✅ SEP 37: Convention for use of singular v. plural in metadata

Status: Active as of 2023-04-13 

Decision: Document types will remain plural in service of the reader.

Directly related to ✅ SEP 4: Add taxonomical types alongside tags and ✅ SEP 41: New metadata element: class

With types/classes now implemented (2023-04-16) this proposal can be settled.

A documents can have only one type, unlike tags which can be many, as such the grammar of the type(s) themselves could be made to reflect this prior to the implementation of ✅ SEP 4: Add taxonomical types alongside tags, the so called ‘primary tags’ (which will become the types) could be de-pluralised.

In relational terms this might help to define/distinguish the many-to-one relationship of types from the many-to-many relationship of tags.

The big thorn in the side of this proposal is the tension between authorship and readership. As the author of a document the type is unambiguously singular, a note is a ‘note’ not a ‘notes’. But flip the focus from creation to consumption and a single ‘note’ would seem to belong to the type ‘notes’.

Words are, like code, read a lot more than they are written. Measured that way it seems to make sense to favour the reader and use the plural form which is more natural there. It’s not perfect, but it has been considered (hopefully not foolishly), and as such it will be consistent.

Readability wins the day, types will be plural, let the author weep.