[foaf-protocols] First WebID Teleconference minutes (July 27th 2010)

Henry Story henry.story at gmail.com
Mon Aug 2 20:54:12 CEST 2010

On 2 Aug 2010, at 20:36, Seth Russell wrote:

> Henry, i resent your tone here.  

Ok, that's the way of email. Don't worry. 

> I wasn't born yesterday, i have been
> hanging around watching the W3C specification process for a long time and i
> am quite familiar with the function of specification on the internet.
> That said, i will address the only  thing you said which  does not just
> sound to me like a rationalization to kick  an issue down the road.
>> Even if we wrote it down, why would people follow it?
> Engineers and webmasters go to the specification all the time to figure out
> what to do.    If they cannot find any place where it is written down, then
> usually they turn to examples of how it is being done in practice.    Well
> now, if those engineers and webmasters do that, what do they find in this
> case?   Most of the examples of WebIDs out there now do you return any human
> readable profile if you hit them with your browser.   Your own WebID is a
> fine example of the way to do it.   But mine, which i got from openlink is
> not ... it returns JSON.  How are we to change the behavior of  the
> engineers and webmasters if we don't even have the courage to write down how
> we intend it to be done?

Perhaps if I put it like this:

The  WebID protocol is about proving Identity, of authentifiying a user.
That is all. The way the WebID protocol works just does not require a human readable representation. And it may in many cases be useless to generate one. 
I think we could imagine many cases of robots communicating, and authentifying themselves without requiring a Human Repr. And then which human language would one have to specify?

Having a HR is about how to make good user friendly web sites. But that can only be an ought for someone with that aim. 

The core spec should be about the authentication protocol. It is a small chapter in a huge book.

Hope that helps

> Seth Russell
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> On Mon, Aug 2, 2010 at 11:23 AM, Henry Story <henry.story at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 2 Aug 2010, at 20:10, Seth Russell wrote:
>>> On Mon, Aug 2, 2010 at 9:59 AM, Henry Story <henry.story at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>>> On 2 Aug 2010, at 18:45, Nathan wrote:
>>>>> I really like that sentence - perfect even imho.
>>>>> 'MUST have a Machine and Human readable representation of a structured
>>>>> profile document'
>>>> "MUST have a representation of an RDF graph in a machine readable
>>>> representation. See the section on representations for more about this."
>>>> You cannot force a Human readable representation in the spec. That is
>> again
>>>> a pragmatic issue.
>>> Why not?
>> Because we are in the process of describing the WebID protocol, not how to
>> make people like your site. In engineering, and in many other fields of
>> human
>> endeavor, small is beautiful. Do one thing, and do it well.
>>> If you leave this open, then  it is less likely to happen in the
>>> way most of us  want it to happen.
>> Here you are attributing to specifications some magic power they don't
>> have.
>> Even if we wrote it down, why would people follow it?
>>>  If it doesn't happen, then WebIDs will
>>> be less valuable and less useful.    Pepole and webmasters will have far
>>> less motive to go the extra mile to get them, or agents accept or provide
>>> them.
>> If those people need a spec to motivate them, then we should give up! I
>> have never heard of specs motivating anyone. They are useful for guidance.
>> Notice all our implementations function without a spec!
>>> Then you are certainly would be right, "it will be difficult for
>>> people  to understand what is going on and  takeup will be slow".    Your
>>> also right that this  a pragmatic issue.    Where is it written in stone
>>> that  practical issues cannot be decided by specification?
>> e.
>>> Seth
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>>> foaf-protocols at lists.foaf-project.org
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