Subwiki:Type-based organization

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Type-based organization is one of the fundamental organizing principles of subject wikis. The core idea is that the organization and structuring of individual articles, as well as the relations between articles, should be based on the type of terms/facts the articles deal with.

For instance, all articles that deal with cities should follow a certain broad structural outline. Here, the type -- city, determines the way the article is structured as well as the way it is linked and related to other parts of the wiki.

Implementing type-based organization successfully requires good mechanisms for identifying type in a strong logical sense as well as clear ideas on how the type of an article determines its structuring.

What is a type?

The type of a term or fact is a generic pattern into which it fits. Two things are viewed as being of the same type if the same sentence (whether a question or a statement) could be framed with the two terms used interchangeably in the sentence.

Words with similar connotations as type include class and kind.

Type as genus

A dog is a type of animal; so is a giraffe. Thus, dog and giraffe share a type. The genus in this case is animal, while the specifics: dog versus giraffe, differ.

To define a particular animal, one needs to provide a differential criterion for that particular animal. For instance, one may attempt to define a dog by the differentiating criteria of being domesticated, mammalian, and more specifically, part of the wolf family.

Type of property

Some terms are used, not so much to denote specific things, but rather, properties that narrow down a general class of things to a small class. For instance, the property of being a herbivore narrows down the genus of animals, by excluding those animals that rely on other animals for food. Similarly, the property of being widely domesticated narrows down the animals further; it eliminates animals like lions and tigers while including animals like dogs and cats. The property of being able to fly eliminates dogs and tigers while allowing most birds, most insects, and bats in.

A property over a context space is something that everything in the context space either satisfies or does not satisfy. The type of a property is specified by its context space; thus a property that can be evaluated for animals is a property of animals. A property that can be evaluated for automobiles is a property of automobiles.

Type of operator or process

Certain terms define operators, processes, or mechanisms. These start from one thing (the source or domain) and go to another thing (the target or range). The type of an operator or process is often viewed in terms of the type of the source and the type of the target. Or, it could be viewed in terms of the way the process is carried out, or the goals of the process.

For instance, the process of a lion hunting, chasing and killing a deer could be viewed under the type of food acquisition processes or under the type of activities of lions or under the type of activities of deer.

Type of relation

A relation between two or more terms is typed by the nature of the terms, and the nature of the relation between them. For instance, a relation could be of the type have a common ancestor, where two species of animals are related by a common evolutionary ancestor.