[rdfweb-dev] advocating use of rdf:ID /rdf:aboutattributesonfoaf:Person tags

Bill Kearney wkearney99 at hotmail.com
Mon Aug 18 15:19:00 UTC 2003

> There's considerable value in having an email address, most people use
> there's daily, there's no value to me in having a URI

There's no current value?  I'd argue against this as quite a few folks are quite
merrily contributing their part in the form of weblogs.  An entity they're quite
a bit *more likely* to have greater dominion over than an e-mail address.  As in
joe at workerbee.corporate.example.com is very fragile if the company fires him.
Where as Joe owning his own domain, or paying for a hosted one, stands to be a
lot less fragile.  Certainly not permanent for all time but let's get real,
they're all faught with hassles (most of them quite similar).

> , in any case, remember
> the mbox is defined as the 1st user of that email address so even if it
> stops being usable, it's still fine as an identifier.  We could say the same
> with URI, however with URI's the controller of the domain is surely the
> person who defines what the URI means, so we would not be able to do it.

If the *person* owns the domain it's a lot MORE durable than an e-mail address
might be.  Remembering, of course, that owning a website URL doesn't always me
one has e-mail services on it.

If not, then the same arguments made about URI control or fragility are directly
applicable to e-mail as well.

> Consider  the URI  http://Jim.example/foaf.rdf#me as soon as the owner of
> jim.example changes who it points to (maybe they lost the domain) then all
> FOAF which points to that URI is pointing at a different person, however if
> they'd not used the URI, but had just used
> foaf:mbox="mailto:jim at jim.example" then the Person hasn't changed, and the
> new owner is specifically excluded from using that email address as a
> foaf:mbox.

Specifically excluded by whom?  Who's "in charge" of that idea?  It's just as
fragile as a URI and possibly worse.  A URI, if retrieved, has the hope of
containing /something/ that might help resolve the process.  An e-mail address
is likely to just be a black hole; a message sent to it might elicit no reply at

I'm not arguing that one is better than the other.  I'm suggesting that
arguments against URI durability are weak, at best.

-Bill Kearney

More information about the foaf-dev mailing list