Eurocentrism, incorrect unit abbreviations, and proprietary Royalist Engish terms

Hi all,

I have a few threads of feedback:

1. The schema is littered with incorrect abbreviations of American units.

   - In the Vehicle schema <>, for cargoVolume,
   it gives FTQ as the abbreviation for cubic feet.
   - For fuelCapacity, it gives GLL for gallons.

I couldn't find any reference on the web that gave these abbreviations, so
I'm stumped where they came from. Cubic feet can just be written as cubic
feet, or cubic ft., or ft³.

And gallon is abbreviated gal.

For fuelConsumption, the schema doesn't even try to account for the US, and
only refers to a European measure (liters per 100 km). (The US measure is
miles per gallon, abbreviated as MPG.)

2. Which leads to a related observation. The schema is vividly Eurocentric,
in that it seems designed around European norms rather than American ones.
This is odd, since sponsored mostly by American search
companies, and there are 325 million people in the US vs. 65 million in
Britain, for example.

Since the schema is in the English language, and the user base will be
overwhelmingly American, I think it's more appropriate that we use American
English by default, unless there's a contextual reason to use Royalist
English. Here are some examples:

CampingPitch <> is not a term Americans will
be familiar with. It's a Royalist* term.

Under Car, there are but two properties (from Car). I would expect these to
be important, fundamental properties at the right level of ontological
abstraction, but rather they are:

acrissCode – this is a coding system used by European car rental
businesses. The description is so deeply Eurocentric that it doesn't even
mention Europe, or the fact these codes are only used in Europe. It's as if
the rest of the world doesn't exist. Any codes that are only used in
certain countries or continents should be identified as so encumbered.

roofLoad – this is the second of the two core properties from Car. And
again it has unit errors, this time across the board. It claims that a
kilogram is abbreviated KGM, and pounds as LBR. The SI abbreviation for
kilogram is kg, and for American customary units, pounds are lbs. This can
be confirmed in any appropriate reference, including Wikipedia.

Note also that roofLoad is likely to be a European concern – Americans
don't talk about it, and it's never advertised by carmakers here. In any
case, we have properties for Car, and they are a European rental coding
system and roofLoad. The Car schema is in pretty bad shape.

There are a lot more errors in the Schema, including repetitions of the
bizarre, incorrect unit abbreviations.

3. The English-only instantiation of also raises some important
long-term questions. Do you plan to expand or mirror into other
major languages (French, Spanish, German, Russian, Simplified Chinese,
Japanese, Korean, etc.)? Or is it meant to be mostly Western focused? That
still implicates some European languages. Moreover, if we create
for country-specific languages like French and German, we'll need to be
sure to avoid the mistakes in the current schema, and have the French
version littered with British assumptions, for example.

In summary, I think there are lots of problems with the schema right now,
from bizarrely incorrect units, sections that do not contemplate the
existence of the United States, and messy structures and hierarchies that
do not meet normal ontological – or just logical – standards.

Is the team too small? Is it perhaps based in Europe? I'm happy to help.
I'm working on a metadata schema for scientific research right now, and a
couple of other schemas that I might propose for inclusion in
In any case, I'm happy to help. I can look for pull request opportunities,
and you might want to just hire me – I'm a social scientist who
specializes intellectual
and cultural diversity
and how it helps science and teams. It would probably help to have someone
on the team who knows mainstream American norms, with a rural background,
who isn't white, who loves and knows cars very well, as well as ontology in
general. won't reach its full potential if it's run by a handful
of urbanites in the Bay Area, Europe, etc. There would be too much cultural
sameness and bias, and giving semantics to the web is a job for a
culturally diverse team.


Joe Duarte, PhD
Phoenix, AZ, USA

* By Royalist English, I mean that which is spoken in countries where they
bend the knee to the underemployed fashion models of the House of Windsor.

Received on Wednesday, 4 July 2018 07:54:45 UTC