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Re: understandings maths

From: Antoine Zimmermann <antoine.zimmermann@emse.fr>
Date: Tue, 01 May 2012 09:53:15 +0200
Message-ID: <4F9F966B.4090900@emse.fr>
To: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
CC: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>, public-rdf-wg@w3.org
Thanks for writing this, Sandro.

Of course, I understand that there are different skills at different 
levels and people are not necessarily checking everything. I was never 
assuming that everyone is willing to check the dirty details. But my 
assumption is that the people who are interested in the matter of a 
specific question (like Pat and I are for the semantics, like Eric, Andy 
and Gavin are for the Turtle grammar) will spend the effort to 
understand the technicalities, and they'll manage.
That's what I meant: we all have the capacities to understand the 
details of what we are interested in, when we decide to spend the effort 
(at least that's what I presume).

But my point was actually to say that you can't avoid putting the 
technical details with the excuse that most people won't read them. You 
can't avoid putting the grammar in place, even if only 3 or 4 people are 
going to read it through. You can't define a formal semantics with 
"just" English sentences.
That's the important message, sorry if it was awkwardly formulated.


Le 01/05/2012 03:35, Sandro Hawke a écrit :
> On Sun, 2012-04-29 at 12:47 +0200, Antoine Zimmermann wrote:
>> It is the most important part. It provides the technical details that
>> allow one to implement it. In order to be able to compare it to the
>> other existing proposal, you need to get the definitions straight.
>> People of this working group, all being highly educated I suppose,
>> understand maths.
> Everyone brings different skills, abilities, interests, and background
> to this group.  One has to make some assumptions in order to
> communicate, but for this kind of group we have to be willing to
> accommodate everyone, rethinking our assumptions, hopefully without too
> much grumbling.  I don't think everyone in this group understands the
> math you're using.
> What I've seen in past WGs which issued Recommendations using formal
> semantics was that (1) some people were confident they understood them,
> (2) some people had a general understanding but probably wouldn't notice
> a bug, and (3) some people didn't even try.   [I'm somewhere between 2
> and 3.]  Even people in group 3 felt confident voting for the spec,
> however, because they trusted that when the people in group 1 all agreed
> about a factual matter, it was probably true.   So people in the
> previous RDF WG could generally understand an entailment test case, and
> took the word of the experts that the model theory supported that test
> case.
> Of course this kind of thing applies to all corners of the work, not
> just formal semantics.   When Eric, Andy, and Gavin claim the turtle
> grammar is LL(1), do we all check?  Do we all know what LL(1) means?
> Probably not, but that's okay.  We trust that if the experts who care
> about it talk it through and come to an agreement, that's probably good
> enough.   So it's fine for the experts to talk in the appropriate
> jargon, but at the end of the day, they also need to bring it down to
> some language everyone understands.
>      -- Sandro

Antoine Zimmermann
ISCOD / LSTI - Institut Henri Fayol
École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Saint-Étienne
158 cours Fauriel
42023 Saint-Étienne Cedex 2
Tél:+33(0)4 77 42 83 36
Fax:+33(0)4 77 42 66 66
Received on Tuesday, 1 May 2012 07:54:45 UTC

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