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

From: Frank Manola <fmanola@acm.org>
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2010 10:47:22 -0400
Message-id: <BD636C08-E91E-4FE6-9CD0-FF66E4015E46@acm.org>
To: Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>
This discussion reminds me of the old saying "in theory, theory and practice are the same, but in practice, they're different".  Pat's description of a number of potential problems with the data URI idea seemed to prompt Paola's comment that ideas should be tested and the results measured, Henry's response to that, Lin's response to that, and so on.  All the points made are reasonable enough in "theory" (e.g., certainly things ought to be tested, in general).  In practice, how do people propose conducting a realistic test/measurement of data URIs specifically?  I don't mean just writing draft specs of the proposed changes and implementing them, and running a few simple apps.  I mean putting the implementation to use with extensive realistic apps and seeing what happens, in comparison with the current specs and implementations, over a reasonable period of time.  This seems to me to be the only way to get the "rigorous benchmarking/testing and measuring corresponding performance levels, costs, benefits, etc with painstaking detail" that Paola described.  In theory, this seems like a fine idea.  In practice, expecting this sounds unrealistic in the extreme (e.g., who's organization is prepared to pay for this).  So what kind of testing do people have in mind that they think would be satisfactory to decisively determine the right approach? 

--Frank

On Jul 13, 2010, at 8:21 AM, 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 unsuited 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 14:48:09 UTC

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