Sythyry (sythyry) wrote,

[Theory Thursday #1, part 2]

Mirrored from Sythyry.

Thanks, truly, for everyone who answered my last post. I am trying to thrash this out, and I don’t have very many people around that I can safely talk to about it. I appreciate the discussion — I appreciate the direct challenge to some of my basic principles, even. I do not promise to agree with anything you say, but I will try to be an intellectually honest little lizard, and try to understand them at least.

I am not sure quite how to go about this, though.

There are at least two sensible approaches.

First, I might have mis-classified myself in my current (and correct) classification system. I had somewhat assumed that in my previous post, but many of you have challenged me on it, so I am willing to consider the possibility that this is the wrong question altogether.

Or Second, my current classification system might be incorrect, in a lesser or greater degree. (Example ‘lesser’: modify the definition of ‘traff’ to allow some same-species interest. Example ‘greater’: toss the whole thing out, and simply rank a person’s possible interest in each of the eight prime species on a scale from 1-12.)

But I can’t see all the way to picking a new classification system right now. Before that, I should at least try to think of what makes a good classification system. Here are a few thoughts from a distinctly dazed dragonet:

  1. Conciseness: it has as few categories as possible.
  2. Simplicity: Each category is well-described by a simple phrase.
  3. Accuracy: it describes people well; in particular, nobody is in two categories.
  4. Ethnocentricity: it makes sense in terms of prime people and culture
  5. Canonicality: it is, in a sense that I cannot currently define, defined sensibly. (E.g., a system with “likes mammals” and “likes non-mammals” is more canonical than “likes Cani and Rassimel” and “likes the other six species”.)
  6. Usefulness: it is useful, e.g., for telling who I should admit to Castle Wrong on the basis of romantic preferences.

Bearing in mind that my current system scores well on all of these save, perhaps, accuracy. [Bard adds 'and canonicality' for reasons of its own. -bb]

Addendum: Tarfnie

(Tarfnie’s situation was rather more complicated than it might have seemed from my brief description. The Considerable Drama part of it include a number of regrettable incidents from nearly everyone involved, and I might have expelled Tarfnie — or Yowdon — on the basis of violence. The observation that Tarfnie was not traff and Yowdon was did help my decision. One or both of them had to go, though. I grant that several aspects of the situation continue to trouble me, and that I did not behave particularly well myself: but it was not so simple or wicked as discovering that Tarfnie was cissy and immediately tossing him out.)

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