[PD] Question about object categorizing

João Pais jmmmpais at googlemail.com
Sat Sep 26 15:17:30 CEST 2009

> No, I know exactly what the relevancy is, I just don't enjoy it. First, a
> person tells himself/herself «it would be better if there were
> categories». Then the person looks for characteristic features of the
> elements to be categorised, so that categories can be made. Those  
> features
> have to be easy to think about. Turns out that one of the easiest  
> features
> to think about in this case, are things like: where you first learned the
> basic concept of each object class. It's a kind of microcosm of the whole
> job-title social structure. Let me give an example.

yes, that's a very good example of category-building. if it's simple,  
everyone is going to remember it.

> [lop~] is not an operation you learn in elementary-school or high-school
> math, therefore it doesn't fit in MATH. It doubly doesn't fit in math,
> because it isn't taught in a Math Department. A Math Department is a
> social structure that concentrates on any math concept that doesn't  
> belong
> to any other discipline already, because if Electrical Engineers already
> occupy the [lop~] land, it's not only redundant for Math Departments to
> claim it, it also would make Mathematicians look like Electrical
> Engineers. So not only [lop~] is not part of Math Depts, but a bunch of
> related topics are just on the border, so they get lumped into a course
> called Applied Math, which is all made of pure theory, it's just a form  
> of
> discrimination against kinds of Math that are too much in use by other
> departments. Meanwhile, Electrical Engineers would say that [lop~] is
> math, except when they get distracted by a category system. But most of
> all, for music students, [+~] is true math, whereas [lop~] is something
> magical and not math, because [lop~] is not part of what they learnt in
> courses labelled as «math» before, so it looks a lot more «audiosome»  
> than
> +~ does. This is a summary. The actual situation is more complicated.

ahhh, aren't you going too far? for what is [lop~] mostly used, for math  
or as a filter? if as a filter, then why categorize it as a math external?
following your radical assumption, there would be only 3 categories, math  
(because 50% of the externals involve some math), dataflow (because the  
other 50% of externals route/handle messages), and data structures  
(because 0,0001% of objects deal with them). do you think it would be  
easier for the "general user" (whatever that is) to find an object  
following those guidelines, than looking for "filters", "math" etc?

look at max/msp. did those categories (which are the same as here, but  
more detailed) helped or prevented people from using it?
taking your example, if we put a quizz on the list asking if [lop~] is a  
math of filter object, what do you think most people will choose?

> I'm not completely against categories... I'm trying very hard to make  
> good
> categorisations, because it's hard for me to find a categorisation that I
> can take seriously, and I'm trying to find one.

what you mean with "good" or "take seriously"? you won't want to use  
[lop~] if someone thinks that it's more used as a filter as a math object?

> At this point, I don't expect Pd's category list to change at all, so,
> depending on what it is that you're doing, it may be better to just go
> with Pd's categories, if you have any advantage in following Pd's
> categories.

I think a major overhaul of Pd's categories list (pd-van + pd-ext) is  
necessary. but that will only happen if people really want to discuss it  
and get organized. otherwise it will be only more characters traded around  
on e-mails.

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