W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-owl-wg@w3.org > May 2009

Re: general stuff about rdf:text / rdf:PlainLiteral / ...

From: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@cs.manchester.ac.uk>
Date: Sun, 24 May 2009 17:41:57 +0100
Cc: "Peter F.Patel-Schneider" <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>, "OWL 1.1" <public-owl-wg@w3.org>
Message-Id: <80099DA7-4711-4DD7-BD2F-5C0D63F0B9E5@cs.manchester.ac.uk>
To: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
On 24 May 2009, at 12:36, Sandro Hawke wrote:

>> I'm not getting involved....I'm not getting involved...I'm not get oh
>> who the hell am I kidding?!
> Part of the problem with arguing about this on public-owl-wg is that  
> you
> don't have the other side here.  Some of us could try to represent  
> their
> perspective, but that introduces some errors, and if you do convince  
> us,
> it still hasn't solved the problem.  We got the key parties to  
> subscribe
> to public-rdf-text so we could talk about it directly.

Did we really get key parties so subscribed? I mean, aside from Andy  
and Eric. And I don't hear huge cries from them (nor did I on the  
SPARQL list). If I missed something, please point it out to me.


> Now, if people start using rdf:text for FOAF name values, my software
> will behave badly.  Which bad thing it will do will depend on that
> choice I made above, but all of them will be bad.

I don't see why passing on the lexical value is bad, esp. for display.  
That seems like sane behavior for a wide range of cases.

>  All of them will make
> my users annoyed at me (the software developer), and I (in turn)  
> will be
> annoyed with you.

I got the hypothetical with much less elaboration :) I may *seem*  
clueless in email, but I'm quite bright, I assure you ;)

>  Yes, I could change my software, but unless I see
> some real benefit from this new datatype, I'm only changing it because
> you threatened me with a stick;

If lots of producers start using rdf:text, I would presume it's  
because they see value in so producing. Your benefit is in accessing  
their data. If you can't, they have to weigh whether the benefits of  
using rdf:text outweight the costs of being maximally usable from your  
application. Or, you know, run a simple converter over their data.

> in my world, you didn't offer me any
> carrot.

Again, we can run this story mutatis mutandis from the perspective of  
an rdf:text user (or anyone who wants to define types over tagged  

Frankly, the thing in all this that still shocks me is that no one has  
stepped up to fix XMLLiteral. :)

>  Sure it's a small change, but from where I sit, I don't happen
> to see the motivation.  I might well push back and tell the users to
> stop using this new, evil datatype.  If they're just doing it because
> it's in OWL 2, I might get very resentful and negative towards OWL 2.
> If I'm doing my job really well and reviewing all the W3C drafts
> relevant to my tool, I more or less have a duty to formally object to
> rdf:text now, before I'm in this position of being very resentful and
> negative.

Formally object away. That you (i.e., an abstract person) has talked  
themselves into formally objecting doesn't mean that it has merit.

> Yes, this is just "market pressure", but that doesn't actually mean  
> I'll
> be happy about it, and I might well try to "market pressure" you back,
> by organizing a boycott of OWL 2, or whatever.

? How can you *boycott* OWL 2? OWL 2 isn't an entity selling anything.

If people are going to be bent of of shape because of rdf:text, for  
whatever reason, fine. Kill it for all I personally care (at the  
moment). But it's really bizarre to present it as a huge interop  
problem. It's not. It uses existing mechanisms in a standard way. It's  
easy to adapt too. For most people, nothing need change at all. I  
don't mind encouraging the "nothing changes" perspective, but I could  
go either way.

> And Yes, it's a very, very small change I have to make to my code.   
> One
> more bug, in the sea of bugs that is software development.  So, maybe
> I'll only object if I'm feeling like a curmugeon.

I'd just like us to separate out the fact of objecting from the quite  
overstrong claims that seem to be bandied about.

I'd go further. I'd love to see a bit more blaseness about fixing the  
RDF warts. People have been saying for YEARS!! to Not Rock The Boat  
because *this* time, RDF *really really really* IS *about* to take off  
and you'll scare people. And the warts remain. I just watched some  
HTML5 people discover that XMLLiteral requires canonicalization. Now  
that's bad PR.

If RDF is going to take off, then it will get mangled in all sorts of  
way out of necessity, carelessness, and facts of life.

> (Now, it turns out that I *personally* don't really fit this model,
> because I've been using RDF since before language tagged plain  
> literals
> came along, and they've always bugged me.  Like you, I find the  
> rdf:text
> a more elegant solution, and in service to that, I don't mind changing
> my software.  But, it seems, not everyone feels like that.  And people
> who don't love that elegance, well, they're letting us know....)

Are we getting that much pushback? I see a lot of noise but fairly  

> Where I end up with this story is this: if we had a chance to tell the
> story right, and nicely ask everyone to make this change, and they
> understood it and why it's worthwhile, maybe things would be fine.
> *Maybe* we can refine the draft enough to where it does that job.  We
> obviously didn't do it with the LC draft, judging by how worried about
> rdf:text some people got, and I'm not sure we can do it with any  
> draft.
> In general, when you're asking people to change their code, it's  
> good to
> have it be part of some package that includes some benefit they can
> see...

I don't disagree with that at all. I don't mind making small changes  
to make life easier and better for everyone. I still don't see why  
this requires conceding that there's some hugemongiantilossus interop  

But, I'm not involved in the delicate negotiations, so, I leave you to  

Received on Sunday, 24 May 2009 16:42:36 UTC

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