[rdfweb-dev] Relationship Schema Updated

Dan Brickley danbri at w3.org
Sun Mar 14 18:42:30 UTC 2004

* Dan Brickley <danbri at w3.org> [2004-03-14 13:23-0500]
> * Richard Lennox <listserve at richardlennox.net> [2004-03-14 18:13-0000]
> > 
> > From: "Dan Brickley" <danbri at w3.org>
> > > See also http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/#term_gender
> > 
> > Why can a group not have a gender? There are many groups that are gender
> > specific.  ie. for only people of a certain gender.  The group, therefore,
> > could be said to have a gender.  The use of foaf:gender would in that case
> > specify that the group was solely for people of a certain gender.
> The concept of 'gender' is larger, scarier and more contested than any 
> single modest effort such as FOAF can attempt to encompass. You might as
> well ask why foaf:gender doesn't apply also to natural language terms 
> (such as those in French etc). We had to draw the line somewhere; in the
> case of foaf:gender, the line includes non-Person Agents, but doesn't 
> extend to every kind of thing that might be talked about as being, in
> some way, gendered.
> The Group usage you sketch could, however, be characterised using FOAF's 
> OWL-based group rules mechanism. You can define a Group by listing its 
> membership criteria. These could certainly include gender properties, 
> alongside any other that are describable using some RDF vocabulary. The 
> expressive limits here are those imposed by the OWL language, ie. no
> notion of variables etc etc. So you could define, for eg., a sub-class
> of Person which was FemalePerson, or SingleWhiteFemale for that matter, 
> so long as singleness, white-ness, female-ness could each be  
> picked out with an RDF property. Whether/why you'd want to is, of
> course, a separate matter.

Actually I spoke too soon! Since we have foaf:gender with an 
rdfs:domain of foaf:Agent, we allow the possibility that some 
but not all Agents might have a gender. We also say that foaf:Group is a 
subclassof foaf:Agent, ie. groups are agents (things that can do
things). FOAF allows, but is currently agnostic about, the possibility
that some members of the class foaf:Group might have a foaf:gender


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