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Publication proposal discussion summary

From: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@cs.man.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2007 14:57:29 +0100
Message-Id: <AF17523E-0EAC-41BC-8289-76B763AEFFF1@cs.man.ac.uk>
To: public-owl-wg@w3.org

This is my summary of the discussion instigated by my following email:

I provide it to help with disposing (whether affirmatively or
negatively, in whole or in part) of my proposal in today's telecon.
I've aimed it to be narrow rather than comprehensive, evidence based,
brief, neutral, and fair (sometimes neutrality isn't fair, for
example, but I've made no prioritization). Occasionally, I may
interject an editorial aside with my position, though I'll strive to
keep these to a minimum, preferring toward none. So lack of comment
or analysis does not indicate that I agree or disagree with a point.

It ended up being a lot longer than I'd hoped :(


In the last telecon, I proposed that we take the core formal
documents of the OWL 1.1 specifications, as appearing on webont.org,
and publish them as first public working drafts as soon as
technically feasible, that is, within a few weeks. These are:
	Structural Specification
	Formal Semantics
	RDF Mapping

Together, they form an update, albeit incomplete, to the OWL 1.0
Semantics and Abstract Syntax document. They are the most worked out,
albiet incomplete, specification of a possible OWL 1.1 language.
There is also considerable implementor and user experience, as well
as nearly a year of feedback.

In the telecon, the proposal was split into two parts: 1) whether we
should commit to publishing the core trio by our first heartbeat
requirement, and 2) whether we should publish as fast as possible.
The group made a decision on the first part (slightly modified to
allow dropping the RDF Mapping).


This decision was challenged on procedural grounds. Regardless of the
merits of those challenges, the chairs are considering a procedural
proposal to 1) only put questions to the group that have been more or
less (I'm unclear how much) explicitly mentioned in the agenda 24
hours before the telecon, and 2) to allow a "cooling off" period of a
week on any decision.


	1) WD drafts are widely advertised and very natural targets for
review. Thus, publishing the input design as FPWDs has the potential
to attract the most possible feedback from the widest group of

	2) Getting through a first publication gets us through all the
technical hurdles. The earlier that's done the better

	3) It establishes a publish often ethos

	4) It helps establish good momentum.
		It seems clear that the proposal is correlated with some more
aggressive reviewing than might have otherwise happened. For example,
I believe between the first and second telecon, I was the only person
who posted any document reviews to the list. Now there have been
several and issues I did not *imagine* existed were raised.	

	5)It triggers early IP consideration.

A key basis of the proposal is that WDs, even FPWD, do not entail or
suggest commitment by the group --- de facto or de jure --- to either
the design or the presentation of those drafts. See:


	I count at least 4 people explicitly voicing opposition against
various aspect of the proposal (part 2, but many apply to part 1).

	A) People feel that WD ought to be "worthy", reflect group consensus
on the design (this one is unclear to me; it's seems to be signaled
by the phrase, "consensus document"), that they fossilize design,
they should reflect work the group has done, or they need to be
"ready". It was also insinuated that publishing some of the drafts
would be publishing a non-"honest" WD.
		EDITORIAL: I would prefer that people take more care in their
choice of language. For example, there's no reason to say that my
proposal involves some level of dishonesty. One can just say express
a preference, or aversion, or point to *material* consequences in a
neutral way (e.g., "I think enough people will take the WD as
reflecting fixed design to cause more trouble than the likely benefit
of wide review is worth.") It helps to try to take into account
expressed differences of fact.

	B) People expressed the desire for more group review before
publishing anything. The consequential benefits haven't been clearly
enumerated to my ken.

	C) At least one person said in private email to me that they didn't
think wide review was necessary or desirable.

	D) Several people expressed discomfort with the general idea.

	E) It was claimed that WGs are not supposed to comment on WDs after
they've been published.

	F) It was claimed that no significant additional review would be

	G) Early IP consideration might force IP actions which are
unnecessary as the design may change. This was presented as a pure
hypothetical. I.e., no specific IP claim was motivating this.

	H) I got another email stating that WDs should either reflect the  
state of
consensus (which doesn't me we all endorse the design or documents)  
or be
clearly labeled as lacking that. The main difference from my proposal  
is that
they preferred finer grained indication of what is actively being  
disputed. However,
they also wrote that my proposal was non-harmful and they wouldn't block
consensus to publish on this basis.
	(I made a similar proposal as "next steps":
	Jim weakly endorse this without the Oct first publish, i.e., as a  
goal for the F2F).


Several strong opposing voices stated that they felt that the Formal
Semantics document was OK to publish. This has, afaict, consensus
among the people opposing as something OK to publish, pretty much

  * Jeremy strongly opposed the RDF Mapping unless it was essentially
stripped of all content. That suggests to me that he is ok with a
separate RDF Mapping document.:

  * Elisa express opposition to publish the Structural Specifiction (or
the MOF metamodel, although that's not in the proposal) on the
grounds of lack of alignment with ODM.

	I thought, but cannot find, that she said that merely dropping the
UML diagrams from the structural spec would leave it in a publishable
state from her POV.

* Jim expressed opposition to the structural specification *per se*:

	I'm unclear whether this means he objects to its publication for  

He also expressed some criticism about the RDF Mapping:

	But I'm also unclear whether this means he objects to publication for


	I still believe that there is considerable benefit and no downside to
my proposal. So I continue to put it forward.However, even just
publishing the Formal Semantics gets reasons 1-5 *for it*, and I
think it completely settles 2, and goes a long way to 2 and 4. As a
subset of my proposal, I obviously support it.

	I think I'd rather not publish the Mapping or the Structural  
as WD at this time, than publish the redacted
versions of the Mapping or the Structural Specification. The problem
with redacted versions is that it shields from wider review precisely  
which is controversial. There has been strong criticism of those
documents, but I, for one, do not agree with most of it. There is  
also strong
community uptake as witnessed by the several implementations and very
positive implementor and user feedback (e.g., at OWLED 2007). We
should take this into account, not because these things are
immutable, but that they are very good evidence of good and
successful design and presentation. In fact, to the degree that it is
controversial, I think we should publish. If we don't publish, I think
it would be helpful if group participants made some efforts to
solicit significant feedback. I, obviously, shall do anyway, but if  
agree with the goal of wide review, but disagree with the proposed  
I would certainly take it very positively if they helped reach that goal
by other means.

Corrections or friendly amendments are most welcome.

Received on Wednesday, 24 October 2007 13:56:04 UTC

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