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Re: Hacker rally questionnaire draft, take 2

From: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2007 12:44:22 +0100
Message-ID: <45A77496.5090902@w3.org>
To: Kjetil Kjernsmo <kjetilk@opera.com>
Cc: W3C SWEO IG <public-sweo-ig@w3.org>
I must say I share your opinion in most of what you say. My
understanding is that the questionnaire you had aims as SW converts:-)
to make a collective thinking on what to implement to show the
uncoverted whatever we want to show. Getting into a larger level
discussion, though maybe interesting, may make us loose time...

My two pence:-) (Oops, two eurocents:-)


Kjetil Kjernsmo wrote:
> On Thursday 11 January 2007 17:01, Kingsley Idehen wrote:
>>Starting a conversation is just that. I don't see how the notion of
>>"hackers" and their feelings come into play here per se. We just want
>>to have a conversation about the relevance of the Semantic Web to Web
>>Developers. During this conversation we explore usage scenarios and
>>possible solutions or seek: "How would the Semantic Web address this
>>problem..." type commentary. This kind of thing happens every other
>>second across the blogosphere today. We just need to being SWEO into
>>this mix by seeding relevant conversations.
> Well, this depends on your perspective. My perspective is this: Outside 
> of the Semantic Web community I have seen little of that commentary, to 
> the contrary, to me it seems like 90% of our audience allready thinks 
> we have failed miserably. They think that semweb is only talk, but that 
> it is hardly possible to get things to run, because it is too complex. 
> They think it is a dream of a small number of reality-detached 
> academics. 
> What they can cite is that RSS was not successful before it abandoned 
> RDF (not entirely true of course, but still). Mozilla has had RDF 
> support for years, but to leading figures there, it has had no value at 
> all, even though they hardly understood it from the beginning. People 
> who have understood RDF well includes Aaron Swartz, who allready told 
> this list that "now SW has such a bad rap that I wonder if it's too 
> late."
> In this context, "How would the Semantic Web address this problem..." 
> commentary is meaningless, because it is only talk. There has been 
> enough talk, in fact, there has been far too much talk. People are sick 
> of it, and more talk will only underline the presumption that we have 
> failed. 
> I believe it is not possible to reach out beyond the Semantic Web 
> community with conversation at this point. It is too late. The train 
> left the station. The rocket has been launched. There are too many 
> high-profile failed attempts to use SW technologies out there and 
> hardly any prominent success stories.  
> There are a few things that can reverse this trend. One thing is 
> widespread adoption in at the enterprise level, something that is 
> clearly happening, such as the Norwegian oil industry, which will make 
> SW technologies a job requirement. Another thing is academic adoption, 
> which will expose a lot of students to it. It took only two such 
> students to start Yahoo and another two to start Google. These things 
> are also happening, as there are a few academic programs that include 
> it, and projects including the Mesur project at LANL and Virtual 
> Observatory for astronomy. A third possibility is that it spreads from 
> entertainment industry projects, such as the Venice Project.
> It could certainly spread from these angles, but I fear that all these 
> things will be backend-deployments, it will not really expose the data 
> to the web, and on the web, there are few programmers who actually use 
> it. That's not really the Semantic Web, is it?
> As a big part of the early web, beyond the High Energy Physics 
> community, was personal homepages with a lot of pretty interesting 
> stuff, I think it is equally important to have on board a large number 
> of individuals. I think it is extremely important to reach out to them, 
> but as they think that all they need to know is that the Semantic Web 
> has been tried and failed, there is only one thing that I think is 
> meaningful to do at this point, and that's to stop talking and prove 
> them wrong with code. Genuinely useful stuff. And we have to create it 
> ourselves.
> And that's why hacker's feelings are not only relevant, but extremely 
> important, because they are the only ones who can do it. I'm not even 
> trying to appeal to the bloggers outside of the SW community because I 
> think I allready know what they think ("bad rap"). I have such a great 
> intellectual investment in the Semantic Web, that I want to write the 
> code to make it work, but I know other hackers who doesn't feel quite 
> the same allthough they would actively participate if we don't give 
> them the impression that this is something that they must do, but 
> something that's interesting to them.
> There is certainly value in engaging the average web developer in 
> conversations about SW, as we get a better overview of what they 
> actually think. It is probably not quite as categorical as I say above, 
> especially since you say people are talking about it. It could also, 
> with time, motivate some to do something practical, but I see that as 
> orthogonal (or at least 80 degrees in Euclidian geometry :-) ) to my 
> initiative here. My initiative here is to gather hackers allready 
> interested in the Semantic Web and produce a quick consensus around 
> what's interesting, and then do it with least possible talk involved. 
> Cheers,
> Kjetil


Ivan Herman, W3C Semantic Web Activity Lead
URL: http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/
PGP Key: http://www.cwi.nl/%7Eivan/AboutMe/pgpkey.html
FOAF: http://www.ivan-herman.net/foaf.rdf

Received on Friday, 12 January 2007 11:44:31 UTC

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