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Re: "Identity"

From: Timothy Holborn <timothy.holborn@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2017 10:11:42 +0000
Message-ID: <CAM1Sok1aj3JDYeUbsJuH_HEnUutys2MLkioo6=xU2jFSWTcnBg@mail.gmail.com>
To: Melvin Carvalho <melvincarvalho@gmail.com>, Joe Andrieu <joe@joeandrieu.com>
Cc: Credentials Community Group <public-credentials@w3.org>
On Thu, 1 Jun 2017 at 19:38 Melvin Carvalho <melvincarvalho@gmail.com>

> On 30 May 2017 at 19:40, Joe Andrieu <joe@joeandrieu.com> wrote:
>> I started this note to send to Manu in particular, but realized it would
>> be useful to share with the larger community. I chose not to cc the
>> workgroup because cross-posting rarely leads to coherent conversations.
>> Hopefully the community group is the right audience.
>> This is a personal request.
>> I appreciate the rathole we are trying to avoid by separating "Identity"
>> with a capital "I" from technical conversations. I get it. A big part of my
>> own contribution to the user-centric identity conversation and at RWoT is
>> to shift how we talk about "Identity" because we usually do it so poorly.
>> The fact is, "identity" is the sexy hot button that leads the
>> introduction and context at workshops like IIW and ID2020 and with topics
>> like self-sovereign identity and SDG 16.9. In other words, "Identity" is
>> exactly what so many conversations need to be about, especially so people
>> like regulators, CEOs, bankers, and ambassadors can make better decisions
>> about how identity is managed--whether online or off.
>> That's why I'm trying to fix how we talk about it. Because we can't have
>> the disabling ratholes suck up attention and inflame unnecessary passions.
>> We got a lovely rant by Frederic Engel in the RWoT session I led on
>> "functional identity". It was great. The French accent and his passion and
>> the whole gestalt was truly endearing and compelling. It was perhaps the
>> most appropriate response to my attempt to limit exactly those types of
>> rants. The irony was not lost on me. Instead, it taught me that there is
>> still a lot of work to do to somehow both avoid the distraction while
>> assimilating the passion and perspective.
>> Unfortunately, establishing "Identity" as something we can't talk about
>> undermines the effort to shift that conversation. It's the Overton window.
>> When we make Identity off-topic for conversation, we can't fix how we talk
>> about it. When we dismiss "Identity" as a viable element of conversation,
>> we deny an entire region of relevant discussion. I am betting that it isn't
>> the actuality of identity that frustrates us, it is the rathole those
>> conversations can become.
>> I argue the best way to avoid the rathole is to find the right way to
>> talk about it. The right context. The right definitions. The right
>> boundaries of scope.  Especially because whether we embrace it or fight it,
>> verifiable claims are going to be used for identity. I'd like to face that
>> head on rather than pretend it isn't going to happen.
>> One thing that became clearer in the community call today is the
>> motivation to avoid W3C hot buttons. Ok. I get that. It actually makes my
>> point. When an organization like W3C is unable to have meaningful
>> conversations about Identity, it is even more vital that we shift how those
>> conversations unfold. I support minimizing "Identity" as a term where it
>> doesn't clarify. There's a lot of that in the current docs. But I don't see
>> wholesale exorcism as the right way to move the conversation forward either.
>> In fact, I see *this* email as an important part of the conversation. We
>> need to find a way to talk about Identity without the ratholes, rather than
>> shut down all conversation about identity.
>> So, my request is to please work with me to find a way to avoid the
>> rathole without demonizing the term itself, for example, by putting it in
>> "quotes" and adding caveats every time it is used.
>> My current focus is on framing the conversation it terms of how identity
>> functions rather than what it means culturally, psychologically,
>> politically, or metaphysically. I also distinguish "Identity" and "Digital
>> Identity", the latter being a tool to facilitate the former. That may or
>> may not work for the groups in this conversation, but I believe it is a
>> promising direction.
>> Thanks,
> Sounds like a naming problem to me.
> Cant we say that a URI denotes a person or agent, which is consistent with
> the architecture of the world wide web (awww).

both seem like great concepts.

> And appreciate on the web, the network effect associated with HTTP URIs?

Blockchains don't necessarily use HTTP URIs.

>> -j
>> --
>> Joe Andrieu, PMP
>> joe@joeandrieu.com
>> +1(805)705-8651 <(805)%20705-8651>
>> http://blog.joeandrieu.com
Received on Thursday, 1 June 2017 10:12:26 UTC

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