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

From: Jim Hendler <hendler@cs.rpi.edu>
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2009 10:02:24 -0500
Cc: public-owl-comments@w3.org, "Ralph R. Swick" <swick@w3.org>, W3C OWL Working Group <public-owl-wg@w3.org>
Message-Id: <8C4B5AC8-FB68-4119-ACC9-9DC2A7EAFFBA@cs.rpi.edu>
To: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@cs.man.ac.uk>
  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.  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.
  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.  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 - 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  
  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,  
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.
  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.
  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.
   -Jim Hendler
    AC Rep

On Feb 19, 2009, at 5:04 AM, Bijan Parsia wrote:

> This is a personal response.
> I am, of course, surprised and dismayed that you would experience my  
> sentence as an insult. In the email conversation you had with us  
> which clarified this feature of OWL, you wrote (in <http://www.w3.org/mid/3D9CD8CA-8994-4703-93EF-2E0753B2BF8E@cs.rpi.edu 
> >):
> """"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..."""
> When drafting the response, I considered whether your not getting  
> these use cases was function of your expertise. It is not uncommon  
> for people with a lot of background in an area to read things  
> differently than people new to an area. Obviously, we don't want to  
> optimize our documents for experts. In this case, however, it was  
> clear that the clarification was helpful to all readers. I included  
> the sentence about your expertise in order to indicate that we had  
> taken *all* of your remarks into careful consideration. Clearly, I  
> step wrongly there.
> There were those in the working group (e.g., Christine Golbreich)  
> who were uneasy about that remark, but yielded to my judgment partly  
> on the grounds that you and I have worked together for a long time  
> and had a good relationship. You can see my reply to Christine  
> wherein I argue against her on the grounds above:
> 	<http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-owl-wg/2009Jan/0203.html>
> (Scroll to the end.)
> In the discussion of your comment which led to working group  
> approval of this comment:
> 	<http://www.w3.org/2007/OWL/meeting/2009-02-04#JH1>
> You'll see:
> 	"""Bijan Parsia: Jim was happy with the additional line to the  
> document, that I sent to the mailing list"""
> Which was a reference to an email you sent privately  to me in  
> response to the following message:
> 	<http://www.w3.org/mid/B0350B0D-2482-468D-84D7-71650CBBD524@cs.man.ac.uk 
> >
> You wrote:
> """not cc'ed
> I have reason to believe that this would be accepted :-)
> (and I like the additional line you came up with, so hope you'll add  
> it.)
> -JH"""
> Your email message contained the entirety of the draft response,  
> including the offensive line.
> It was on the basis of this message from you that I assured the  
> working group that you were fine with the response, in spite of some  
> misgivings. If the working group is to blame for anything, it was  
> for placing to much confidence in my judgement.
> I hope it is clear that there was no slight or insult intended and  
> that the comment arose naturally from the discussion which included  
> you and that it remained in the final message because of a confusion  
> on my part and the working group's trust in me.
> I apologize both to you and the working group for the trouble  
> caused, and to Christine for dismissing her concern.
> 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 Thursday, 19 February 2009 15:03:06 UTC

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