W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-rdf-interest@w3.org > October 2002

Re: Meaning of URIRefs

From: pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2002 11:59:56 -0600
Message-Id: <p05111b06b9e32998cea7@[]>
To: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Cc: www-rdf-interest@w3.org

>  > Sure, strong-hint is fine, I guess. But look: suppose you in fact
>>  just said something sensible about _:x, say that it was a cat and
>>  also a Siamese, and suppose some other schmuk said that all Siamese
>>  were dogs. I now have a contradiction derived from three sources.
>>  There's nothing you can do to protect me from believing some nonsense
>>  written by someone else. So no matter what *you* say, *I* need to be
>>  always on my toes to make sure I don't just believe anything people
>>  say using other people's urirefs. For that matter, I need to be on my
>>  toes when reading what people say about their OWN urirefs; there is
>>  lots of silly stuff out there which was written by its original
>>  authors. There are even people who think that emailboxes are human
>>  beings, for example.
>>  >
>>  >If some other web document (not at the animals URI) says that
>>  >animals:Dog is a subclass of animals:Tree (disjoint from
>>  >animals:Mammals), does the reader have any basis for thinking that
>>  >_:spot is more legitimately an animals:Mammal than an animals:Tree?
>>  Strict answer: no. Realistic answer: maybe, because owners of urirefs
>>  are more likely to take some care with what they say using those
>>  urirefs. Bottom line: you, the RDF reader, have to decide who you
>>  trust. Caveat lector.
>I don't think it needs to be so bleak.

I don't see this prospect as in any way 'bleak'. Its the normal adult 
human condition: you don't necessarily believe everything you hear.

>I think people can handle
>being dubious and weighing trust about a small number of sources,

I agree, but....

>if we have some kind of imports mechanism, that's all they'll need to

...they can do that without getting involved with 'imports' or 
similar nonsense. All that anything that YOU can say cannot give me 
any more confidence in anything else than I already have in you 
(other than by through a kind of Googlish weighting scheme, in which 
case your veracity is decided by your peers in any case. )

>Imagine if the HTML web had two kinds of links: links to agreed-with
>documents and links to not-necessarily-agreed-with documents.  People
>wouldn't have to shift trust-gears when following the first kind of

Yes, they would, because I might trust you as a tracker of current 
news without trusting your actual opinions (I actually know people 
like that, I swear), or vice versa (ditto).

>I suggest that this is largely the case; aside from
>directory-style or search-result-style pages, links of the second type
>are almost always clearly marked.   (Graphic style is also heavily
>used; users re-engage their judgement when they come to a page that
>looks very different.)
>Imagine users asking questions like "According to The Times, Is Dubya
>President?".  The Times judges the trustworthiness of many sources, so
>users don't have to.

Right, but that's a judgement about *the Times*, not about the Times' 
opinions about who to trust.

>  (Of course users may chose to, if, for instance,
>they don't really trust The Times.  But they shouldn't always have

Fine. Of course people will use reasoning like this. I don't see how 
'importing' helps with this, however.

>So RDF could really use a way to say another document is true.  It
>might turn out to be owl:imports, or the URI-Ref mechanism I'm
>proposing, or something else....

RDF is predicated on the (admittedly naive) assumption that all 
documents are true. Saying so explicitly doesn't add anything to that 
(unless you secretly don't believe that all documents ARE true, in 
which case you probably shouldnt be using RDF, but should wait for a 
more useful language like OWL to come into general use.)

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Received on Monday, 28 October 2002 13:00:05 UTC

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