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Re: Another try.

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2012 12:12:11 -0500
To: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Cc: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>, Andy Seaborne <andy.seaborne@epimorphics.com>, public-rdf-wg@w3.org
Message-ID: <1329930731.2166.202.camel@waldron>
On Wed, 2012-02-22 at 16:47 +0100, Dan Brickley wrote:
> On 22 February 2012 16:01, Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org> wrote:
> > On Tue, 2012-02-21 at 15:43 -0600, Pat Hayes wrote:
> >>  the rdf: and rdfs: vocabularies are not intended to be used
> >> 'contextually' (eg they dont change with time and should be resistant
> >> to subjective re-interpretation)
> >
> > Is that really true?
> 
> Depends whose intention you're considering. I think the general
> consensus around W3C, from the start of this project, was that RDF/S
> *would* be used to describe things whose characteristics changed over
> time. So filesizes, city population counts, ages, even gender. At the
> same (1) there was an acknowledgement from the start that the RDF'99
> could do with cleaning up, formalising, and care.  (2) pretty much
> everyone understood there were tradeoffs between using data idioms
> that "age well" (eg. preferring date of birth to age), even if they're
> awkward, and the likelihood that RDF/S would be used for describing
> volatile characteristics too (3) the formalisation from RDFCore era
> ... nobody expected the logic folk (Pat, Peter and friends) to come up
> with a formal account that dealt with time and change and similar
> awkward messy aspects. And they didn't; and nobody really minded that.
> But it introduced a kind of disconnect between RDF-in-practice and
> RDF-as-spec'd (and a matching disconnect between different members of
> the community around RDF).
> 
> So we just sort of quietly pretended (in the nicest possible way) that
> RDF wouldn't be used to describe changing characteristics of things,
> even while knowing full well this would happen in practice. I think
> the little Dilbert writeup I made last year -
> http://danbri.org/words/2011/11/03/753 - shows how inevitable it is.
> But if anything went wrong, we could always say "hey, .. you didn't
> read the small print!" and point them at the official semantics which
> describe a nice clean simple universe frozen in time. I'd say it's
> overstating the case to say RDF/RDFS (RDFCore edition) were "not
> intended" to be used in situations where characteristics changed. We
> just didn't know how to formalise our description of that. And so now
> we're left with a big lump in the carpet...

Thanks for explaining this.   With your current perspective, can you
think of anything we can usefully do on this front?   I'm hoping we can
at least provide a WG Note which offers some best (or at least good)
practices for dealing with the lump.    (This is a fallback position, in
case Pat's effort doesn't end up in a Rec for this WG.)

       -- Sandro
Received on Wednesday, 22 February 2012 17:12:24 UTC

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