Uživatel:Dan Polansky/History and contributors to the English Wiktionary thesaurus

I am one of the few major contributors to the English Wiktionary thesaurus. Here I will give a bit of history and assessment of the sizes of contribution. I will use third person or "distance person" "Dan Polansky".

Some relevant information is in wikt:en: Wiktionary:Thesaurus, including links to votes and debates, which can be used for verification.

Pieces of history, with rather personal (selective) emphasis based on personal memory:

  • Thesaurus was kicked off under the name of Wikisaurus by Richardb in 2004, per memory and per revision history of wikt:en: Wiktionary:Thesaurus.
  • Slash-more ("/more") subpages for unattested content were introduced (probably in 2006?), cemented via a vote[1], and then abolished via a vote[2].
  • TheDaveRoss must have introduced hyponymy and meronymy; to be verified. On 30 May 2006, he created the oldest revision of wikt:en: Wiktionary:Thesaurus/Format, which features meronyms, holonyms, hyponyms and hypernyms. Curiously, it also featured heteronyms, homonyms, homographs and homophones, which makes no sense for a cluster thesaurus whose entry represents a location in the semantic space (often a concept) rather than a specific headword.
  • In August 2008, Dan Polansky created his first thesaurus entry, wikt:en: Thesaurus:villain. He liked the idea of centralization of synonyms at one place (compared to duplication in the mainspace), and then became enthusiastic about hyponyms and meronyms as well.
  • In 2008, some editors were despairing about the poor quality of the thesaurus.[3]
  • In 2008, Sack36 wanted the thesaurus to have one entry per one dictionary entry, which Dan Polansky opposed and pushed for a cluster thesaurus, where one thesaurus entry centralized content from a multitude of mainspace entries.
  • In 2008, Sack36 wanted to abandon hyponymy and meronymy, as seen in version history of wikt:en: Thesaurus:abode in wikt:en: Special:Diff/4949731, which Dan Polansky and DCDuring opposed.
  • In 2008, there was a conflict between Sack36 and Dan Polansky, in part concerning the above disagreements, which resulted in Sack36 departing.
  • In 2008, 2009 and 2010, Dan Polansky rewrote wikt:en: Wiktionary:Thesaurus and wikt:en: Wiktionary:Thesaurus/Format. He was the key editor of wikt:en: Wiktionary:Thesaurus ever since until 2023.
  • Later, Dan Polansky established one sense per entry, removing e.g. senses from wikt:en Thesaurus:sound.
  • Daniel Carrero contributed rather many entries and there were fairly many discussions between him and Dan Polansky.
  • Adam B. Morgan effectively took over the effort and became a major contributor.
  • Multilinguality was cemented via a vote, while there was some opposition to it in 2008.
  • In 2022, Dan Polansky added a list of philosophers as instances into wikt:en: Thesaurus:philosopher, inspired by WordNet, which is one of the main models for the thesaurus. That was opposed, first in the entry, then in Beer parlour. The instance-of relationship is still used in multiple other thesaurus entries, including wikt:en: Thesaurus:planet. Admittedly, the list of philosophers was rather long (there are only 9 planets, or 8) but not unbearably so.
  • In 2022, Dan Polansky rather boldly cancelled wikt:en: Thesaurus:penis/translations and other /translation pages as an undesirable practice, but this was blocked by another editor. Another editor started a formal process to get rid of these pages.
  • In 2022, Dan Polansky started to experiment with expanded use of the "Various" section, which was available for a long time. An example is wikt:en: Thesaurus:quantifier, a neat word-finder entry that does not follow the hyponym-meronym model. An example entry that used "Various" section in an expansive matter years before is wikt:en: Thesaurus:number.
  • In 2022, Dan Polansky wrote wikt:en: User:Dan Polansky/Thesaurus Benefits intended for Wiktionary namespace ("Wiktionary:Thesaurus/Benefits"), where it was put before someone moved it to the user space without RFDO or RFM process.
  • In 2023, Ben Wing changed "ws" template to take the first argument to be lang code, thereby making revision histories of thesaurus entries utterly unusable/unreadable, a lamentable outcome. Since the project is not called "Wikisaurus" anymore, a new template should have been created, perhaps "thi" for thesaurus item; and then, revision histories would remain legible.

Selected new entry count (and list in the link):

Above, the selection criteria is top entry count, to which users notable for the thesaurus development were added. Chuck Entz was added as notable for his vague and hard-to-verify criticism of Dan Polansky's thesaurus work[4].

Dan Polansky's philosophy of the thesaurus:



Further reading