[rdfweb-dev] process and goals (was Time's running out?)

Libby Miller Libby.Miller at bristol.ac.uk
Tue Aug 12 09:53:57 UTC 2003


Several of the people on this list have participated in or
observered vocabulary development processes of various kinds, whether
in a formal standards context or in a less formal setting. Sitting on
your arse in a shuttered room thinking about this stuff does not produce
good vocabularies or tools. Implementations, testing, error checking
and discussion by an interested community does a much better job. The
process of developing foaf vocabulary terms may not be formal, but it
depends on implementer experience and feedback, and that's the way it
should be for a robust, useful vocabulary.

Bear in mind also that enabling social networking sofware was not our
initial goal; social networking was an app that came later. I thought
Martin put it well


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.

We are in the process of making sure the schema is consistent, and all
feedback related to that it is more than welcome. Why not come and chat
about your concerns on irc (irc.freenode.net #foaf)?



---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 07:04:37 +0100
From: Jonathan Greensted <jonathan.greensted at sentient.co.uk>
To: rdfweb-dev <rdfweb-dev at vapours.rdfweb.org>
Subject: RE: [rdfweb-dev] Time's running out?

Dear fellow FOAFers,

You are clearly making it up as you go along!

This was fine while FOAF was only used by a bunch of academics who were
playing in their spare time but social networking is going main stream and
the recent discussions should have be resolved years ago.

Mailing lists work well in some scenarios and badly in others.  This is a
case where you just look like a bunch on amateurs blagging your way and
hoping no one will notice.

Well the games up.  I've noticed, so have a few others.  Time to lock
yourselves in a room with a whiteboard, solve the problems properly and
produce a proper definition for the world to use or accept you'll just be
left behind.

So what's it going to be, red pill or blue pill?


-----Original Message-----
From: rdfweb-dev-bounces at vapours.rdfweb.org
[mailto:rdfweb-dev-bounces at vapours.rdfweb.org] On Behalf Of Dan Brickley
Sent: 11 August 2003 23:49
To: Victor Lindesay
Cc: rdfweb-dev at vapours.rdfweb.org

* Victor Lindesay <victor at vicsoft.co.uk> [2003-08-11 22:21+0100]
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Jim Ley [mailto:jim at jibbering.com]
> > Sent: 10 August 2003 01:45
> > To: Victor Lindesay; rdfweb-dev at vapours.rdfweb.org
> > Subject: Re: [rdfweb-dev] Time's running out?
> >
> >
> > "Victor Lindesay" <victor at vicsoft.co.uk>
> > > As the domain of foaf:knows is declared as foaf:Person, all
> > subjects in
> > > statements with a foaf:knows (or any FOAF property with a domain of
> > > foaf:Person) predicate can be assumed to be of type foaf:Person.
> >
> > Not assumed to be they are, or the data is a wrong.
> What is the point of this remark? I have expressed myself correctly. I
> post on this list to talk about RDF and FOAF, not English.

I found your wording perfectly understandable.

> > Why do you care about the type at all?
> Because I want to write software that processes data correctly. You
> might not care about crap data but I do.

I think we all care about crap data, and are just coming at this from
different traditions. The ommission of an rdf:type property with value
foaf:Person isn't a perfect indicator of crapness though, nor is its
presence a guarantee of accuracy. However tightly we define our schemas
(RDFS, OWL etc) and document formats (DTDs, XML Schemas etc) there will
be plenty of opportunities for crappy data to slip through the gaps,
un-noticed by machines. Take foaf:Person for example. We don't say
whether the person has to be alive, dead, real, imagined etc. If we
spent weeks nailing down a far more ambitious version of FOAF which did
make such distinctions (eg. INDECS, the rights description language,
had a good stab at this) we would still have a tricky time trying to
machine-check data to see whether it met our new schema.

Vocab-based crapness detection will only take us so far; after that,
we're into the murkier world of trust metrics, hacks and heuristics...
(which is where the pre-XML search engines live, fwiw...)


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