W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org > November 2001

Re: Issue rdfms-assertion

From: Pat Hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 15:53:13 -0600
Message-Id: <p0510106fb819e75aa5ab@[65.212.118.147]>
To: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Cc: w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org
>Brian McBride wrote:
>[...]
>>  >>   http://www.w3.org/2000/03/rdf-tracking/#rdfms-assertion
>[...]
>
>Sorry, I can't let this one get swept under the rug...
>
>>  I'm really suggesting that the model theory is all we are going to 
>>say about the
>>  meaning of RDF.  What the law chooses to do about folks who put 
>>RDF statements
>>  on web pages is a matter for lawyers and politicians, not for us.
>
>On the contrary: the RDF Core WG is in the W3C Technology
>and Society domain for a reason: to make the connection
>between bits on the wire and social obligations.

But how can we possibly do that? That's like passing a law requiring 
vegetables to grow faster. We have no power to control how people do 
or don't meet their social obligations. And the connection between 
bits on the wire and legal obligations is going to get decided by the 
courts, whatever we say about it.

>There is some crazy laywer running around trying to encourage
>web site owners to screw up their P3P policy files in such
>a way as to be able to disclaim responsibility for their content.
>[P3P isn't quite written in RDF, but it was supposed to
>be, and should be, in a future revision, I hope].
>I suggest that this WG has an obligation to say that no,
>that's not consistent with the community's agreement
>about how this technology works.

What I find odd about this is the idea that W3C constitutes, or even 
speaks in the name of, a 'community'. The only things that speak in 
the names of communities are their elected or appointed 
representatives, and even then you had better carry a lot of salt 
with you.

>
>If you write, in RDF,
>	"This is an offer to sell widgets for $200 ea"
>ala*
>	<> a ucc:Offer;
>		ucc:itemClass myCatalog:Widget;
>		ucc:price [ ucc:USD [ dt:decimal "200" ]].
>
>where ucc: is bound to a "Uniform commercial code"
>schema, ratified by some 47 out of the 50 United States,
>and you serve that document via an HTTP 200 response,
>then you are in fact obliged to honor that offer just
>as if it were published in a printed catalog.

Well, that is an interesting claim. Suppose I were to deny it. How 
could we decide the issue? By consulting a model theory? By citing a 
publication of the W3C? (But what if you and I had nothing to do with 
the W3C, and had played no role in the formulation of this policy? Or 
what if I were just to tell the W3C to go to hell?) Or would it in 
fact get decided by a court somewhere? Seems to me that the last is 
the only reasonable answer, since most questions about social 
obligations get decided by court decisions; that itself seems to be 
one of the social rules in the US.

Pat
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Received on Thursday, 15 November 2001 16:52:58 EST

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