W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > January 2012

Re: status and problems on sematicweb.org

From: Gannon Dick <gannon_dick@yahoo.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2012 10:59:58 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <1326394798.92552.YahooMailNeo@web112618.mail.gq1.yahoo.com>
To: Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>
Hi Markus,
I just wanted to say that visibility (in the sense of popularity) and perceived authority are problematic metrics everywhere, but the normal work-arounds carry a danger for applications which depend upon degrees of separation rather than direct links between data structures.  Social Networks, FB for example have 4.75 degrees of network separation between any two random users, but a direct link between the "Home Office" and any single user.  Two direct links seem more efficient than 4.75 although that option completely misses the point of the Semantic Web. Knowledge transfer, not message transfer is the object, and that of itself requires a different way of thinking.  Sorry to say you are dealing with two kinds of Spam, some just plain nasty and some well-intentioned with a poor grasp of the issues.


 From: Markus Krötzsch <markus.kroetzsch@cs.ox.ac.uk>
To: Yury Katkov <katkov.juriy@gmail.com>; Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org> 
Cc: Semantic MediaWiki users <semediawiki-user@lists.sourceforge.net>; Linked Data community <public-lod@w3.org> 
Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2012 11:43 AM
Subject: Re: status and problems on sematicweb.org
Hi Yuri,

let us take this to one mailing list semantic-web@w3.org, as this is the list that is most involved (please drop the others when you reply).

As the technical maintainer of the site, I largely agree with your assessment. In spite of the very high visibility of the site (and perceived authority), the active editing community is not big. This is a problem especially given the significant and continued spam attacks that the site is under due to its high visibility (I just recently changed the captcha system and rolled back thousands of edits, yet it seems they are already breaking through again, though in smaller numbers).

I do not want to blame anybody for the state of affairs: most of us do not have the time to contribute significant content to such sites. However, given the extraordinary visibility of the site, we should all perceive this as a major problem (to the extent that we attach our work to the label "semantic web" in any way).

So what can be done?

(1) Freeze the wiki. A weaker version of this is: allow users only to edit after they were manually added to a group of trusted users (all humans welcome). This would require somebody to manage these permissions but would allow existing projects/communities to continue to use the site.

(2) Re-enforce spam protection on the wiki. Maybe this could be done, but the site is targeted pretty heavily. Standard captchas like ReCaptcha are thus getting broken (spammers do have an effective infrastructure for this), but maybe non-standard captchas could work better. This is a task for the technical maintainers (i.e., me and the folks at AIFB Karlsruhe where the site is hosted).

(3) Clean the wiki. Whether frozen or not, there is a lot of spam already. Something needs to be done to get rid of it. This requires (easy but tedious) manual effort. Some stakeholders need to be found to provide basic workforce (e.g., by hiring a student to help with spam deletion).

(4) Restore the wiki. Update the main pages (about technologies and active projects) to reflect a current and/or timeless state that we would like new readers to see. This again needs somebody to push it, and for writing pages about topics like SPARQL one would need some expertise. This is a challenge for the community.

I am willing to invest /some/ time here to help with the above, but (3) and (4) requires support from more people. On the other hand, there are probably hardly more than 20 or 30 *essential* content pages that we are talking about here, plus many pages about projects and people that one should ask the stakeholders to review. So one might be able to make this into a shining entry point to the semantic web in a week of work ... together with (1) and (2) above, the invested work would remain valuable for a long time.



On 12/01/12 10:43, Yury Katkov wrote:
> Hi everyone!
> What is the current status of the semanticweb.org
> <http://semanticweb.org> website? It used to be the main wiki about the
> semantic web, it has a lot of cool and useful information about
> everything. But now it seems abandoned. I mean, there are about 30 real
> writers who update the information about their projects an write
> articles, but they do something like 30% of changes. The other 70% is spam!
> Are there guys who support the website?
> Who manages the community, are there any plans of creating projects and
> articles about SW? Is there community at all?
> In my opinion if this great website suppose to be alive the first goal
> is to find volunteers who'll help administrator to combat spam (with
> bots, extensions and editing policies) and support the new activities
> and projets on the wiki. (I'm ready to be one of them).
> If this wiki lived only in the past when it was a big hype around
> Semantic Web topics and now without a big funding nobody wants to use it
> - wouldn't it better to be frozen?
> I appreciate and admire people who started up the wiki. Please, don't
> let it be the rotting memorial to the past of the Semantic Web.
> -----
> Sincerely yours,
> Yury Katkov, WikiVote llc

-- Dr. Markus Kroetzsch
Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford
Room 306, Parks Road, OX1 3QD Oxford, United Kingdom
+44 (0)1865 283529              http://korrekt.org/
Received on Thursday, 12 January 2012 19:28:37 UTC

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