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Re: why I am doing this

From: Nathan <nathan@webr3.org>
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2011 17:47:09 +0000
Message-ID: <4D3B181D.4000700@webr3.org>
To: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>
CC: AWWSW TF <public-awwsw@w3.org>
Hi Jonathan,

Jonathan Rees wrote:
> 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 can assure you that I for one, am certainly not baffled (or 
irritated) in any way by what you're doing, in fact I sympathise 
completely, as I go through the same process often.

I'm a mere junior at this in comparison having spent only a couple of 
thousand hours trying to work my way through this and all the related 
reading, I too have numerous false starts, and far worse, can agree in 
a provable sense, that conflicting stances are correct at the same 
time! For instance, the positions of Dan C, Tim Bray, Roy T Fielding, 
Tim BL, I find them all to be correct (depending which goggles I put 
on) - which shouldn't be possible. (!?)

> 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.

snap, on all counts - although it may not be possible to define that 
W... jury is still out on that one for me.

> 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.

likewise again.

> 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.

You're definitely not the only one trying to do it, and not everyone 
is on one side of the fence or the other (the other way of looking at 
it, is that we're trying to remove the fence altogether..).

> 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.

If that were the case, we wouldn't be here - and as you say, nobody 
agrees.

We'll get there :)

Best,

Nathan
Received on Saturday, 22 January 2011 17:49:31 GMT

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