The Emperor <the_emperor at m...> the_emperor at m...
Mon Dec 23 17:16:46 UTC 2002

Sorry I misplaced this in the recent flood of discussion ;)

--- In rdfweb-dev at, "Bill Kearney" <wkearney99 at h...> 
> > > Gee, ya mean like how MSN messenger and Passport already does 
this sort of
> > > thing?
> >
> > And Gator and.......
> Now yer walking into a minefield. Gator, what a joke, little more 
than spyware.
> Completely unlike the Passport stuff, but the rabble rally 'round 
> Microsoft so there's little point in going into an real discussion 
of it.

No and while Gator is the spawn of the Devil it is clear that there 
is a 'market' (possibly need/desire?) for something that makes 
filling out those online forms easier. Possibly FOAF needs a killer 
app (or set of them) and while I'm not sure that is it it might be 
part of a range of uses which might make FOAF important to the 
average user.
> > This could be done if everything was centralised but it won't be 
> > the request could be coming from all sorts of different places 
(if at
> > all though - see above).
> Yet the trendiest approach to these things is decentralization. 
I'm with you, a
> little bit of centralizing is a good thing. And if it's not 
masquerading as yet
> another way to assault me with advertising and marketing then I'm 
all for it.

There are probably a number of solutions to the problem:

1. Personal - people already have a range of strategies for dealing 
with spam and they could easily be used here too:
a) Have a standard subject (like 'FOAF knows request') and people 
could set their email filters to remove that.
b) A number of people I know have an address they use as their public 
address which they either filter heavily or don't visit as often as 
their main one - users could display a spam address but encode their 
actual hidden address that they only share with friends (or not 
display an email address at all). Unless the person who requests 
someone's knows list knows them well enough to know their hidden 
email address any good automated system would not be able to get a 
match between the email address and the hash in someone's FOAF file 
(and so wouldn't be able to send a request).

2. Centralised - a trusted site (like RDFWeb?) or sites could hold 
opt out lists and reputable members of the FOAF community would have 
to check the list.

3. Decentralised - the next version of FOAF could have a knowsRequest 
tag which could be set to false if you didn't want anyone to contact 
> > On the wrapping thing up (for people on the same server) I'd 
> > favour something like an online admin which people can visit and
> > they'd get a note once a week if there were any requests they 
> > viewed. People could also specify if the didn't want to be 
> > under this kind of system.
> Yes, the GNU mailman's admin interface does a good job of this sort 
of thing.
> As does the yahoogroups moderator interface.
Yep there are numerous ways that that could be implemented.

> > > Transitive trusts; now there's a king-size can of worms.
> > Fancy expanding on that point?
> Transitive trusts, extending the fact that userA trusts userB does 
not mean
> userB trusting userC has any impact on the userA to userC 
relationship. And
> extending it into a group raises a rats nest of 'consensus' 
issues. Next thing
> you know somebody bings up Robert's Rules of Order and all hell 
breaks loose.
Right - Yes its a tricky one alright. Sorry I was being a bit slow.

> > This would still have the same problems you outlined above without
> > some of the solutions available if things were kept between 
people on
> > the server.
> Yes. Getting developers to participate in what's largely a closed 
system is
> always a challenge however. But yes, you're correct. Once it's 
running it
> seems users will naively join up to just about anything.
Well quite - and then wander off and forget about it unless it can be 
shown to be a useful and important development that has an impact on 
their daily lives (killer apps rearing their ugly heads again). As 
recent traffic here seems to show it looks like its integration into 
various things will help convince people of this.
> > Quite possibly - I suspect the way FOAF will really take off is 
if it
> > is made easier for people to produce and edit the files.
> >
> > I don't know - it will probably have to be a bit trail and error 
> > start off with.
> Yep, being the pioneers means wandering down the wrong trails now 
and then. The
> trick is avoiding too many arrows in the back from angry natives. 
(playing on
> your 'trail and error' typo a bit)
And well spotted the analogy is probably more appropriate than 'trial 
and error'.

> It'll be interesting to see how the users in non-computer related 
circles view
> the use of foaf files.
Probably with indifference until it becomes more pervasive (then they 
will probably find out they have half a dozen read created ones 
sitting around waiting for them ;) ).


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