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Re: RDF *already* supports literal subjects - a thought experiment

From: Henry Story <henry.story@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2010 15:29:17 +0100
Cc: paoladimaio10@googlemail.com, Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>
Message-Id: <8B5D1C48-DE65-4527-A5B9-199B324F7061@gmail.com>
To: Lin Clark <lin.w.clark@gmail.com>
Ok, I also agree with you Lin and Paula.

The types of things we could "measure" would be:

  - how much change to the specs, would it require to have literals as subjects
    ( I think Pat Hayes argued it is quite small change )
  - how much impact does this have on existing solutions?
    ( If one does not make any changes to RDF/XML, this looks like it could be 
      quite minor, even non existent )
     It seems that there is a workaround for current solutions.
     But there may be other changes
  - what value does this bring
     + where does it bring value in the spec side
     (some have said SPARQL, rules languages, N3 standardisation, simplicity of specs)
     + where does it bring value for the end user? What are the end users?

So one could put a table like this together, and fill it out. I think this would be a good initial "measurement" of the problem, and perhaps this can then lead to certain real measurements such as "lines of code" needing change and what those are tied to, in order to estimate business value. Though I doubt that one can get very far there, as these are very deep conceptual changes, for which it is well known that it is very difficult to find measure. See books such as Kuhns "The Structure of Scientific Revolution".

	Henry
     
    

On 13 Jul 2010, at 13:21, Lin Clark wrote:

> On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 9:20 AM, Henry Story <henry.story@gmail.com> wrote:
> 
>> Paola, not everything is amenable to testing, measurement, etc... For
>> example, this
>> would hardly make any sense for most of mathematics, since that is what
>> gives you the tools for doing the measurements in the first place. Logic, to
>> which it was thought that most of maths could be reduced to, thefore has the
>> same issue. Similarly by the way for asethetic values. Or even for ethical
>> ones. How would you go around testing whether "killing is bad"? (Rhethorical
>> Question).
> 
> 
> I have to chime in and disagree on this point. Much of the discussion hasn't
> centered around the logical and mathematical perfection of any solution, but
> on what impact solutions have on use and users.
> 
> A priori reasoning is particularly *un*suited to this kind of
> problem—particularly in the case where the research community is
> ethnographically different than the users they are trying to reach, as we
> are. In this particular case, we are trying to reach developers, often times
> Web developers, who most likely have a very different understanding of the
> world than the bulk of the Semantic Web research community. If we look to
> other fields, we can see how user science has been applied in the
> development of systems, languages, and APIs, by treating developers as
> users.
> 
> If assertions about human use are part of the argument, then empirical
> research about how humans use the tools should be a part of the research and
> evaluation. We need to build a scientific literature that actually addresses
> these issues instead of assuming that human mind is the best of all possible
> (logical) worlds.
> 
> -Lin
Received on Tuesday, 13 July 2010 14:29:53 UTC

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