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Re: [LC response] To Jim Hendler (was Re: Fwd: Question re: HasKey entailments)

From: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@cs.man.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2009 16:59:17 +0000
Message-Id: <2616947B-D5F7-4C01-817E-78BDA9A88B8E@cs.man.ac.uk>
Cc: public-owl-comments@w3.org, "Ralph R. Swick" <swick@w3.org>, W3C OWL Working Group <public-owl-wg@w3.org>
To: Jim Hendler <hendler@cs.rpi.edu>
On 19 Feb 2009, at 15:02, Jim Hendler wrote:

> Bijan-
>  I understand clearly that you (personally) would not mean it in an  
> insulting way, but coming from a WG, in an official form, implying  
> somehow that if I knew more (or maybe less) or came from a  
> different background I'd have "gotten it" seems to me to be very  
> out of place in this sort of comment.

As the person who deliberately put it in, I don't understand why. You  
introduced the idea that your *sort* of expertise was relevant:
""""However,  given two of us who had PhDs in AI and long experience  
with DBs took a while to work through the semantics, and didn't get  
the idea of these examples without the emails from you folks,  I do  
think documenting it will be important..."""

I certainly didn't mean to imply that you had too *little* expertise,  
but just that your *confusion* may have stemmed from thinking "too  
hard" about it, as someone who is a designer of ontology languages.  
It's not clear to me that we should optimize specs for *that* case,  
rather than a more general audience for whom, perhaps, the question  
would not even arise.

I see that my terseness about it in this message could be read  

>  My earlier response to you, which you quoted, was meant to be  
> focused on the specific sentence under discussion at that time, and  
> I wanted to indicate it would be a good addition.

Sure, but I hope you understand why I read it otherwise. This is why  
I would like to stress that the working group, as a whole or the rest  
of the participants, is not at fault. I insistent that you were fine  
with the draft text as written because I thought, based on that  
email, that you were.

>  I still feel that the comment is inappropriate - it somehow  
> implies that if I had a different background I'd have seen this  
> from the original documents.

Or not noticed it as a problem. Yes, that was what implied because I  
wasn't clear that that wasn't the case and it was a relevant aspect  
of my design of the fix.

I reiterate that I am solely responsible for the *group's* being  
unsure (i.e., it was unsure because *I* was unsure). The working  
group deferred to me because I said, forcefully, that you were ok  
with this response.

>   I feel that I have a pretty strong background with respect to the  
> semantic web and to knowledge representation, and having helped  
> chair the first Web Ontology Working Group, I think I have a pretty  
> good background in OWL (in fact, I even coauthored what is now the  
> best selling book in the area).  I would also point out that in  
> email threads going back to the beginning of this WG there was  
> discussion of Easy Keys essentially being a way to deal with the  
> issue of inverseFunctional datatype properties, and thus there was  
> an expectation that doesn't seem to me to be from some "other  
> perspective" that, like inverseFunctional, the key property would  
> imply a domain restriction

InverseFunctionality does not imply a domain restriction. For example:

"""InverseFunctionalProperty( a:fatherOf ) Each object can have at  
most one father."""

There's no domain implication that I can see.

> - and if you read my original response, you'll see that while I was  
> asking why this was the case, I was also pointing the editorial  
> problem of recognizing that this was not the case from the  
> documents (required fairly careful analysis of multiple sections)  
> which doesn't seem to me to have anything to do with my expertise.

That all seems reasonable. The reason I even thought about it this  
way was because of your final comment in your thread. I was asking  
myself whether it wasn't the fact that you were *too deep* into OWL,  
databases, etc. that led you this way.

>  Once the advantage of the solution in the WG was pointed out, I  
> certainly agreed that the design was okay, and my comment was  
> turned into an LC comment since it was felt at that point to be the  
> documentation issue that was in discussion.
>  I know some on the WG will feel my response was an over-reaction,

Regardless, your ire should be directed to me.

> but I did get email from a colleague on the fact that this public  
> comment seemed to be a polite pejorative, and that LC responses are  
> part of the official record available to the public and to the AC  
> for review during the PR decision, and thus I felt it needed to be  
> pointed out in a manner that would not only remove the passage from  
> the response in question, but also remind the WG that these are not  
> casual emails, but public responses.

This is, again, a criticism of me. I wrote the response and wrote it  
this way. I championed it. I championed this specific bit of it  
because I thought (wrongly) that it was helpful. I insisted that  
there was no problem with it because I thought I had your buy in.

>  I appreciate your personal response, but I still do not feel it  
> appropriate to respond technically until  I see both a new response  
> without the comment in the LC comments and a a publicly readable  
> apology from the WG that I could point colleagues to if, like the  
> one who pointed this out to me, they are wondering why the original  
> comment was included.

Well, I think the better solution would have been to respond  
privately and get the mail deleted from the archives. The second  
response could have included a note apologizing for a "draft" having  
been sent. I guess we're past that now.

>  Sorry to ask for WG time for something seemingly so trivial, but  
> perhaps it will help remind people that we are not in an academic  
> forum where debate and personalization is par for the course, but  
> rather in an industrial standardization effort trying to create a  
> durable specification that will be of interest to the more than 400  
> companies in the W3C consortium, and if we are successful,  
> eventually to the 1.4 billion people (more than 20% of humanity)  
> who use the Web.

Well, first, it wasn't a personal comment, technically speaking. That  
is, my intent wasn't speak about *you* in particular (any more than  
your intent in mentioning your experience above was to be about *you*  
but about a larger class of people, i.e., if people like you had  
trouble, then so too would people with less expertise). Similarly,  
someone else, with a strong DB background, complained about keys not  
being functional, like database keys. It's not clear to me that their  
finding that disconcerting is likely in the less expert audience for  
this document.

Regardless, if someone else read it as dissing you, then it is  
unfortunate and would have been better not included. If you are  
concerned about this sort of thing, then I suggest you suggest to the  
chairs that I not be charged with writing responses as it seems that  
I am prone to this sort of thing.

Received on Thursday, 19 February 2009 16:55:52 UTC

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