Definition vote please (Was: Re: Draft draft 0.04
thomas at astro.umd.edu
Fri Feb 8 09:13:34 PST 2008
On Friday 08 February 2008 10:44:18 am Rob Seaman wrote:
> Alasdair made lots of good comments (the document is in good hands):
> > As someone with no background in astronomy, I find that I do not
> > understand a lot of the labels, this is to be expected. However, one
> > of the use cases we are trying to satisfy is that an astronomer who
> > specialises in one field can understand the specific terms used in
> > another field. So, for the general terms like planet, satellite,
> > spiral galaxies, it does seem a bit pointless having a definition
> > that explains these terms, however for more specific terms it would
> > be essential for cross field understanding and therefore all terms
> > should have definitions for good practice.
> Wouldn't better practice be to omit definitions the WG regards as
> pointless? :-)
Sure, but in a turn of Seaman-esque logic, since most (of those
who have responded on this topic) view them as useful, then I
guess they will go in.
> There is also a scale problem, particularly in astronomy. A "galaxy"
> isn't the same thing to all people, for all purposes. A stellar
> astronomer (supposedly the typical class of astronomer) can't see the
> forest for the trees. The scale of a galaxy is many times too large
> to matter. On the opposite end of the spectrum (barely qualifies as a
> pun), a cosmologist will treat entire clusters of galaxies as raisins
> in rising bread dough. The scale of a galaxy is many times too
> small. No one brief description will span down from treating galaxies
> like nutmeg swirling on eggnog in brownian motion, to the Larry Niven
> regime of tens of thousands of "Known Spaces" within our own beloved
> candy bar.
How one uses the term really isn't relevant to the discussion.
Taking from the parable, while the blind men all describe the
elephant differently, they agree that it is an elephant.
At any rate, I think you have really missed the point. All we
are looking to do is identify the meaning of the term , *in the
context of the IVOAT*, so that we catch any problems in orthogonal,
duplicate meanings (the "Coma" example having come up a couple
of times to illustrate the nature of the problem).
Please get away from trying to argue we don't want to create a
traditional dictionary which has an effective domain of "everywhere".
We all agree we don't what to do that (I think). But that is *not* the
exercise we are discussing here, which is to short out duplication in
means between tokens in a restricted domain (the IVOAT).
At any rate, you have already agreed that:
1> we put in short definitions to the vocabulary as time allows,
2> definition work will not hold up a draft
So I don't see the problem you have then with this part of the project
(unless you are feeling that you will be compelled to write definitions
or edit them. Is that the case? Great!).
I have already spent more time, defending every possible aspect of
trying to do this, that I could have probably put in a good 500 or so
definitions and sorted out some degenerate tokens. THAT would be
productive, this discussion/argument is quickly becoming otherwise.
How about this, *lets stop discussing this*. Could we vote on whether
to do this (add definitions) or not? I think my vote is clear in this matter.
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