[rdfweb-dev] Relationship Schema Updated

Jim Ley jim at jibbering.com
Fri Mar 19 19:36:15 UTC 2004

"Michael Bauser" <michael at bauser.com>
> Jim Ley wrote:
> > Michael Bauser michael at bauser.com wrote in:
> >>Anthropologists have been trying for decades. The general consensus
> >>really is that the eight-fold model works best, because:
> >
> >
> > Could you cite?
> OK, I have to admit: It didn't occur to me that I would need a citation
> for that.
> http://www.umanitoba.ca/faculties/arts/anthropology/kintitle.html

I don't want a tutorial, I want to see something that tells me the 8 fold
model works, seen as it simply does not work for my family - you've since
introduced a second level of "biological/marriage/other" which begins to
show how an 8-fold model might work, but of course it doesn't in defining
public social networks (it might do a great job of describing it in a
science, but the real world isn't a science, and revealing
biological/marriage/other is something people may not be willing to do, I'll
come back to that.

> > According to you, we should be able to infer from these 8 basic things,
> > without fear, that this is a contradiction:
> >
> > Jim son JimsMother daughter JimsMothersMother
> > and
> > JimsSister daughter JimsMothersMother
> > and
> > Jim Sister JimsSister
> OK, maybe I'm confused by inconsisent spacing,

Sorry, but  I figured 1 space between each label made sense.

> but I *think* you're
> asserting that Jim is "son" to one person and "sister" to another?

No  I am saying that someone is a Sister to someone whos grandparent is the
mother of, in normal English usage she'd be my Aunt, but she's my sister,
the exact reasons why she's a sister and not an aunt could probably be
modelled with your now introduced 3 fold way, but not really

> As I said in one of my replies to Morten, there's a "storage vocabulary"
> and a "presentation vocabulary" involved in making use of kinship data.

It seems to me that you're looking at the relationship schema as a storage

> The storage vocabulary can occasionally deal with inverses (if A is
> ancestor of B, B is descendent of A), but it  *can't* deal with
> disjoints (if A is ancestor of B, B is never ancestor of A), because
> humans are more complex than that.

So if the vocabulary can't inference such things, how is the 8-fold method
supposed to work?

> If your society is cool with that, then create a vocabulary for it.

I've got one, it's the relationship schema we're just discussing.

> *This* is what anthropologists and sociologists *do* with social
> networks. Map the network. Document the native vocabulary of the
> network. Compare the "actual" network to the "ideal" network. See if the
> disjoints tell us anything interesting. *Finding* contradictions is a
> more useful goal of RDF than refusing to see them.

So you want to deliberately constrain me to give you wrong information so
you can infer things from it?

> > Except of course, the labels are what constrains the meaning, my sisters
> > daughter, and my othersisters daughter might not be cousins, yet this
> > simplistic model constrains them to be, or means I can't express my
> familial
> > relationships, and things can get considerably more complicated than my
> > family.
> So you're saying the two sister's daughters don't consider themselves
> cousins because they're not *biologically* related?

No, they don't consider themselves cousins because one considers themselves
an aunt to another, remember it was based on the contradiction I failed to
get a cross above.

> The
> relationship vocabulary has the same weakness: the children of two
> siblings will still "look like cousins" to people who define cousin that
> way. Using the lack of an *explicit* cousin connection to prove they're
> not cousins wouldn't be enough, because it presumes a data-completeness
> that we're never going to have in the real world.

No, but if we do not have a cousin property (which seemed to be your
suggestion when I replied) makes it impossible to know if they are cousins,
therefore a cousin property is needed, of course I now realise you're not
anti a cousin property existing, just anti a cousin property existing in a
schema that doesn't ground itself well enough in its cultural base.

> If you don't want
> those children mistaken for cousins, the answer isn't to *outlaw*
> inferences; it's to encode data in a way that RDF agents can make the
> right inferences.

Indeed, which requires considerably more terms than 8 !! otherwise we can't
say cousins, because 8 does not give me enough power to do that.

> If I create an RDF vocabulary that uses this axis in
> addition to the eight-relationship axis, I deal with the societal
> relationship and the biological relationship in a usable manner: The
> hypothetical FOAF-friendly PIM has *two* small dropdown boxes -- one
> with the eight relationships, and another with the three "natures"
> (abeit it with more user-friendly titles than "affinal"). It's usable,
> and it produces more explicit descriptions.

however it has problems in that you have to reveal the reasons behind your
relationships, something which you may not want to do - I want people to
know that someone is my cousin, I don't necessarily want to reveal that is
because there are lots of "Other" natures to the intermediate relationships.

> and so on, for every core relationship. Multiply that by the possible
> ordinal relationships, and I would go completely insane.

Yep, you're trying to simplify your model to make it easy to study, I'm not,
I'm trying to describe my relationships, I care about the distinctions, RDF
lets me care about the distinctions.

> As it stands now, I think the storage
> vocabulary just has to describe the eight relationships,
> affine/consaguine/fictive, and some "life event" data (at the very
> least: birth, death, marriage, adoption, and (apparently) gender
> reassignment.)

I would find this completely unusable, and you'd have to have every piece of
information available, something that's unlikely to happen,

> > Except it would infer incorrect things from my network, and that would
> > in my mind be very rude, and very dangerous.
> Well, I doubt it will kill anybody, but I understand that some people
> don't like others making inferences about them. But, as I said in my
> earlier digression, you're never going to be able to outlaw inferences
> in/from RDF. RDF was *created* to encourage inferential logic.

Yes, but you also need a mechanism to be explicit - the fact I say personA
is my Aunt should overcome any inference that she's my sister! So for that
we need an aunt relationship.



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