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Re: pruning the semantics document (and "meaningless terms")

From: pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 17:59:53 -0600
Message-Id: <p05111b0fba1d7f1236ee@[10.0.100.86]>
To: Frank Manola <fmanola@mitre.org>
Cc: w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org

>pat hayes wrote:
>
>>>Pat--
>>>
>>>I'm sorry, but on the basis of Patrick's recently-expressed 
>>>concerns about "meaningless terms", I've got to temporarily object 
>>>to this. The problem is roughly this:
>>>
>>>When I said:
>>>
>>>>>All these terms are discussed in the Primer (in some cases extensively),
>>>>>together with examples of their use.  In all the use cases, there are
>>>>>caveats expressed that describe these as "intended meanings",
>>>>>
>>>Patrick said:
>>>
>>>>
>>>>  But intended by whom? If they are intended by the RDF Core WG, then
>>>>  they should be normative. If they are intended by someone else, why
>>>>  should we say anything about them or even include the terms in the
>>>>  RDF vocabulary.
>>>
>>>
>>>and later said:
>>>
>>>>  Precisely. I think that the Primer should reflect, in minimally technical
>>>>  and accessible terms the normative content of the other documents, and
>>>>  the examples and verbage for these terms does in fact suggest that RDF
>>>>  is asserting meaning for these terms which it is not.
>>>
>>>
>>>So it seems to me that when the Semantics document describes the 
>>>intended meaning of terms from this vocabulary, like containers 
>>>and collections (and reification, and ...), it's a normative 
>>>statement of our intent (even if we can't fully define the 
>>>semantics formally), and it's OK then to elaborate on that in the 
>>>Primer.
>>
>>
>>Well, OK, not a big deal. I guess I was just worried that what you 
>>say in the Primer about collections/containers/reification is 
>>pretty much *exactly the same* as what I say in the MT doc, in some 
>>cases in almost the same words and with the same examples. So it 
>>just seems like duplication, is all I meant; and since the MT is, 
>>arguably, kind of overloaded with expanatory prose in any case (for 
>>an MT doc, that is), why not do some redundancy-pruning?. I wasnt 
>>meaning to get involved with normative/informative issues 
>>particularly. About half the semantics doc is explicitly labelled 
>>as non-normative in any case.
>
>
>I agree 100% about the duplication, and what you suggested made 
>perfect sense to me, except that if things said in the MT doc are 
>"meaningful", and the same things said in the Primer are 
>"meaningless", then let's by all means say them in the MT doc, where 
>we presumably "mean" them more (or something).  Sheesh.

Well, you may have noticed that I didnt take part in that discussion. 
Seems to me that whatever we say is going to get pored over, read, 
re-read, argued about till kingdom come, and whether or not we have 
marked some of it as more normative than other parts isnt likely to 
amount to hill of beans.

>
>>
>snip
>>>
>>>b.  We added the "meaningless" collection vocabulary not that long 
>>>ago.  This isn't a piece of bad old legacy syntax from M&S.  Did 
>>>we really have no normatively-describable intent in doing that?
>>
>>
>>No, and I had a perfectly fine formal MT for it, but the WG decided 
>>that we shouldnt use it. I still am puzzled about this decision, 
>>which was apparently taken on the grounds of 'RDF style'. Hey ho.
>
>
>Right.  This is a good illustration of the problem.  Can we 
>legitimately have a normatively-stated intent for some construct, 
>without having a formal MT for it ("intent" as opposed to "we will 
>absolutely guarantee you can never use this inconsistently with our 
>intent, and we have entailments that describe all aspects of that 
>intent")?

Well, yes. Whether we SHOULD or not is another matter, but I'll agree 
to shut up about that until after final call.

Pat


>  This is presumably an example of where we do.  I claim there are 
>other examples.
>
>--Frank
>
>
>
>
>--
>Frank Manola                   The MITRE Corporation
>202 Burlington Road, MS A345   Bedford, MA 01730-1420
>mailto:fmanola@mitre.org       voice: 781-271-8147   FAX: 781-271-875


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Received on Wednesday, 11 December 2002 18:59:59 EST

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