Synonyms as answers

Registered by Cas Widdershoven

When you have to translate for example the dutch word "bank" in English, there are many valid translations (which are mostly synonyms), (i.e. couch, seat, bench, sofa; but also 'bank' (the place to deposit money in this case)).

I thought it would be smart to check if the answered word is a synonym of the "correct answer", because they're both correct.

Blueprint information

OpenTeacher Maintainers
Milan Boers
Series goal:
Milestone target:
Started by
Marten de Vries

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This is discussed on the mailing list.

work is going on in a subproject: opensynonyms (also on launchpad)

I (marten-de-vries) think it's an interesting option, but it requires a huge wordlist. Maybe it's possible to combine this one with the spell check and the automatic translation blueprint.

(milan-boers): And every language has it's own synonym lists so it should be known which language (French, Dutch, German...) is the questioned language and OpenTeacher should then contain synonym lists of many languages. Automatic translation programs like Google/Bing/Babelfish Translate only give one word.
If there would be a website with a synonym list for every language with an API, that would be a lot better cause you don't need to provide the word list with the program which will make it a lot bigger. I don't know if there is one though.
If there isn't, it's still an idea to provide synonym lists on the OpenTeacher website, free to download, which can be loaded into OpenTeacher. This wouldn't make the normal OpenTeacher package bigger, and if you want this functionality, you can still get it.

(milan-boers): It's fairly easy to make a custom API, and only make it (automatically) download the database when the functionality is used. Right now, I have a simple API, with 500 English commonly used synonyms (found on the internet). This takes only 5kB (gzipped).

gives synonyms for "bad" in JSON encoding.

The python class currently looks up the word in the online database via the API, and downloads the entire database if it's not up to date (it can check that). If the connection could not be made (IOError, no internet), it uses the offline database. So you dont have a problem when you're away and there's no internet available.

What would be a nice idea is if the "correct anyway" button would send the supposed answer and the given answer to the database, and store them as a new synonym. Then it only needs to be reviewed before it can get in. Also this would be fairly easy to implement on the server side. The only thing we need to do then is to find a synonym list for the common languages (English, French, German, Dutch) to start with. Then the list grows automatically and gets updated automatically.

I think it would be a very nice feature for 2.1 or 3.0. What do you think?

(marten-de-vries): I like the idea, but I see some problems:
1) we don't have really reliable web hosting for OpenTeacher. Yes, we've got your webhost, mine, and, but can we trust them for years of use? ( Making an OpenTeacher version useless in less than 5 years doesn't seem right to me. )
2) An argument from Cas ( He's an MSN contact of me ): We can't just rely on users' clicks on the 'correct anyway' button, because you're never sure if they're right. Requiring a synonym to be send multiple times before adding it to the list could fix this, but it's easy for somebody to mess up the database if he/she wants to.

About the offline database, this is exactly where CouchDB is designed for, and would be the nicest way of implementing something like this. It also solves partly the hosting problem if implemented smart, because other CouchDB servers could just host an alternative database when our server is going down. It's a huge dependancy however, so maybe a sqlite DB would do too... (sqlite is supported via the sqlite3 module in python itself.)


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