Wikidata:Property proposal/orientation

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   Under discussion
Descriptionaxis of alignment of an item, or direction perpendicular to its primary face (specify with P518 if necessary)
Representsorientation (Q2235286)
Data typeItem
Allowed valuesinstances of direction (Q2151613) and its subclasses
Example 1flag of Italy (Q42876) has parts of the class (P2670) stripe (Q3421342) / orientation vertical direction (Q182167)
Example 2elevators and escalators (Q4368509) use (P366) transport (Q7590) / orientation down and up (Q22672702)
Example 3liquid mirror telescope (Q1434934) orientation zenith (Q82806)
Example 4Statue of Liberty (Q9202) orientation east (Q684)
Example 5passant (Q47462389) orientation left (Q13196750) / nature of statement (P5102) presumably (Q18122778)
Planned usemigration of statements misusing direction (P560)
See alsodirection (P560), angle from vertical (P4183)


To migrate a large number of misuses of direction (P560), which is supposed to express a relative direction from the subject item toward the parent statement's value, where both items have a fixed location. This property will express how an item is aligned with respect to fixed axes, rather than the location of another item, and is thus not restricted to being a qualifier.

Also propose re-labeling direction (P560) to "relative direction" or "direction relative to subject" (and the equivalent in other languages) to mitigate its misuse. Swpb (talk) 18:40, 18 July 2019 (UTC)


  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment. This is mostly going to be used on items for buildings. What orientation is for them should thus be specified. Is that what's perpendicular to the main entrance? We have to let this be clear. Thierry Caro (talk) 17:04, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
    • Why do you think it will mostly be used for buildings? Only one of the examples is sort of a building; the biggest class of targets I know of are flags. Where it is used for a building and the intended face isn't clear, one can easily add a qualifier applies to part (P518) entrance (Q1137365) or similar. Swpb (talk) 18:38, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
      • Whatever the examples are, I can see that this is going to be used mostly for buildings. But even if that is not the case eventually, I still believe that what 'orientation' means should be clarified or I would fail to support the proposal. What is the value that is to be expected for Painted Wall (Q49469925), for instance? Should it be southeast (Q6452640) because the cliff 'faces' that direction? Or should it be a new 'southwest-northeast' item because the edge of the canyon follows that direction? Again, are we speaking of what the main side of an object is perpendicular to or are we really talking about the direction it is parallel to? That is not obvious and may create problems in translation. Thierry Caro (talk) 05:17, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
The (IMO) only reasonable way to interpret "orientation" statements on buildings (or cliffs) – unidirectional value means face is perpendicular; bidirectional value means face is parallel.
  • I understand the concern now, and I've added a property description (missed that when I made the proposal). Where this is used on buildings (or cliffs), the nature of the value resolves any ambiguity between parallel vs. perpendicular: intuitively, unidirectional (⟶) values like "west" indicate perpendicular, and bi-directional (⟷) ones like "east-west" indicate parallel: If I say United States Capitol (Q54109) is oriented "west", that can only mean that its front is on its western side. If it faced north or south, it could be said to be oriented "east-west", if we had such a bi-directional item, but it would never be said to be oriented just "east" or "west". (More likely though, it would just be said to be oriented "north" or "south", since, like most buildings, it has a distinct front and back.) Even though most users will never explicitly consider this uni=perpendicular/bi=parallel distinction, I think it follows intuition, and I have a hard time imagining anyone misinterpreting such statements. All the same, it can be documented on the property. Swpb (talk) 13:30, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Wouldn't it be preferable to have the buildings in a separate property? --- Jura 16:01, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
    • I don't think so, but if excluding buildings from this property will get it created, then so be it. Right now, any ambiguity that could occur with this property is already occurring with direction (P560), on top of it being explicitly not meant for these applications. Maybe let's stay focused on the bigger problem, and someone can propose a special property for buildings if they want later? Swpb (talk) 19:40, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support I think it would be useful for describing blazons. --Tinker Bell 18:49, 19 July 2019 (UTC)