?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Categorisation game followup. - I know it's wonky and I don't care [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Kake

[ website | My Website ]
[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Links
[Links:| Randomness Guide to London | Open Guide to Cambridge | Snake Soup | KakeFlickr ]

Categorisation game followup. [Sep. 17th, 2004|04:36 pm]
Kake
[Tags|]

The categorisation game post is here. A followup poll to this post, related to the question of how we categorise, is here.

And here are the categorisations that people made:


  • Answers relating to meaning:

    • Long: eel, machine-gun, Satanist, stalactite. Not long: deerstalker, gearstick, headlight, key. (fluffymormegil)

    • Likely to be used in a drive-by shooting/are useful in a car/belong on an armoured jeep: gearstick, headlight, key, machine-gun. Not: deerstalker, eel, Satanist, stalactite. (bopeepsheep, rjw1, sion_a)

    • Things that would not be out of place in a car: eerstalker, gearstick, headlight, key. Things that would be surprising if found in a car: eel, machine-gun, Satanist, stalactite. (nou)

    • Things that I am sure I have seen in real life in the past three months: eel, gearstick, headlight, key. Things that I'm sure I haven't seen in the past three months, or that I can't be sure of: deerstalker, machine-gun, Satanist, stalactite. (nou)

    • Things that are often or usually attached to other things: gearstick, headlight, key, stalactite. Things that aren't: deerstalker, eel, machine-gun, Satanist. (nou)

    • Things that may be made in an engineering workshop/tools/mechanical: gearstick, headlight, key, machine-gun. Not: deerstalker, eel, Satanist, stalactite. (imc, nou, valkyriekaren)

    • Things that are held with the hand: deerstalker, gearstick, key, machine-gun. Things that are not generally held: eel, headlight, Satanist, stalactite. (nou)

    • Complex systems: eel, headlight, machine-gun, Satanist. Simple objects: deerstalker, gearstick, key, stalactite. (j4)

    • Things which are normally made of metal or have metal components: gearstick, headlight, key, machine-gun. Things which aren't/don't: deerstalker, eel, Satanist [piercings don't count!], stalactite. (j4, lnr)

    • Things you can put things in: deerstalker, eel, machine-gun, Satanist. Not: gearstick, headlight, key, stalactite. (nou)

    • Things that are likely to make an audible noise when used: gearstick, key, machine-gun, Satanist. Things which aren't: deerstalker, eel, headlight, stalactite. (j4)

    • Things that emit things: eel, headlight, machine-gun, Satanist. Things that don't: deerstalker, gearstick, key, stalactite. (nou)

    • Things that a person might go out and buy for themselves to use directly: deerstalker, eel, key, machine-gun. Things that are not bought, or are generally only bought on behalf of someone else or paid for as part of a service: gearstick, headlight, Satanist, stalactite. (nou)

    • Would cause alarm if suddenly come face-to-face with: eel, headlight, machine-gun, Satanist. Not so potentially alarming: deerstalker, gearstick, key, stalactite. (bopeepsheep)

    • Things that could be used as clubs: gearstick, headlight, machine-gun, stalactite. Things that couldn't: deerstalker, eel, key, Satanist. (nou)

    • It is theoretically possible to become impaled on: gearstick, key, machine-gun, stalactite. Not impalable: deerstalker, eel, headlight, Satanist. (bopeepsheep) (Not even a male Satanist? :) )


  • Answers relating to the form of the words:

    • Words formed from two distinct English words: deerstalker, headlight, gearstick, machine-gun. Not: eel, key, Satanist, stalagmite/stalactite. (bopeepsheep, imc, j4, lnr, sion_a, valkyriekaren)

    • Contain the letter "s"/contain the letters "st": deerstalker, gearstick, Satanist, stalactite. Don't: eel, headlight, key, machine-gun. (lnr, sion_a)

    • Contain the letter "g": gearstick, headlight, machine-gun, stalagtite [sic]. Don't:: deerstalker, eel, key, Satanist. (lnr)

    • Contain three different vowels: gearstick, headlight, machine-gun, stalactite. Don't: deerstalker, eel, key, Satanist. (lnr)

    • First 3 letters have 2 vowels: deerstalker, eel, gearstick, headlight. Not: key, machine-gun, Satanist, stalagtite (lnr)

    • Contain three syllables: deerstalker, machine-gun, Satanist, stalactite. Contain fewer than three syllables: eel, gearstick, headlight, key. (nou, sion_a)

    • Contain the same vowel twice: deerstalker, eel, Satanist, stalactite. Don't: gearstick, headlight, key, machine-gun. (lnr)

    • Appear later than the word "jam" in a dictionary: key, machine-gun, Satanist, stalactite. Appear earlier: deerstalker, eel, gearstick, headlight. (imc) (who I feel is scraping the bottom of the jam-jar here)


  • Dodgy answers:

    • Things that move quickly or slowly: deerstalker, eel, key, machine-gun. (vinaigrettegirl) (I just plain don't understand this answer.)

    • Things that are a specific type of something more general (hat, fish, gun, person): deerstalker, eel, machine-gun, Satanist. Things that can't be so easily put into a category: gearstick, headlight, key, stalactite. (nou) (You could say that a stalactite is a sort of rock formation, but I liked this categorisation too much to not mention it.)




Comments included: What an utterly horrendous set. (Agreed, but I thought if I tried picking and choosing an "acceptable" set, the idea would be lost.) Funny how more of them were to do with orthography than meaning! Not considered over all answers given :) More on this below.

Categorisation of the categorisations



The non-dodgy answers fell cleanly into two divisions, as you can see above. What other possible divisions of this set of categorisations are there? What other possible divisions of any set of such categorisations are there? At some point, is it going to be interesting to look at categorisations of categorisations of categorisations (for example, ontological vs orthographical == objective, "worth" == subjective)?

Almost all of the words were only used in one sense. I did consider "eel" as a foodstuff (things I have seen) as well as an animal (things you can put things in, things that emit things). I tried to use "key" in the musical sense but failed.

"Worth" of the categorisations



I feel that some of the categorisations are "better" than others, but I can't necessarily articulate why.

I value the ontological categorisations more highly than the orthographical ones, and in fact I only bothered to come up with one orthographical one. This is perhaps because ontological categorisations are more likely to be portable across languages (that's likelihood not definiteness - some words are untranslatable, and for example the categorisations that rely on eel being a foodstuff will not work in languages which have a different word for eel-as-animal and eel-as-food).

I liked my statement of the three-syllable categorisation better than I liked Sion's, and I liked Sion's statement of the "contains s/st" categorisation better than I liked LNR's - in each case because the boundaries of the category were being drawn more tightly.

I think I need to go read Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things again, if I can find it.

Poll #351551 Shall we play again?

Shall we play again?

Yes!
7(100.0%)
No!
0(0.0%)

I didn't play last time because...

I couldn't be bothered
0(0.0%)
It didn't look fun
0(0.0%)
I couldn't come up with any answers
0(0.0%)
I could only come up with a few answers and I was worried I'd look stupid
0(0.0%)
I was too busy and then I forgot about it
2(50.0%)
I didn't understand it
0(0.0%)
I thought I'd wait until you did it again with less icky words
0(0.0%)
THERE WASN'T A TICKYBOX
0(0.0%)

Your commentary in this post was...

Interesting
2(22.2%)
Dunno, I skipped over it
1(11.1%)
Pretentious
0(0.0%)
Uninformed
0(0.0%)
Copied out of a book, go on, admit it
0(0.0%)
Excessive
0(0.0%)
Just what I needed on a Friday afternoon
0(0.0%)
Thought-provoking, and I am just about to write you a highly interesting comment
0(0.0%)
Thought-provoking, and I would write you a highly interesting comment, but I'm just off to the pub so please poke me later
0(0.0%)


Link

Comments:
[User Picture]From: ceb
2004-09-17 09:06 am (UTC)
I'm really incredibly bad at things like this. My mental filing system just isn't set up for answering questions like 'what do these things have in common?' Object->properties is an easy enough look-up, but property->objects involves doing an object->properties look-up for all the candidate objects and remembering which ones have the property in question. If I had the objects in question in front of me it would be much easier. :-)

I did manage to find a couple of the orthographical distinctions, but as you say, they're accidents of the representation, so they seem like cheating.
(Replies frozen) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nou
2004-09-17 09:28 am (UTC)
Object->properties is an easy enough look-up, but property->objects involves doing an object->properties look-up for all the candidate objects and remembering which ones have the property in question.

I'm not sure that object->properties is an easy look-up. (I shall make a poll to examine this.) The more I consider an object, the more properties I can attribute to it - ones I hadn't thought of before just appear in my head, contexts I hadn't thought of before appear in my head, and new contexts lead to new properties.

And I'm quite sure that the way I came up with my categorisations was a different process from the one you've suggested, but I can't describe how I did it.

If I had the objects in question in front of me it would be much easier.

How about trying it with pictures from a Google images search in front of you? If you have a chance, I'd be very interested to see if this helps you come up with more answers.

I did manage to find a couple of the orthographical distinctions, but as you say, they're accidents of the representation, so they seem like cheating.

Thinking further on orthographical categorisations, I think I can divide them up further.

"Contains the letter 's'", "contains three syllables" are different kinds of categories than "contain three different vowels" and "contain the same vowel twice", and I feel again that the latter type is better. But why is it better? And how can I put into words what the difference actually is?
(Replies frozen) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ceb
2004-09-17 10:03 am (UTC)
I'm not sure that object->properties is an easy look-up.
In most people, property->objects seems to be much easier than object->property. Most people are better at generalising than me, anyway, which I think is a result of this.

How about trying it with pictures from a Google images search in front of you? If you have a chance, I'd be very interested to see if this helps you come up with more answers.
An interesting idea, but we'd have to think of some way of allowing for the effect of having had longer to think about them the second time. Hm. Maybe different objects and a time limit, repeat a few times to average out the effects of 'easier' or 'harder' object sets? (Someone else would have to find the pictures, in this case, or I'd automatically get longer to think about the with-pictures set.)

All the orthographical categorisations seem like cheating to me, except for 'Words formed from two distinct English words', which is more to do with etymology. 'Common prefix' and the like wouldn't seem like cheating either. Maybe because this means there's more likely to be a connection between the objects than them sharing a latter does?

Anyway, I shall go and witter in the other poll in a mo, but first I need cake. ;-)
(Replies frozen) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: flick
2004-09-19 03:15 am (UTC)
Ow! Alright, alright, here now!

I think that what i was going to say was that, really, it's to do with the way your brain is set up: some people are good at that kind of thing and some aren't. I'm really bad at doing it. I can see how it was done, in 99% of cases, if you show me the result, but i can't actually get that result for myself. Same with cryptic crosswords.

I think, also, that there's a difference between trying to do it objectively and trying to do it subjectively, eg the "things that would/ would not cause alarm" categorisation.

(Replies frozen) (Thread)