[rdfweb-dev] Time's running out?

Martin L Poulter M.L.Poulter at bristol.ac.uk
Fri Aug 8 09:58:13 UTC 2003

If you were considering whether a coup were needed in a particular
country, you'd have to have evidence of the democratic process
being corrupt or non-existent; of suppression of opposition. It would
not be so noble to seize something in a coup because of a *disagreement*
with its current caretakers, especially when there are multiple public
fora to discuss the disagreements.

The following do not seem to be valid criticisms:

Discussion of silly attributes. The email list does not have a fixed
volume- the posts discussing these non-central things do not prevent
anybody talking about their own interpretation of the task in hand.

That there are documents floating about with non-standard tags, so FOAF 
is some kind of failure. People write bad HTML and their pages don't   
render, but the Web carries on without that information. People mistype
a FOAF attribute, or otherwise fail to specify something that has a
valid definition. That won't stop us browsing the RDFweb, just
deprive us of the run-time automated use of that information. Maybe the
criticism is that the percentage of errors is above a tolerable maximum:
how is that calculated?

Is the task of this project "to produce and publish a usable RDF Schema
for representing a person and people they know" (Lindeman)? My
impression was that was just a subgoal within wider goals such as
enabling "Semantic homepages", raising awareness of the expressive power
of multiple-namespace documents, and generally throwing up data and
applications for RDF tools to chew on. Different participants have 
different hopes about what FOAF will achieve, I expect.

Dr Martin L Poulter    Senior Technical Researcher, ILRT, Bristol, UK
Research interests: Philosophy of belief and Bayesian inductive logic

Home Page: http://www.weird.co.uk/martin/                                 
for Cult Concern FAQ + WEIRD (not WIRED) + "Bob" in the UK + Automated Love
+ Scientology Criticism + Sexual Politics + Helena Kobrin's Legal "Ethics".

Community blog: http://www.weird.co.uk/blog/

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