Change the name "Relations" to "Attributes"

Is your feature request related to a problem? Please describe.

I understand that Relations can be used to define relationships between objects, and that this is a powerful thing. However, from what I understood, their main function is not that. They’re really attributes (or metadata).

For example, the Creation Date “Relation” in each Object is useful even if it isn’t used to describe a relationship. Some “Relations” don’t even allow for creating relationships, such as the Text ones.

Describe the solution you’d like

My suggestion would be to name them “Attributes”, “Properties”, “Metadata”, or something in these lines. This seems to be much more general, and less limiting.

I’m guessing “Relation” might be the technical term for this. This suggestion is purely from a user perspective. It took me a while to understand what Relations were because I kept thinking they only described relationships between objects, when really they are something much broader.


i’ve suggested a similar change in the telegram group few days back. i’ll copy paste the message here for reference



@lynxlove This might be because I still don’t fully understand AT, but I wonder if this distinction is necessary?

Aren’t these two structurally the same?

  • Object “Movie” having Attribute “Director” equal “Tarantino”
  • Object “Picture.jpg” having Attribute “Exposure” equal “2s”


Come to think of it, isn’t everything an object? So even the Attributes themselves are Objects.

“Director” above is an Attribute, but it’s also an Object (or at least a potential one).

Maybe “Director” is used as a boolean Attribute elsewhere, such as in an Object called “Roles I need to have for my next movie”.

So when you open the “Director” object, you might find some notes you took about this profession, maybe with some pictures etc, and you will also be able to see everywhere you use that object, and how.

Indeed, I strongly agree. I’ve laid out a whole case for changes to the database terminology internally with the team some time ago.

I think there is an understandable desire by the team to differentiate what they’re doing, and what Anytype is capable of, from other existing and often more limited approaches. For example in comparison to Notion, Anytype is more powerful in some respects. However I think you cannot communicate uniqueness + value simply by using new or alternative words. It is better to start with the familiar and then define differentiation from it, e.g. “Attributes for objects allow you to not only store data, as in traditional systems, but also to create meaningful relationships to other objects, such as “parent” or “author””. You start with a familiar term, “attribute”, then briefly describe how Anytype’s version is more powerful or otherwise different than other examples. But in doing so you benefit from all the context of understanding that many people have with some common terms in software as “attribute” or “property”, etc.

Anyway, I definitely agree. I’ll copy my comments over from Telegram as well, for what it’s worth (this is in response to @lynxlove ):


@Oshyan I just realized I missed this reply from you. I’m still struggling to understand how this forum works, I guess.

Good point about the “proliferation of things”. Though I think it would be less of a problem as it seems, since (1) suggested attributes would always be limited to the ones already set to a particular type and (2) there would be just one instance of each “thing”, even if it can be used in different ways (for example, a “thing” called “Director” can have its own content, but can also be used as an Attribute “thing” under a Movie “thing”).

Just brainstorming btw! No hard truths here.

Good to see that this is already a topic. And not only what Oshyan wrote, but especially that “relation” has the everyday meaning of “association”, describing the type of the connection between the objects. On the assumption that Anytype is for everyone (not for mathmetics or informatics only) I also say that the wording is not suitable.

And yes: “Attribute” +1 :slight_smile:


I agree, too.

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