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From: Nathan <nathan@webr3.org>
Date: Tue, 01 Feb 2011 15:30:04 +0000
Message-ID: <4D4826FC.6060008@webr3.org>
To: AWWSW TF <public-awwsw@w3.org>
Hi all,

I feel like I may be a bit of a dissenter saying this, but I've got a 
horrible feeling that we're all focussed on, and looking at, the wrong 
things - at that relates to everything httpRange-14 related, 
accountability, resource vs representation, what does a uri name and 
so forth.

I have to suggest that we are often focussed on what is the relation 
between a "resource" and a "representation" signified by an XXX status 
code on Y protocol - and that there is no such relation. Any XXX 
status code in a response relates entirely to the request, and not 
only that, but its the relation between the response from Y and a 
message sent by A to Y.

URIs are just names, we stick them in boxes on our computers and they 
hit a bunch of processes, possibly network intermediaries, origin 
servers, processes and databases on the other side and then back 
again. The relation between a URI and where a response comes from is 
pretty much unknown without looking at the messages, it could come 
from malware on the machine, a user agent cache, an intermediary, 
tampered with along the way and so on. Additionally the name can be 
dereferenced in virtually any way one can conceive, it's certainly not 
tied to a protocol indicated by a scheme (stick an http URI in a 
sparql query, or in wayback machine for an example of this).

You can't get accountability from a uri to representation link, you 
can't apply a license in those terms; a license can only apply to the 
message sent back, and only be worth the paper it's written on if it 
can be proven that the message was sent from the correct place - if an 
image needs a license, stick it in the header field of the response 
message and have it applied to the representation contained.

Similarly, we just /can't/ define what a name refers to, it refers to 
different things for different people, example: "john". All names are 
an example of this, http uris are just the same, given a uri <x>, for 
one person that names "the representation they got back", for another 
it's the view of that representation as presented by a user agent, for 
another it's the concept over time "my paper" and for another it's the 
topic of that paper. The only things we can say, are that things have 
names, it's good to always use the same name to refer the same thing, 
and if you're sharing the use of a name with another party then it's 
good to agree on what you are referring to - we can't make that 
decision at web scale, it happens on a name by name business.

Give different things different names, if you need to consider time, 
provenance, authority or accountability then look at the messages and 
those involved in passing the messages along.

Apologies, it could well be out of scope, or maybe not so - but I had 
to get it off my chest.


Received on Tuesday, 1 February 2011 15:31:57 UTC

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