Relationships != finite

More evidence that human interaction cannot be reduced to Boolean algebra (or binary math, or quantum physics, or any other course in the catalog): Clay Shirky writes,

Behold RELATIONSHIP, a vocabulary for describing relationships between people.

I don’t know if I’m the one to shoot these particular fish in this particular barrel, since both mme. boyd and Herr Weinberger are more eloquent than I on the subject of of making the tacit explicit, but this thing is self-critiquing.

Here, just in case you were wondering, is how you should be characterizing your relationships with one another:

friendOf, acquaintanceOf, parentOf, siblingOf, childOf, grandchildOf, spouseOf, enemyOf, antagonistOf, ambivalentOf, lostContactWith, knowsOf, wouldLikeToKnow, knowsInPassing, knowsByReputation, closeFriendOf, hasMet, worksWith, colleagueOf, collaboratesWith, employerOf, employedBy, mentorOf, apprenticeTo, livesWith, neighborOf, grandparentOf, lifePartnerOf, engagedTo, ancestorOf, descendantOf, participantIn, participant

Describing relationships with a controlled vocabulary can sound credible right up to the moment you see the vocabulary, but this thing is a mess. …