[rdfweb-dev] Digest Number 190

Stefan Smalla stefan at s...
Fri Jan 3 21:34:16 UTC 2003


I've been following the discussion passively, but being a business guy
myself, the following sparked me to comment:

> Well no, raising the social grouping issues *is* important. From one 
> angle is gets the programmer types (and this is an unfairly broad 
> stereotype) to grasp how the other side takes issue with it. It also 
> gives the other side a glimpse of what Scott McNealy talked about 
> when he said "you have no privacy anyway, get over it". If foaf 
> carves out a mechanism to 'respect' some of this social nonsense 
> it *really* stands a chance to have some impact.

I completely agree. I am very impressed by FOAF. But one issue re. social
norms makes me wonder about whether regular folks would be ready to adopt
it. My worries could be summarized with the words "socially forced

* If I make my list of friends/acquaintances/etc. public, everybody will be
able to read it.
* What will people think that I have not included in the list? 
* Will there be a social inclincation to include one's boss or one's dearest
customer? Or someone I have just met? 
* Also, will reciprocation be generally expected? 
* Due to those issus, will FOAF profiles become very fake? 
* And how valuable will people feel the FOAF profile still to be? 

One could argue that it's still useful to list people that one knows, which
I fully agree with. My point is a different one, though: 
Will people just feel too much social pressure upon them once they have a
FOAF profile, so they abandon it right away just avoiding all the hassle? 

This might not be a concern that would come naturally to you, nor does it to
me. But I definitely know that many of my business acquaintances would have
exactly these concerns. Many would love to set up a FOAF profile, but would
just include everybody they would ever want to come in contact with, and
exclude some that might be harmful. Then, they would always have to update
the list after each party / meeting / etc, which is too much work. Then they
drop it again. Well, I am exaggerating a bit, but I hope my point comes

What do you guys think? Am I going astray?

Best regards,

Stefan Smalla
eMail: stefan at s...
Weblog: http://www.smalla.net/infofeed/

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