W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-rdf-comments@w3.org > June 2013

The tone of the "JSON-LD vs. RDF" debate (was re: Sub-issue on the re-definition of Linked Data)

From: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Jun 2013 22:29:22 -0400
Message-ID: <51B68B82.6080402@digitalbazaar.com>
To: David Booth <david@dbooth.org>
CC: Gregg Kellogg <gregg@greggkellogg.net>, Markus Lanthaler <markus.lanthaler@gmx.net>, 'public-rdf-comments' <public-rdf-comments@w3.org>
On 06/10/2013 06:09 PM, David Booth wrote:
> There are only a few outliers, and most of them seem to be members of
> the JSON-LD group who: (a) clearly have an ulterior motive in 
> re-defining the term "Linked Data";

Let's step back from this particular discussion for a second. I hope
that all of us can get some perspective by doing so.

I've noticed the tone of this thread go from helpful to personal in the
last few responses. That's not going to help the various parties
involved get to any sort of compromise.

I don't think it helps to start accusing others of having "ulterior
motive"s for a few reasons:

1. It erodes the environment of good faith that we strive to create
   across all W3C groups.
2. There is a negative connotation attached with that phrase and it
   puts people on the defensive.
3. We're not mind readers, so we shouldn't try to predict intent, and
4. We all want the RDF data model to succeed.

In general, we all want the same thing - for RDF to succeed in a much
bigger way than it has to date.

Let's review what we have so far:

1. JSON-LD has just been integrated into products (GMail, Google
   Search, and Google Now) that are being used by 425+ million people.
2. RDFa is being used on hundreds of thousands of domains.
3. The primary editors, authors, members, and implementors of those
   technologies are involved in the RDF WG, RDFa WG, and JSON-LD CG.

Any argument that claims that the people working on these technologies
are not also fighting for RDF are unconvincing. Additionally, I think
that the people working on these technologies have a very keen insight
into what works and what doesn't when it comes to getting adoption. They
have a track record to back it up.

One of the biggest problems that we faced with RDFa adoption were the
letters R, D, and F. It's not an issue in the RDF / Semantic Web groups.
It is a big issue outside of those groups. It's a big issue because
"RDF" has a horribly steep learning curve for Web developers that have
to keep umpteen technologies in their head as they try to create their
products. It's not the data model that's the problem, it's everything
else that is lumped on top. It's hard for a web developer to sort out
what the necessary parts of the stack are, so they tend to go all in and
get overwhelmed as a result.

The litmus test for most Web technologies that have high adoption rates
is "can I pick it up in an afternoon and do something cool with it?". If
the answer is "no", then the chances of it succeeding are far worse than
if you can answer the question above in the affirmative.

JSON-LD takes these two general insights and attempts to organize the
spec language around summarizing the good parts of what we're trying to
achieve as a community without overloading the developer with
unnecessary information.

If we introduce RDF too early in that document, we have three potential
negative outcomes:

1. Readers will feel overwhelmed that they have to learn yet another
technology to understand JSON-LD.
2. Readers will go off and read about RDF, which they shouldn't have to
do to do something useful with the technology.
3. Readers will short-cut the decision to use the technology based on
the LARGE body of mis-information out there about RDF.

Including RDF that early in the document only has one positive outcome:

1. We will be aligned with TimBL's definition of Linked Data (which has
been demonstrated to be controversial - case in point: this thread and
the increasingly hostile tone of the debate).

If there is an ulterior motive, it is to get RDF into the hands of as
many people as possible... which is a common goal for all of us.

It would be good if we can get the tone of the conversation centered
around that assumption and some solid proposals. Your last proposal was
good. It was -1'ed for reasons given, but you should also keep in mind
that we integrated some of your earlier feedback as well and have a very
good track record of integrating feedback from the RDF WG when there is
consensus around that feedback.

If any of you that feel strongly about this have the time to join the
JSON-LD call tomorrow, please do. I think we could come to an
understanding over the phone. Dial-in details are here:

http://json-ld.org/minutes/

-- manu

-- 
Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny, G+: +Manu Sporny)
Founder/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: Meritora - Web payments commercial launch
http://blog.meritora.com/launch/
Received on Tuesday, 11 June 2013 02:29:59 UTC

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