[rdfweb-dev] Re: Syntactic profiling (FOAF document formats)

Jim Ley jim at jibbering.com
Wed Aug 27 21:28:58 UTC 2003

"Julian Bond" <julian_bond at voidstar.com>
> Dan Brickley <danbri at w3.org> wrote:
> >  * "classic" FOAF files
> As is probably clear, this is the one I'm interested in.

I think Classic should be the genuine RDF any extensions approach, that's
the classical, the limited syntax one, is certainly new.

> - Only one main Person with Person as a top level node
> - This Person must have:-
>    - at least one of mbox or mbox_sha1sum.

This may be acceptable, but I don't like it much, it means unless I have an
email address I can't exist, even publishing a genuine sha1sum allows people
to confirm my identity given an email address, people may not want that, but
they may be happy to give their homepage say (which has contact methods on

>  This should only be used in
>      the form of Digital ID currently used in foaf

I'm not sure I understand this, could you clarify?

>    - Some form of name

+1  Definately.

>    - This Person is assumed to be the author/owner of the data unless
>      otherwise stated.

I don't think we can have any assumptions at all, certainly not ones like
this,  the author of the data is a key plank of authenticating who says
what, and removing lies etc.  Assuming anything about that simply is not
appropriate.   We need more simple methods than GPG perhaps and everything
that goes with it, but I can't see assumptions getting us anywhere assuming
things will fall down even against the forgetful, let alone the liars (which
nothing like this will defeat)

>      - Each of these should have:-
>      - At least one mbox_sha1sum

As above, I can't sustain this, we need to be able to talk about people who
do not have email addresses.

> - Every Person should have a nodeId

I don't see the point of this in the slightest, it burdens authors to no use

You also must allow for the markup to indicate that the foaf is signed and
the location of the key etc.

> I don't feel the need to move away from striped RDF-XML. What I do feel
> the need for (within this use case) is consistency.

As I think everyone knows, I see no point in a restricted syntax, I see it's
useful to require certain properties where possible, and limiting certain
things for social reasons (not publishing mbox without consent, include
foaf:name etc.)  but  to me a simple syntax will just let people create
tools which will quickly not interop with other systems so the authors will
be progressing onto real RDF parsers quickly.   I don't see the point of the
broken middle step, I'd rather spend my time helping the person work with an
RDF Parser from the word go.



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