Talk:arbitrary

Return to "arbitrary" page.

Usage notesEdit

Does anyone disapprove of my usage notes on arbitrary? Gregcaletta 12:19, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

I agree more with what you said, but I think we can explain that meaning by just reworking the definition and using a good example sentence. I tried fixing it up a bit, I think it looks pretty good now as the second and third senses were pretty much the same. Scott Ritchie 20:23, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, good, it looks more concise now. I don't like the "sometimes random" bit so I will replace it with "nearly random". "Sometimes random" does not fit the example because the choice to make 18 the legal age of adulthood is not "random". I also think it is important to note we only tend to say "arbitrary decision" or "arbitrary choice", for example it seems wrong to say "an arbitrary cow" or "an arbitrary idea", so I am trying to think of a way to incorporate this. Gregcaletta 05:30, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
I have changed around some stuff just to see what you think. You can change it back if you like. Gregcaletta 05:35, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Number of definitionsEdit

I moved the Stalin example to where I think it belongs. Maybe that is all that was bothering me. DCDuring TALK 15:32, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I've added 2 senses. The second overlaps with what is now 3 and may fit that usage example better. DCDuring TALK 02:46, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, they seem better merged. Scott Ritchie 23:51, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
The 3rd sense is about an individual's motives. The first and second are about the impact on others of the overall situation. The definitions should probably not combine motivation and consequence points of view, though they may, in fact, be combined in actual situations, because in some situations one or the other would be relevant, but not both. DCDuring TALK 23:59, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
That's still unclear to me, could you maybe make a new example sentence? Scott Ritchie 21:11, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
I've reduced the number of definitions to three. I don't think five are necessary. I think that "Unrestrained by law; tyrannical" is just a special case of (2) "Determined by impulse rather than reason; heavy-handed", which is more general. I don't think arbitrary ever specifically means "tyrannical". If someone can provide that shows this, then fine; but I think the example shows than "arbitrary" can sometimes be applied to a a thing which happens also to be tyrannical, but that is never the meaning of the word.Gregcaletta 09:05, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Other good general dictionaries Merriam Webster, Random House Unabridged, Encarta, OED, Collins, Longmans (See OneLook.com for some of these and others.) have 3-5 senses/subsenses. With your deletion Wiktionary would have 2, excluding the mathematical sense. Reducing the number of senses is rarely the way to go. Normally we prefer to submit a sense to the RfV or RfD process. Inserting {{rfv-sense}} at the beginning of a sense line and clicking on the plus after saving to give a brief explanation means that someone will have to get attestation, real examples of the usage. In the course of doing that they may adjust wording. The advantage is that they are working from facts possibly beyond their own experience, which is highly desirable for a language of broad use like English. DCDuring TALK 11:50, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
OK, sorry, I'll do that next time. I am happy for anyone to add more senses but I don't see the point if we don't also have examples which show that the word has that specific meaning and cannot be covered by the three definitions we already have, thus showing that the extra sense is not redundant. If some of the senses are redundant, then reducing the number of senses is always the way to go. I am also happy to discuss whether or not they were redundant on this discussion page. Gregcaletta 02:26, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
I looked at some of the definitions that the other online dictionaries gave. One I saw had five senses, but the didn't correspond to the senses we had up here. One sense that many included is the legal sense, however, I think that is covered anyway by the first sense. We really only need specific legal definitions for words if the legal sense is different to the original sense. In any case, our ultimate goal is to create a dictionary, which is better than other online dictionaries, otherwise there is not much point. Gregcaletta 02:34, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
Last modified on 12 September 2009, at 02:34