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    • CommentRowNumber1.
    • CommentAuthorvaleriadepaiva
    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2020
    Dear all,
    I would like to suggest that the page of page-categories of the nLab should have a more strict structure.

    I wanted to propose something along the lines of, each page_category should be either:
    1. a mathematical object (all the theorems, definitions and constructions go there)
    2. a person or people (some 3163 pages--this is mostly ok already),
    3. books and papers, (have 3 overlapping pages, it seems:, and - some 200 pages, perhaps?
    4. fields of mathematics (Wikipedia has 72 of these) AND
    5. MISC, for whatever else people wanted to have, like jokes, or things difficult to classify.

    This would help when relating the nLab to WikiData using the property

    Does this sound sensible to you? There are only 60 page_categories, so these we could do by hand very easily, if you think this is a good idea.
    Maybe this has been discussed in the nForum before, maybe it was discarded because of traditional rules that I don't know about. If so, I would like to know the rationale. Thanks!
    • CommentRowNumber2.
    • CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2020

    I vaguely recall we had a big discussion about this years ago. I’m not opposed, just getting it done (and then maintaining it) needs some thought.

  1. Do you have a link to the old discussion David?

    it seems to me that once the 60 categories are in place, new pages should be easier to categorize.
    • CommentRowNumber4.
    • CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
    • CommentTime5 days ago

    I’d have to really go hunting for it. I only have a vague memory of it!

    • CommentRowNumber5.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTime4 days ago

    Is this what you were thinking of?

    • CommentRowNumber6.
    • CommentAuthorRichard Williamson
    • CommentTime4 days ago
    • (edited 4 days ago)

    Hi Valeria, I would suggest to go ahead with this if you feel motivated; I cannot imagine anybody objecting, as it only adds some structure and achieves some tidying up, it should not interfere with anything. If anybody has any input on something, they can always chip in. By going through pages, we may be able to do some further tidying along the way (there are some old/little linked to pages which could do with a makeover). I may be able to help with some generic changes if you tell me specifically what you want: e.g. it will probably be easier for me to handle item 3. behind the scenes to merge the relevant categories, once it is decided what exactly the end result should be.

    In short, I suggest to just go ahead if you are motivated to do so, announcing here what you are doing and if you wish to do anything which needs to be scripted/done generically.

    • CommentRowNumber7.
    • CommentAuthorRichard Williamson
    • CommentTime4 days ago
    • (edited 4 days ago)

    Once it is done, we could also consider enforcing use of categories in future in the software, or at least making a prominent request to categorise. I tend to think that as long as it does not add significant time to page creation or have other significant side-effects, any structure is good structure; people can always ignore it! We could also/alternatively add category information to the nForum posts made when editing/creating a page, so that it is easier to see where/when there are opportunities to categorise.

    • CommentRowNumber8.
    • CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
    • CommentTime4 days ago

    @Tim that may have been it. That’s quite a while ago!

    • CommentRowNumber9.
    • CommentAuthorGuest
    • CommentTime3 days ago
    Thanks everyone!

    @Richard, how structured is the categories system as currently implemented? My understand is that it's rather flat: a category X to a page, we simply include "category: X" in the source. How would one go about assigning each existing category to one of the five 'meta-categories' that Valeria proposes? Is it possible with the current software?

    More generally, would it eventually be feasible to implement a preorder structure on nLab categories? As Valeria mentions, we're currently exploring various ways to strengthen the link between the nLab and Wikidata ( or other semantic web tools, with the end goal of finding a way to create and maintain a research level category theory ontology. It would potentially be very useful if the nLab somehow encoded information such as eg. Set is an example of a category, which is an example of a mathematical object.

    Brendan Fong
  2. Hi Brendan, I was thinking just to do this manually: there are not that many existing categories on the nLab, so if someone goes through and describes how to assign each to a meta-category, as well as indicates which can be merged/tidied up, I can use a script behind the scenes to go through all the pages to make this assignment.

    As for the syntax/structure, feel free to suggest what you would like. Currently it is as you describe. But it should be fairly easy to add structure and extend the syntax. Let me know what you suggest regarding syntax.

    • CommentRowNumber11.
    • CommentAuthorRichard Williamson
    • CommentTime3 days ago
    • (edited 3 days ago)

    By the way, over the next two weeks I will probably have a little more time than usual; I am planning to try to get my rewrite of the nForum up and running, but if we settle quickly enough on what we wish to do with the categories here, I can try to make time for this as well.

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