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Re: User Facing Documents

From: Jim Hendler <hendler@cs.rpi.edu>
Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2007 07:59:10 -0400
Message-Id: <AD8C46A9-6EE4-4F77-8D15-76471CFBFEAA@cs.rpi.edu>
Cc: public-owl-wg@w3.org
To: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@cs.man.ac.uk>

actually, what I had in mind was to actually write our charter  
deliverables including the "descriptive specification" and the "user  
guide" -- I don't see where we have any choice on that.

On Oct 31, 2007, at 11:56 AM, Bijan Parsia wrote:

> On 31 Oct 2007, at 14:46, Jim Hendler wrote:
>
>> Bijan
>>    I don't think any of us are talking end users in the sense of  
>> "grandma"
>
> But it's not clear. And some people's grandma's have PhD's in  
> computer science and chairs at prestigious universities ;)
>
> My point is that without clear identification of the users we're  
> interested in reaching (and how, and why), we don't know what's the  
> best use of WG resource. Different audiences have very different  
> requirements. I adjust my presentation of material all the time*.
>
>> but if we're going to see more OWL uptake, many of us believe
>
> Jim, it will be easier for me if you clearly mention who you think  
> believes what, or speak strictly for yourself. Right now, I have a  
> rough idea of who you think is in the many, but I'd rather be able  
> to slot them by name (hence my listing of users who've made  
> requests about annotations, etc.).
>
>> that people will want at least some understanding of the language  
>> "while they stand on one foot" to decide whether to dig in deeper.
>
> I don't disagree with this at all. It's clearly true. But people  
> get that at least some understanding in a variety of different  
> ways. Some people get turned off by certain ways. So, for example,  
> the OWL1.0 user documents are very RDF/XML based, and there's some  
> evidence that the semantic web community (or at least a vocal  
> fraction) is moving away from RDF/XML as a user facing syntax. This  
> is something we have to take into account. As a WG we aren't as  
> free as third parties.
>
> There are several ways to handle this, including switchable syntax.  
> But I'd rather the working group provided a hub for user facing  
> material than be a producer of it. That is, use our bully pulpit to  
> get writers to learn and to write stuff for a *wide* variety of  
> audiences. So, I think we get most joy by making documents that  
> support *those* users.
>
> Many of your suggestions, fwiw, do that! E.g., index of terms. So I  
> support those.
>
> I'm trying to articulate principles to help us decide.
>
>> Further, we've seen with OWL 1.0 that there are some communities  
>> that are willing to pick and choose a few OWL constructs to use in  
>> their applications.  I don't think that is a bad thing, and it  
>> provides an "on ramp" to OWL.  FOAF, SKOS and vocabularies in the  
>> individual sciences are starting to pick up on some OWL  
>> constructs, and I think it is good to keep this coming.
>
> I agree, but this is definitely orthogonal.
>
>>   Most of these people are not trained logicians or people with DL  
>> backgrounds, and given how impenetrable I find the current three  
>> documents, and I do have that training, I'm guessing a lot of them  
>> simply won't take the time to see if the new constructs are of  
>> use, until there's a simple way to look at them and get a feel.
>
> This hasn't been true in my experience, basically because people  
> just *ask* me. Or rather, a rather shallow approach is sufficient.
>
> Plus, again, there are a variety of ways to do this (e.g., blogs,  
> etc.).
>
>>   I think it is important that we let people know what OWL may  
>> look like after the new version, and see what kind of response we  
>> get from the application designers using OWL,
>
> So, all the features in OWL 1.1 came from user requirements, some  
> of long standing. All have been used by end users who are not tool  
> developers. I've pointed to these people and testimonials and  
> evidence over and over.
>
> All without specific end user documents.
>
> I've put together 3 international workshops specifically to solicit  
> user feedback and to improve the communication lines between  
> vendors, language designers, and users. This is an ongoing process.
>
> So I agree with the value but disagree with some of the (sketchily  
> proposed) tactics. I agree with some of the other tactics.
>
> Can we not agree that I agree with the goals and they don't have to  
> be articulated yet again, especially with the heavy insinuation  
> that I don't agree or understand those goals?
>
>> rather than only from the people developing OWL "power tools" like  
>> Pellet and SWOOP  [1]
>
> But non-power users use these tools and it is through those tools  
> that they experiment with the language. One of my points is that  
> you are much more likely to get end-users experimenting with things  
> and making *informed decisions* if you give them good tools to work  
> with. Hence my strong efforts to get robust and widespread tools  
> support. Users of tools generally prefer language documentation  
> that's tied to their favored tool, something which the WG can't  
> support.
>
>>  it's also clear to me that we will eventually have to create a  
>> reference for the new features, as well as some sort of examples  
>> that people can cut and paste to make sure they get the syntax  
>> right while learning the language
>
> This presumes that cnp of some syntax is a major development  
> vector. Ian pasted some evidence that this isn't true. If it isn't,  
> then we have to ask whether supporting those users directly is  
> worth teh effort.
>
>>    So while you are right that end-user studies are very tied to  
>> particular users, that is not what any of us seem to be proposing.
>
> No, *any end user stuff* is tied to particular sorts of users. If  
> you want to write an article about OWL for businessweek, it needs  
> to be very different from one from XML.com, which is very different  
> from one for ISWC.
>
> Roughly, it seems that people worry that the current documents are  
> like something for ISWC, and that the WG needs to produces stuff  
> for somewhere between XML.com and BusinessWeek (I suspect you are  
> wanting more XML.com, but Vipul seemed to suggest businessweekness).
>
>> Rather, we're looklng for an easier way than the current documents  
>> for people
>
> Which people? That's my point.
>
>> to "Grok the fullness" of OWL 1.1's new features and to give us  
>> feedback (as well as to get excited about those things in the new  
>> version they might see as useful
>
> And I'm suggesting that wg documents, esp. rec-track ones, are not  
> the most effective way to do this. I've given a number of reasons why
>
>> - which will also be necessary later in the process when we are  
>> trying to get the AC excited)
>
> I think a wide array of tools and third party articles is much more  
> useful for that. I've given reasons for that, and can give more.
>
> Again, what would you prefer, "What is OWL?" on XML.com or an OWL  
> primer on W3C space? For convincing AC people, I'd much rather have  
> the former. So too for reaching a wider audience.
>
> Cheers,
> Bijan.
>
>
>
>

"If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research, would  
it?." - Albert Einstein

Prof James Hendler				http://www.cs.rpi.edu/~hendler
Tetherless World Constellation Chair
Computer Science Dept
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY 12180
Received on Friday, 2 November 2007 11:59:30 GMT

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