Let's say I have two lists of items. In both lists, I am interested in a subset of the items according to some property. If one list includes almost exclusively items that have that property, then a common way of describing the situation in engineering lingo is "high signal to noise ratio". The other list only contains a few items that contain the desirable property, and is otherwise filled with items that I'd like to filter out. It has a low signal to noise ratio.

What is the proper term to describe the quality of those 2 lists?

  • The first list is a clean list. The second is muddy (Although I like clean a lot in this case, I’m not so keen on muddy - it seems a bit more informal.) – Jim Apr 21 '17 at 16:31
  • Homogeneous? Representative sample? – aparente001 Apr 22 '17 at 4:06
  • @aparente001 I like "representative". Homogeneous isn't what I'm looking for, as it's entirely possible for a list to be homogeneous but also have little value, hence low signal to noise ration. – Guillaume CR Apr 25 '17 at 15:17

A "consistent list" seems to fit your first list definition, which has a high ratio of items with such specific property. The opposite might be an "inconsistent list".

  • consistent - (adj) showing consistency; not self-contradictoryBeing in agreement with itself; coherent and uniform: a consistent pattern of behavior.

I would also suggest "all of a piece" for your first list; "discordant" or "incongruent" for the second.

  • 1
    Thank you for your input. Consistent is often used to define the lack of contradiction. This is not the case in either lists, as none of the items contradict with each other or with themselves. The items without the property I am looking for are not inconsistent, they are simply not relevant. Now that I think about it, relevant may be the word I'm looking for. For example, the 2nd list in my example is consistently irrelevant. – Guillaume CR Apr 21 '17 at 15:29

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