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referendum on httpRange-14 (was RE: "information resource")

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004 14:42:58 -0400
Message-Id: <200410181842.i9IIgwwC020950@roke.hawke.org>
To: Norman Walsh <Norman.Walsh@Sun.COM>
cc: www-tag@w3.org


> / Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org> was heard to say:
> [...]
> | Some of us think that an HTTP "200 OK"
> | response on a GET or HEAD for some URI means it identifies an
> | information resource
> 
> Yeah, but some people don't think that. There is not consensus on
> whether or not http://example.com/dog must identify only an
> information resource. I see no evidence to suggest that any amount of
> discussion will ever achieve consensus on this point.

It would be easy for everyone to drop the issue if this were a "coin
flip" decision, where things work pretty much the same either way, and
anyone who thorougly studies both sides can see that.  But that's not
the case here.  Here it seems to each side as if the other side is
merely ignorant of the big picture, and with a bit of education
they'll come around.

> | So from a process perspective, having Information Resource defined
> | turns httpRange-14 into pretty much a Yes or No question, although I'm
> 
> I think httpRange-14 is a yes or no question no matter how you define
> (or even if you bother to define) information resource. The answer is:
> the community does not agree on what the answer is.

I dare say the question has never been put to "the community" in a
coherent way.   Something like this:

     Try to imagine that each working HTTP URL is the name of some
     particular conceptual entity.  Some of these entities may be easy
     to conceptualize, such as a blog or price list, while others may
     be less obvious.  (What exactly does "http://www.google.com" or
     "http://www.uroulette.com/visit"[1] name?)

     Remember that web protocols support format and language
     negotiation, so that from a single URL you may obtain content in
     different languages and in different formats, depending on your
     browser settings and capabilities.  And of course content changes
     over time.

     Now the question: are there any generalization you can make
     about all such entites?  If so, what are they?  What properties
     do all such entities have?   Can you think of a good name for
     this class of entities?

     [1] Visiting this URL results in a redirect to a random other
     location.

I'm also not sure what the community is.   Maybe the W3C AC Reps would
be fun place to start.  :-)   Call it a W3C Referendum.   Or maybe we
could try it as a slashdot quick.   Ha!   How many people would check
"I'm pretty sure Cowboy Neil is a web page" ?

Seriously, I'm writing this while procrastinating about answering this
for myself in Ontaria.  I need a tab on which to display information
about any resource for which dereference worked, and I'm not sure what
users are going to want to see on that tab.  I'm also not sure what to
call it (ie what the class name is), but I'm leaning towards "Document".

       -- sandro
Received on Monday, 18 October 2004 18:42:00 UTC

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