[Mediawiki-l] Subpages in main namespace?

Rick DeNatale rick.denatale at gmail.com
Thu Mar 23 00:01:47 UTC 2006

On 3/22/06, Rich Morin <rdm at cfcl.com> wrote:
> At 3:18 PM -0800 3/22/06, Jan Steinman wrote:
> > Human knowledge is rife with hierarchies -- not because
> > they are "natural," but because humans invented the model.
> I agree somewhat with this, but there are many situations in
> which the universe enforces hierarchical organization.  For
> example, if you start trying to organize physical items, you
> soon run into the problem that an item can only be in one
> category (ie, container) at a time.  However, that container
> (eg, a drawer) can be contained in another (eg, a cabinet).

Be careful not to confuse containment with categorization.

Hierarchies do tend to be suited for containment modeling.  They don't
do so well with categorization.

> I believe that much of humans' use of hierarchies stems from
> this interaction between a desire to organize and the limits
> of the physical universe.

I believe that one of Lakov's observations was that people tend to
agree more on carving the world up into leaf level categories; that's
a tree and that's a bird; but that differences tend to crop up when
making hierarchies of those basic categories, making abstractions.

What seems to one person to be a perfectly natural hierarchical
structure to the universe, handed down on stone tablets by the diety,
may turn out to be completely unintuitive to another particularly one
raised in a different culture or with a different native language.

Getting to Jan's allusion to Maslov, I don't think that either
hierarchies or screws are evil.  Although a nail can serve in some of
the same roles as a screw and vice versa, it's not always completely
obvious when such a usage has crossed the line.  It's certainly best
to know when to use one vs the other, and when to switch.

Rick DeNatale

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