W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-awwsw@w3.org > January 2011

why I am doing this

From: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2011 09:26:18 -0500
Message-ID: <AANLkTimSR=GENPkJ51W+Z=BXOsew97SugsBOb33E2uHz@mail.gmail.com>
To: AWWSW TF <public-awwsw@w3.org>
I suspect that many of you are baffled or irritated by my numerous
false starts, throw-away theories, and philosophical knot-tying in
this project. I would prefer that you think I'm trying to do something
rational, rather than think I'm just thrashing away pointlessly in
order to waste your time. Therefore the following personal statement.

I am trying to elucidate the design for the semantic web - or web
architecture - which I don't trust and I suspect is not sound, perhaps
even dangerous. Using this design requires a leap of faith and I am
trying to pinpoint exactly what that leap is and what it would take to
replace faith with reason. I'm doing this because I think the semantic
web is a good idea and I want it to work in demanding applications
such as scholarship and security. I am not in the crowd of people
(Larry Masinter, whose taste I appreciate, and many others) who simply
reject the design (mainly the use of http: and/or the idea of a global
namespace) outright, but neither am I in the crowd (LOD et al) that
simply accept it. I am on the fence as to whether to try to reform it
or consider a clean break (today I'm inclined to reform). Because the
design is so widely used, it is important to analyze it carefully to
understand the circumstances in which it does and doesn't work - just
as one would do a security audit for any similar protocol or system.

In the process of 'elucidation' I spin theories of designs that are
not my own, that I would never have created myself, and that I don't
(yet) endorse.

Perhaps I'm the only one trying to do this; it certainly feels that
way sometimes. Maybe it's quixotic. I have certainly found that it's
difficult. I think most people have settled smugly on one side of the
fence or the other and feel there's nothing that needs explaining:
either semweb works as is, or it's foolish.

Another possibility is that I'm just being dense and am missing some
point that's completely obvious to everyone else. But that seems
unlikely as "everyone else" do not agree among themselves.

Received on Saturday, 22 January 2011 14:26:46 UTC

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