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Re: Audience and suggestedMaxAge property

From: Karen Coyle <kcoyle@kcoyle.net>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2012 11:29:04 -0800
Message-ID: <50CA2C80.4070204@kcoyle.net>
To: Dan Brickley <danbri@google.com>
CC: Phil Archer <phila@w3.org>, "public-vocabs@w3.org" <public-vocabs@w3.org>, Egor Antonov <elderos@yandex-team.ru>
Just to add a similar usage, materials aimed at K-12 students and 
teachers often include a grade range ("grades 3-6") which is a suggested 
minimum/maximum. It doesn't look to me that the educational community 
has yet added its view to schema.org, but age and/or grade and/or skills 
level will naturally be a part of that. The GEM vocabulary [1] includes 
grade, level and age, and those can be ranges. They aren't meant to 
exclude, they are information for educators (or parents) who are seeking 
appropriate materials. I think of it as a "clue" rather than a "rule."

[1] http://dublincore.org/groups/education/GEM-Study.html

On 12/13/12 11:06 AM, Dan Brickley wrote:
> (top posting, but leaving some context below)
> Phil,
> We've discussed this (and your points below) amongst the schema.org
> partners. Here is a sketch of a compromise approach.
> 1. First, we acknowledge that schemas are useful when they reflect the
> complexity of real life rather than codifying over-stereotypical or
> cartoon views of the world, even though schemas by definition are
> always to some extent simplified descriptions. For example, schemas
> that describe people and model gender as a static binary property are
> over-simplifying the lives of many people, and can casually cause
> entirely avoidable offense. Although lots of Web sites do simplify in
> this way, it is probably not a good idea to have binary 'gender'
> properties in Web schemas, since sites that offer a more realistic
> nuanced view of the world shouldn't be forced to adopt the simplified
> view.
> 2. Generally sites have an incentive not to arbitrarily exclude
> potential audiences from their materials and offers; suggestedMaxAge
> is therefore probably of modest interest to most publishers.
> 3. There are some reasonable use cases for targeting content and
> offers by gender (e.g. health), and age (e.g. mortgage policies). Any
> reasonably expressive descriptive schema can be used to say
> ill-advised things. While there are unreasonable or foolish or
> tasteless or thoughtless potential uses of such vocabulary; it is not
> clear that restricting schema.org's vocabulary will help discourage
> sites from saying those things in natural language. It is hard to make
> general schema design policies in this area, and perhaps better to
> consider terms case by case. In this particular case, sites that
> needlessly exclude audiences may well be nudged more by common sense
> (why exclude potential customers?) than by the decisions of schema
> designers.
> 4. Schema.org provides a dictionary of terms; it leaves open the
> possibility of very different uses being made of those terms. You
> could use it to make a search system that excluded sites it deemed
> sexist or ageist or otherwise socially regressive. Or you could use it
> quite opposite ways. Neither usage scenario would be dictated by the
> definition of 'suggestedMaxAge'; the property would just make the
> statements from publishers easier to compute with.
> My sense is that there is enough reason to add such a property, but
> that it is worth documenting the fact that it is generally less useful
> than the suggested*Minimum*Age property. Speaking personally, although
> I do feel the Guardian-reading liberal urge to try to reform the world
> through schema design, I think that impulse should generally be
> restricted to avoiding patterns (eg. the gender example given earlier)
> whose every use is somehow problematic.
> Thanks for any further thoughts on this,
> cheers,
> Dan
> On 10 December 2012 18:10, Egor Antonov <elderos@yandex-team.ru> wrote:
>> Hi Phil,
>> thanks for the review.
>> Let me emphasize, that these properties are not restrictive (at the last
>> schema.org talk we decided to rename them to suggestedMinAge etc to make it
>> more clear).
>> It's just a hint for personalization issues, pointing at the nucleous of
>> people, who maybe want to view/buy/use some content.
>> If somebody searches for films, he/she probably wants to see that films
>> which are intended for his/her age (and gender, too).
>> Also, there can be non-matching correlation between user and intended
>> audience.
>> We can understand, that somebody likes non-typical (for his age/gender)
>> things and suggest those things he/she likes.
>> There are many websites with products, services and  creative works, which
>> explicitly mark their audience:
>> Games (5-12 years old):
>> http://www.mosigra.ru/Face/Show/detskie_detektivi_5_12/
>> Sport classes (mostly constrained by age in Russia): http://ttcentr.ru/
>> Music courses (also russian): http://www.muz-school.ru/courses/deti
>> http://www.ssww.com/item/candy-land-GA4700/cmc=BRWSGAMBRDYTH/grp=GAM/sbgrp=BRD/ln=YTH/fp=GA4700/sort=sales/p=1/
>> http://www.games14.co/
>> http://www.gymboree.com/index.jsp?ASSORTMENT%3C%3East_id=1408474395917465&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374303003787&bmUID=1354815600298
>> (see categories)
>> (I skip huge amount of woman clothes)
>>   2. The Audience proposal; based on the RDFa schema in
>>   https://bitbucket.org/elderos/schemaorg/src I've built a test version
>>   of the schema.org site that includes the Audience proposal (see
>>   http://www.w3.org/wiki/WebSchemas/Audience ). The draft site is at
>>   http://sdo99a.appspot.com e.g. see http://sdo99a.appspot.com/Audience
>> [..]
>>   From a technical point of view, this is fine of course. From an ethical
>> one, there are aspects I find seriously worrying if not potentially
>> offensive.
>> Why does anyone need to define the maximum age of an audience? An adult
>> friend of mine is not a strong reader. He reads books targeted at 11
>> year olds - and enjoys them. Why put it in his face that he's reading
>> children's books?
>> Minimum age - fine. We understand that. But you won't ever see a maximum
>> age on a film or game.
>> Daft. Drop it.
>> Gender? For a target audience? What? OK, so I'm a wishy washy dripping
>> wet liberal but if a girl wants to play with "boys' toys" or a boy wants
>> to read "chick lit" - why not? I think the content should speak for
>> itself and the potential consumer decide whether he/she wants it. The
>> Twilight saga is basically aimed at teenage girls, yes? I know at least
>> one teenage boy that read the whole series and many post-teenage girls
>> who enjoyed it too.
>> Of course content *is* targeted at gender, but I don't think it should
>> be part of the data.
>> Drop it.
>> The parental ones - i.e. this is for parents of children aged x - y does
>> make sense. That's potentially useful for parents.

Karen Coyle
kcoyle@kcoyle.net http://kcoyle.net
ph: 1-510-540-7596
m: 1-510-435-8234
skype: kcoylenet
Received on Thursday, 13 December 2012 19:29:37 UTC

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