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I'm writing a program that makes/utilizes arbitrary relationships between pieces of data, and I can't think of more generic terms for the user interface than:
Node relationships
Co-parent: The relationship between A and B
Sibling: The relationship between D and E

Should I stick with these? Or are there better names? The relationships defined by the arrows in the diagram aren't necessarily hierarchical, they're more along the lines of 'A is like C except for X'

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  • Of course the individual boxes are commonly called "nodes", and the boxes with no children are "leaf" nodes. Relationships, in a tree structure, are generally called parent/child (with grandparent/grandchild, etc, occasionally used). Children with the same parent are generally "siblings", but I don't ever recall a relationship being described as "cousin" or "uncle" or "niece" (though probably in part because there's rarely a need to describe such relationships). I can't recall any other term used for siblings other than "adjacent". Never heard "co-parent" used, or any equivalent term, but-
    – Hot Licks
    Sep 4 '14 at 20:33
  • "inverted tree" and "mesh" structures are much rarer than tree structures.
    – Hot Licks
    Sep 4 '14 at 20:34
  • If A and B are connected somehow, I suppose you can call them spouses. If they're not, perhaps divorcees? Sep 4 '14 at 22:16
  • 1
    From a computer science standpoint, I think "co-parent" doesn't get used because normally nodes in a tree like structure do not have multiple parents -- multiple parents implies there's something weird about the tree/graph, like there's a cycle somewhere, or that there isn't a single root (you cannot reach B if you start travelling from A). I think normally "C" would be thought of as the root/parent, and "A" and "B" as children, regardless of the "direction" of the relationship, and thus "A" and "B" would still be siblings.
    – user65692
    Sep 4 '14 at 22:39
  • I can't reconcile your use of arrows with your statement that the relationships aren't hierarchical. I get that you're probably being deliberately vague about the precise nature of the data, but without further contextual details, I'm afraid we're all taking stabs in the dark.
    – Marthaª
    Sep 5 '14 at 1:28
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The term "sibling" is common usage in this context, yes.

I haven't heard "co-parent", but "parent" is the usual term in a tree structure, so "co-parent" sounds about right.

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It’s hard to tell how to answer this well without a better understanding of the relationship you’re talking about.

  1. If “A → C” means “A is like C except for (some factor)”, it seems as though the relationship is not just not hierarchical; it is anti-hierarchical, and symmetric, so it should be written “A ↔ C” and “B ↔ C”.
  2. If the relationship between A and C is “A is like C except for (some factor)”, does that mean that A is like B except for that factor? If so, the relationship seems to be transitive, so “A ↔ C” and “B ↔ C” implies “A ↔ B”, i.e., the relationship between A and B is the same as that between A and C, and between B and C.
  3. Or does it mean that A is like B, even considering the factor (e.g., a lion is like a cat except for size; a tiger is like a cat except for size; a lion is like a tiger.)?
  4. Or does it mean that A is like B, except for two factors (e.g., a lion is like a cat except for size; a lion is like a bear except for genus)?

Based on what you’ve given us, if case #3 applies, these might be what you want:

  • A and B are comparable
  • A and B are in the same cohort
  • A and B are cohorts         (although some might say that this is an incorrect usage of that word)

And if case #4 applies, consider

  • A and B are cousins (or distant cousins)

In any case, when talking or writing about this, you would need to define the term you are using.

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