Person DTD

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Person DTD should eventually be included in Wikipedia DTD to allow unambiguous tagging of references to persons, to compile all references to such persons. Generally it would not be authored by article authors directly, but would be added by tools doing a rough read of the article and adding tags where words like 'he', 'they', etc., referred to a person or small groups of people including the person in question. Specialists would then clean all of this up, and cross-reference it to biographies of the person, to produce a single timeline.

Eventually this could be extended to a full TIPAESA record of a person's life. The only person for whom this has actually been done in history is Muhammad, whose sira ("life") and hadiths ("sayings") and the exact circumstances under which he related each verse of the Qur'an are recorded. What's more, the historical backing of these references, or isnah, and the science of biography (ilm Ar-Rijal) that developed afterwards, led to a sophisticated early Muslim view of history that still has validity for understanding bias. So there, is every reason to believe that the scholarship and interest in doing this work for important figures is available, and valuable, especially if that person is of religious significance.

A Person DTD should not be assumed to extend to en:group-entities such as corporations or political parties or cities, even if they have legal person status in some traditions and en:legal codes. It should however be assumed to be valid for any en:hominid, e.g. Koko the Gorilla, Lucy the 'missing link' australopethicus, because they are persons too, or were. Whether non-hominids can be persons is a good question, and one we should probably avoid.

It is ridiculous to deny person status to hominids, however, since there are hominids whose status is disputed as human, e.g. human clones, people in comas, unborn fetuses, etc. - it is hopelessly political to try to draw lines about who or what is a 'human', but quite easy and scientific to say what's a 'hominid'. It also sidesteps the legal issues of human non-persons legally, i.e. women in some nations even today, slaves, illegitimate children, 'stateless' people etc.

Elements of a person DTD must include:

  • the usual and well-known name by which that person is called by third parties
  • birth and death dates in the format specified by the spacetime DTD, if known (or normal probability ranges if not). if the person is still alive, then the open-ended 'ongoing event' element shoudl be used
  • standard means of specifying parents (other persons) as mother and as father (or potential father, potential mother)
  • mates?
  • known children
  • suspected children
  • species (almost always homo sapiens, but Koko The Gorilla is a person under this definition, and she is not homo sapiens but gorilla gorilla, still within the family hominidae)
  • language(s) in which s/he communicated, e.g. Koko the Gorilla in ASL, Muhammad in Arabic, Pythagoras in ancient Greek
  • places s/he was known to visit
  • known associates (other persons, with attributes for type of relationship)
  • known affiliations, e.g. citizenship, honors, titles, esp. of en:states

From this data very complex trees of relationships could be created, e.g. en:Erdos number, en:Six degrees, en:Family trees, en:Isnah records which establish who knew who and when.