Structural Ontology

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Structural What?[edit]

Ontology. Don't be afraid, it just means "theory of knowledge."

In the How To Live Wiki we are tracking each object - a technology, or a best practices guide or what have you - in a whole range of ways. We want to know if the information is about an open source or proprietary solution, whether the concept is just an idea or has been used in the field for five or ten years with great success, and so on.

Our "theory of knowledge" helps by providing clean, well defined boxes into which objects can be placed, enhancing the accessibility of our knowledge about them. While summarizing "15 years of trials in four continents, with mixed successes in cold climates" into the simple statement Category:Proven is an oversimplification, if what you need to know is "are there any mature technologies which solve our problem?" it allows you to discard everything in Category:Speculative and Category:Experimental and focus on proven solutions first.

In the same way that Ruby on Rails is Opinionated Software (software which encodes (hopefully) sensible decisions made by the programmers) the How To Live Wiki Structural Ontology is an Opinionated Ontology™ - an ontology that encodes the beliefs and opinions of the people using and enriching it on a daily basis. If we decide that it is important to divide up projects into those which can be done using common materials found in poor regions, and those which require hard to find items, we are expressing an opinion about what is important enough to divide our knowledge base into piles for.

Our initial ontology is outlined on this page. Please keep the ontology entries themselves clean (bare of all content except the categories which each item is part of) by putting all explanatory text on this page.

Domains of Application[edit]

Most ideas that are relevant to Americans planning a rural retreat are useless to refugees in the Sudan. To help keep some kind of a lid on where an idea is generally targeted, we have a rough-and-ready division of the human condition into some general categories.

Intellectual Property Status[edit]

Although your 'writing' about a project is under the GNU FDL if it is on this site, the project itself may well not be under an open license. We need to know that :)

Development Status[edit]

Quick and dirty way of expressing how far along the path to reality this item is. Have no fear of flagging things as "speculative" even if they seem really promising.

I expect this set of categories to expand rapidly to cover special conditions like "in field testing now" or "current UN standard practice."