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Re: A comment on the Primer draft, part 1 Introduction

From: Jim Hendler <hendler@cs.rpi.edu>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 09:40:41 -0500
Message-Id: <B579D455-71E1-4301-97ED-4C774CCD7BD7@cs.rpi.edu>
Cc: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>, Bijan Parsia <bparsia@cs.man.ac.uk>, "Peter F. Patel-Schneider" <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>, OWL Working Group WG <public-owl-wg@w3.org>
To: "Deborah L. McGuinness" <dlm@ksl.stanford.edu>
thanks Deb, that's a much more constructive note than mine - my  
normal grumpy cynicism has been increased by jetlag and the beginning  
of term - thanks for the assist - JH

On Jan 25, 2008, at 8:59 AM, Deborah L. McGuinness wrote:

> let me start with one hopefully positive note that i think many can  
> agree on - the notion of having multiple syntaxes hidden or exposed  
> with buttons is very nice and i think any document we write should  
> consider using this idea.
> another point is i have no doubt that the primer could be an  
> interesting and useful document.  introducing a primer though  
> introduces the additional burden of how it is differentiated or the  
> same as the other documents we have commitments to produce.
> what i do not agree with though is that the primer is or could be a  
> replacement for the overview and the guide.
> i do not think we as a working group can possibly claim consensus  
> on that point since i have heard either verbal or verbal and  
> written resistance to this point from at least myself, jim, evan,  
> elisa, and conrad.
> at the f2f meeting bijan proposed two things with this document
> 1 - that he had ideas about a technical infrastructure for our  
> documents (with the notion of folding and unfolding)
> 2 - that he had ideas about a primer and further that that primer  
> could replace the overview and guide.
> we agreed in a lunch meeting at the f2f that bijan would take the  
> lead on producing something that we could use to evaluate the  
> technical approach.  i think that is successful in terms of folding  
> and unfolding.  it was suggested by evan and i agreed that he might  
> generate a small portion so that we could evaluate the approach  
> before a lot of work was done.  now we are in a more uncomfortable  
> position since a lot of work has been done and at least some people  
> have serious reservations about the goal of using a primer to  
> replace the overview and guide.
> most if not all collaborative writing experiences i have engaged  
> in  took on an outline  stage where concerned parties agreed on an  
> outline (and then potentially  divided up the work) and also  
> sometimes  explicitly and sometimes implicitly agreed upon the goals.
> we have not agreed on an outline or on the goals.
> the straw poll at the f2f meeting only voted on starting points and  
> showed there was disagreement how to start.  also we should note  
> that we agreed that if we were going to follow up on proposals such  
> as one presented at the f2f of writing an overview that is  
> something in between the owl 1.0 overview and the 1.1 member  
> submission overview, then we were instructed to vote to start over.
> we did not engage in a straw poll on goals and if one proposal is  
> to write a  primer and use that as a replacement for the overview  
> and the guide, i am in very strong opposition to that proposal. a  
> different goal is to create a  primer that will (only be) a  
> replacement for the guide.  i also am not thrilled about that idea  
> since i think the goals of a primer are different than the goals of  
> a guide but there is overlap in the goals so i think this one has a  
> shot at success.
> deborah
> Jim Hendler wrote:
>> I am unsure of the status of this document - my previous  
>> understanding was that it was being shown as an example of what  
>> the technology would allow (i.e. diferent syntax options) now it  
>> seems to be being reviewed as a WG document.  I have many issues  
>> with it, Ivan notes a couple below, and I have others -- but the  
>> key thing is I have not seen a WG dicussion of this approach to  
>> the primer, nor discussion of whether a single document like this  
>> complies to the charter.  So somehow it has gone from an  
>> experiment in documentation to being discussed as a proposed  
>> document.  I don't know if it is proposed as rec track or not, and  
>> I don't see appropriate discussion of its relation to the OWL 1.0  
>> documents that it proposes to replace (the Guide, for example, is  
>> more comprehensive than this).
>>  Traditionally one does not review a document until the WG has  
>> reached some consensus that they want that document to exist - and  
>> I don't see that discussion having been resolved at this point.    
>> I'm sorry if I seem obstructionist, but I believe things are being  
>> pushed through this WG way faster, and with less consensus than WG  
>> process would seem to indicate, and I believe that organizations  
>> that are in the minority are not being appropriately listened to.   
>> My organization has made this concern in private to the WG chair,  
>> and in this case I wish to explain, in public, why I am unhappy  
>> with the way the documents outside of the OWL 1.1 submission,  
>> although mandated by our charter, are not being appropriately  
>> discussed.   So, in light of the above,  I want to make it clear  
>> that:
>>   I believe the Working Group is reviewing a document that has not  
>> been appropriately discussed or developed via the W3C process, nor  
>> do I yet see compelling evidence that this document is compliant  
>> with the WG charter.   -Jim Hendler
>>   AC rep
>>   RPI
>> On Jan 23, 2008, at 5:11 AM, Ivan Herman wrote:
>>> Bijan, Peter,
>>> a small comment on
>>> http://webont.org/owl/documents/primer.html
>>> The current document says:
>>> [[[
>>> Resource Description Framework (RDF) and Schema: Of the  
>>> technologies discussed in this section, RDF(S) is the closest to  
>>> OWL. They both have roots in logic based knowledge  
>>> representation; in many ways, RDF(S) can be seen as a subset of  
>>> OWL; and, perhaps most prominently, the primary exchange syntax  
>>> for OWL has been RDF/XML. However, there are differences of  
>>> style, emphasis, and common practice that can make relying on RDF 
>>> (S) intuitions misleading when working with OWL. For example,  
>>> while OWL statements and expressions can be encoded as RDF facts  
>>> (triples), the triple view is not typically a fruitful way of  
>>> writing or understanding complex expressions. Similarly, it is  
>>> fairly common and effective to work with RDF as a graph data  
>>> structure or database where the primary focus is on the explicit  
>>> statements in the graph. Even when we consider parts of RDFS  
>>> which support implicit knowledge, such as subclass inheritance,  
>>> the relation between the explicit and implicit statements is very  
>>> direct. Thus, it is easy to conceptualize inference in terms of  
>>> graph structure manipulation.
>>> In contrast, OWL allows for -- and encourages -- operations that  
>>> are not rooted so directly in the evident structure of an ontology.
>>> ]]]
>>> I am not sure how to reconcile this paragraph with our  
>>> constituency using RDFS plus one of the very simple fragments of  
>>> OWL1.1 (say, DLP). For those users the last sentence may not be  
>>> really true; their modus of operation is certainly using RDFS,  
>>> explicit graph structure, triplets, and direct structure  
>>> statements (eg, stating that a specific FOAF property is inverse  
>>> functional in defining FOAF).
>>> I know there is an open issue somewhere down in the document on  
>>> how to address fragments in general, and I am not sure what your  
>>> thoughts on that issue is. But we should avoid creating a  
>>> possible misunderstanding in an introductory paragraph...
>>> It may be as simple as saying that in the case of more complex  
>>> ontologies "OWL allows for -- and encourages --" etc. I am not  
>>> 100% sure either.
>>> Ivan
>>> -- 
>>> Ivan Herman, W3C Semantic Web Activity Lead
>>> Home: http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/
>>> PGP Key: http://www.ivan-herman.net/pgpkey.html
>>> FOAF: http://www.ivan-herman.net/foaf.rdf
>> "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 <http:// 
>> www.cs.rpi.edu/%7Ehendler>
>> Tetherless World Constellation Chair
>> Computer Science Dept
>> Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY 12180

"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, 25 January 2008 14:41:20 UTC

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