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Re: How "valid" is to use a term marked as "unstable" for a data publisher/consumer?

From: Ghislain Atemezing <auguste.atemezing@eurecom.fr>
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2016 13:04:49 +0200
Cc: Leigh Dodds <leigh.dodds@gmail.com>, Libby Miller <libby@nicecupoftea.org>, W3C Vocabularies <public-vocabs@w3.org>, Linking Open Data <public-lod@w3.org>
Message-Id: <CCEAFC0F-ABB2-48F1-A885-0B98269C7D09@eurecom.fr>
To: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Hi Dan, 
Many thanks for this summary showing the beginning of what we can be proud to contribute as well. 
Many thanks for all your contributions I have to say. Few comments inline below… 

> Le 20 juil. 2016 à 12:10, Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org> a écrit :
> 
> +Cc: Leigh Dodds, for old time's sake
> 
> On 20 July 2016 at 09:45, Ghislain Atemezing
> <auguste.atemezing@eurecom.fr> wrote:
> 
> On some level this is my fault :)

No one to blame ;) Hopefully many thinks have changed since 2003, and that’s a good sign of maturity for the entire SemWeb community ;).

> 
> The vocabulary at [1] bubbled out of FOAF collaborations many years
> ago, where we were keen to explore more fine-grained mechanisms for
> term evolution than the previously dominant notion that versioning
> happened at the vocabulary/namespace level. We had seen efforts like
> Dublin Core get stuck because of a sense that changing any term's
> documentation necessitated a revision to the schema's version number
> (DC 1.0 -> DC 1.1), and I had also been responsible for somewhat naive
> language in the 1998/1999 working drafts of the initial RDFS spec
> which encouraged the notion that any changes to a schema should
> require a new URL.
> 
> See http://lists.foaf-project.org/pipermail/foaf-dev/2003-July/005462.html
> for the initial design discussions in the FOAF project, ~2003.
> 
> The reason that the vocab status vocabulary is itself marked as
> unstable, is that we hoped to refine it in the light of experience,
> and in particular to consider using URLs instead of well known
> strings, to better support i18n/l18n and SKOS-style refinement. We did
> make a sketch of a sketch of a W3C Note on this at
> https://www.w3.org/2003/06/sw-vocab-status/note but didn't complete
> the work. There may also be things we can reflect from the schema.org
> experience, as well as mechanisms in OWL and SKOS, that ought to be
> incorporated. On the schema.org side, for example, we recently added a
> "pending" area of the vocabulary (see http://pending.schema.org/)
> where drafts are shared; this is roughly like "unstable" but the word
> "pending" is slightly less intimidating to potential users.
> 
> The main point of marking a term 'unstable' is that if the term
> maintainer does change it in the light of experience, they have an
> excuse and can say "hey, don't blame us, we said there was some chance
> we might change the definitions in light of experience". Beyond that,
> I doubt there is much that can be formally encoded and potential users
> are probably best advised to read actual human-oriented text and
> discussions to understand any remaining open issues.
> 

What you call here “in the light of experience”, how would you measure that? Is it like gathering evidence of use from 
the community? In your opinion, is there a moment or deadline for a maintainer to do a revision of the terms. 
For e.g., the maintainer can state that after XX years/months, if I don’t see any concrete evidence, I can flag the “unstable” 
terms to “deprecated”, etc. 
> For example, http://pending.schema.org/ClaimReview describes the
> status ('pending') of the schema.org term ClaimReview. Probably the
> most important thing that page does is point to the corresponding
> issue tracker entry at
> https://github.com/schemaorg/schemaorg/issues/1061 where you can ready
> anything that is known in that vocabulary community about the maturity
> or otherwise of the relevant term.

I like the idea, but at the same time how do you engage the discussion with the rest of the community? 
Probably “pending” as you say is a good idea. 

> So if I were revisiting the
> vocabulary status vocabulary in 2016 my advice would be that it should
> be re-oriented towards discovery of such human-oriented documentation,
> rather than trying to over-formalize codes like 'unstable' vs
> 'testing' whose nuanced meaning will naturally vary by context and
> project.

You forgot to mention also in the revision to add more metadata in the vocab (for the machines as well) ;)
There will be always a tradeoff between what is useful to be discovered by the machines and what can humans 
can support. I guess this will be more critical with the new technologies such as self driving cars and so on... 


Cheers,
Ghislain 


---------------------------------------
Ghislain A. Atemezing, Ph.D
Mail: ghislain.atemezing@gmail.com
Web: https://w3id.org/people/gatemezing <http://www.atemezing.org/>
Twitter: @gatemezing
About Me: https://about.me/ghislain.atemezing <https://about.me/ghislain.atemezing>
Received on Wednesday, 20 July 2016 11:05:21 UTC

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