W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org > June 2011

Re: Trying to summarise: Semantic free identifiers

From: Chime Ogbuji <chimezie@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2011 00:24:56 -0400
To: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Cc: Jim McCusker <mccusj@rpi.edu>, James Malone <malone@ebi.ac.uk>, Andrea Splendiani <andrea.splendiani@bbsrc.ac.uk>, Helena Deus <helenadeus@gmail.com>, Matt Vagnoni <matthew.vagnoni@uth.tmc.edu>, Michel_Dumontier <michel_dumontier@carleton.ca>, Sivaram Arabandi, MD <sivaram.arabandi@gmail.com>, "M. Scott Marshall" <mscottmarshall@gmail.com>, andrea splendiani <andrea.splendiani@rothamsted.ac.uk>, "MMVagnoni@mdanderson.org" <mmvagnoni@mdanderson.org>, HCLS <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>, Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>
Message-ID: <F95AFCA251674359954DDC1B8B56D8BF@gmail.com>
Pat, I don't think this discussion was meant to apply to the semantic web generally (but primarily to biomedical ontologies - hence the relevance to this interest group mailing list) and as much as I agree with you about the issues associated with requiring opaque identifiers, this discussion is actually important (at least to me) because of the consequences of what the start of the thread was suggesting: that identifiers in the Relations Ontology will be changing. 

The Relations Ontology is very central to many of the recently developed biomedical ontologies and (speaking only for myself - since is the realm of my day job) is sort of a foundation for many of them. The impact of such a change would be quite large. Certainly, the ontologies I develop and the ones I use would have to undergo what I would consider a substantive revision.

The discussion is also important because the issues that motivated the need for opaque identifiers (as I understand them) are more emphasized in this domain than in others and I'm glad (frankly) to finally have been exposed to the thinking behind them and such open conversation is a necessary step along the way to consensus (or at least to being able to do a decent job of documenting the pros and cons). 

Me personally, I'm a little alarmed that the discussion was only triggered by the realization that the decision had already made and now I feel compelled to find the mailing list of the stewards of the RO to at least attempt to push back before having to decide to either build my own or simply stick with a pre-opaque identifier version! 

And don't get me started on the general topic of absurd / redux / perma threads in the SW community - at least the considerations here are not exclusively in the realm of philosophy. I've seen worse and I think you know those that I speak of, since you have been involved in many of the ones I listed at the end of a previous email (probably unwittingly).
On Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at 11:22 PM, Pat Hayes wrote:
This entire discussion is simply absurd, if it is supposed to apply to the semantic web generally. OF COURSE people are not going to re-name the RDFS or OWL vocabulary (for example) with 'opaque' names. Programming languages are not going to use opaque identifiers for their reserved vocabularies, and people are not going to start speaking in numerical codes. This would all be riotously funny if some people did not, apparently, take it seriously.
> How could such a crazy idea ever be enforced? Rest assured that the W3C is not going to re-write its standards to require opaque identifiers. If someone feels that http://whatever.com/opacity/045678723 better suits their methodology than, say, http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#domain, then by all means let them assert the equivalence using owl:sameAs. Of course, this will not actually work in OWL (the RDFS namespaces are reserved vocabulary) but no doubt the extensive Tooling which they will build will have its own special reasoners and hence be able to overcome this minor detail. 
> This discussion should never have even begun in a Semantic Web forum. Save your energies for more productive discussions, such as how to reconcile the Palestine/Israel conflict. 
> Pat Hayes
Chime Ogbuji
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Received on Wednesday, 22 June 2011 04:25:38 UTC

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