defined (or sub
> community defined) so any community can use reasoning technology they want to
> use as which is consistent with the intended meaning of properties. As
> Wikidata do only stores statements anyone can use reasoning technologies on
> top of this that are community accepted. The drawback of this approach have
> been discussed on another thread some days ago : it could become tricky to
> understand for a simple user the path that lead to a statement addition and we
> have to be careful to always provide informations on which bot added inferred
> statements with that reasoning technology or rule from which data.

What is the community-defined meaning of subclass of and diseases then?

Here is what I see in Wikidata. breast cancer
has a subclass of
link to both disease
and thoracic cancer subclass of
is linked via equivalent property
which is the subclass relationship between classes. subclass of
has English description
all of these items are instances of those items; this item is a class of that
item. Not to be confused with Property:P31 (instance of).
which is rather confusing, but appears to be gloss of the RDFS meaning of

Someone looking at all this is thus lead to believe that subclass of
is the same as the RDFS meaning of

So diseases are classes.  They then have instances.  They can be reasoned with
using techniques borrowed from RDFS.

This is a particular modelling methodology.  It has its benefits.  It requires
a certain view of disease and diseases.  The particular instantiation of this
modelling methodology, where there is a redundant link to the top of the
disease hierarchy and that top loops back to itself, has its own benefits and

A bigger problem than the one you state, I think, is how outsiders can
determine that this modelling methodology is in place and understand it
adequately to effectively use the information or to contribute more
information.  There is nothing on the discussion pages for the various
diseases that I looked at.

The modelling methodology used here is useful in many other places, including
human occupations, creative work genres, cuisines, and sports.   Is Wikidata
uniform in applying this methodology?  If this is not the case, then how is
the use of this methodology signalled?

> I however noticed in heated recent debates that some users on frwiki were
> sensible to the argument that Wikidata only does store statements. This kind
> of users feared that Wikidata would induce an alignment of semantics of words
> and items to the enwiki semantic, They believes in the linguistic hypothesis
> that words in a language carry some kind of language dependant meaning on
> their own and feared some kind of "cultural contagion" by some kind of
> mechanism where the specific meaning of english word would contaminate the
> french word. It has of course been said many time that Wikidata was not
> focused on words and linguistic but on definitions mainly, and that one
> definition equals one item, that wikidata was the sum of all knowledge, but
> the argument that finally seemed to be effective was the one that Wikidata do
> only store statements and do not einforce constraint. It seems to be effective
> to convince them that Wikidata is indeed POV agnostic.

In my discussion above, I tried to stay away from using the human-language
descriptions, preferring an external formal definition.  Unfortunately,
Wikidata does not have an internal formal definition beyond the simple
description of the data structures.  This lack, I think, is what makes the
human-language descriptions so important in Wikidata.  My view is that a
stronger formal basis for Wikidata would help to reduce the possibility that
descriptions in dominant human languages do indeed push out the other

> 2015-10-16 19:14 GMT+02:00 Peter F. Patel-Schneider <
> <>>:
>     It's very pleasant to hear from someone else who thinks of Wikidata as a
>     knowledge base (or at least hopes that Wikidata can be considered as a
>     knowledge base).  Did you get any pushback on this or on your stated Wikidata
>     goal of structuring the sum of all human knowledge?
>     Did you get any pushback on your section on classification in Wikidata?  It
>     seems to me that some of that is rather controversial in the Wikidata
>     community.  I was a bit surprised to see class reasoning used on diseases.
>     This depends on a particular modelling methodology.
>     peter
>     On 10/12/2015 11:47 AM, Emw wrote:
>     > Hi all,
>     >
>     > On Saturday, I facilitated a workshop at the U.S. National Archives entitled
>     > "An Ambitious Wikidata Tutorial" as part of WikiConference USA 2015.
>     >
>     > Slides are available at:
>     >
>     >

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