The Emperor <the_emperor at m...> the_emperor at m...
Sat Dec 14 19:18:50 UTC 2002


> I'm wondering about how to express authoritative participation in a 
> entity? How should it be made clear that someone 'belongs' to a 
> group? Is it by their own assertion? By the group authority? 
> There are some really subtle issues about how people handle 
> expression of being part or not part of any number of different 
> grouping concepts. Think social circles or cliques, not department 
> employee rosters. 
> Right now foaf makes no attempt to be authoritative. This is not a 
> bad thing. But it does seem like having a way to be more precise 
> going to be important to some folks.
> As for indicating group hierarchies and related-ness, there are 
> Dublin Core elements and RDF schema constructs that could be 
> considered. 
I did have a look at something like this:

e.g. here:


and I've seen things like this used in examples 'out there':



but it didn't seem to have the finer division that might be 
important. For vaguer concepts (like cliques or social circles) it 
might already be expressed in the knows relationships but I'm more 
interested in something that is halfway between that and a company 
roster (which could be expressed with FOAFCorp?). I can (and partly) 
have set up the discussion board on the site of one of the 
communities I visit to pump out FOAF files for everyone so this could 
be taken as an authoritative linking of that person with that 
community and the link to their FOAF file could be the relation 
identifier above. As emails are authenticated it could also be used 
to vouch for you being who you said you were.

However, it doesn't express other divisions like admin roles like 
administrators, moderators, etc. and such things could have some 
uses. I could set up a page which allowed people to add themselves to 
a Group document as long as you were logged in and I had your email 
address (authenticated) I could match that with the administrators 
email address listed there and if it matched send off an email to 
your address where you could confirm the addition or any subsequent 
changes. I'm sure if I put my mind to it I could come up with other 

Anyway this is one of the reasons I threw this idea into the ring - 
if it can be accomodated within existing markup without causing 
things to strain at the seams then that is good but if not then there 
may be a need for something else and they are my ideas for it. All 
your input is much appreciated :)


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