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RE: Social Meaning Boston 6 March

From: Peter Crowther <Peter.Crowther@networkinference.com>
Date: Mon, 17 Feb 2003 11:24:38 -0000
Message-ID: <3BE4D3F0FB726240966DEF40418472B5012CBF@ni-lon-server1.ad.networkinference.com>
To: <www-rdf-comments@w3.org>
Cc: "Jeremy Carroll" <jjc@hplb.hpl.hp.com>, <www-webont-wg@w3.org>

> From: Jeremy Carroll [mailto:jjc@hplb.hpl.hp.com] 
> To: Jeremy Carroll; www-webont-wg@w3.org
> Assuming this WG is not going to endorse Peter's comment
> [[1]]

I'd endorse that personally and, as the AC rep for Network Inference,
would be likely to vote against RDF simply because of this flaw.  Social
meaning is not something that a spec can influence, or should attempt to
influence; that is up to the courts and the governments of our existing
legal structures, not to W3C.  I think it is hubris to believe anything
else, and that kismet will swiftly follow due to the non-deployment of
RDF.  Certainly I would recommend to my colleagues, business partners
and clients that they remove all existing use of RDF from their
organisations forthwith, as its legal status was insufficiently clear as
a consequence of the new standard.  This would include other W3C
standards that use RDF, such as RSS --- who knows what 'social meaning'
might be carried by an RSS feed?

OWL is another matter, but I would recommend that the XML encoding of
OWL be used rather than the RDF encoding.

Could I also point to my comment [2] on www-webont-wg about translators
and the lack of clear responsibility for the social meaning of the
translated RDF?  Reproduced below:

-- snip --

Here's another interesting one, by the way, more related to
rdfms-assertion; I'm not sure what to make of this.  Consider a variant
of the UMD DAML+OIL to OWL translator that takes DAML+OIL and/or KRSS as
input and that produces OWL[/RDF] output.  Consider further that it is
accessible via a HTTP GET and can translate DAML+OIL and KRSS that it
can retrieve by URL - so there is a unique URL for its OWL translation
of some non-OWL (and, indeed, non-RDF) input.  Consider further that
some public-spirited soul makes this available as a service on their Web
site.  Who is responsible for the 'social meaning' of the produced (and
effectively published) OWL?  The author of the original document,
despite the fact that they wrote in a formalism that didn't have this
burden?  The operator of the translation service, despite the fact that
they have no control over the data on which it is used?

-- snip --

My own proposal would be to state that publishers of RDF SHOULD state
the legal framework under which they are publishing that RDF, and that
it is up to consumers of that RDF to determine whether they then want to
use it.  This may push the problem of an agent trying to determine
whether it should trust content from the agent being required to
understand the free text (in any language) inside each comment to the
agent being required to understand the legal ramifications of a single
statement of framework (in any language).


[2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-webont-wg/2003Jan/0310.html
Received on Monday, 17 February 2003 06:25:10 UTC

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