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self-describing vs. self-consistent

From: Xiaoshu Wang <wangxiao@musc.edu>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2008 12:31:00 +0000
Message-ID: <47E79F04.5000301@musc.edu>
To: "'www-tag'" <www-tag@w3.org>

I think all these HTTP issues originate from the confusion between what 
we mean self-describing and self-consistent.  I sincerely hope that we 
don't mix them up because self-describing is NOT the same as 
self-consistent. 

Self-describing above the web as an engineering system while 
self-consistent is about the web as a logic system (i.e., RDF and OWL).  
Self-description is about making data linkable and self-consistent is to 
make them logically consistent.  I think, here, we must take Godel's 
advice, that is: there is no such system that is both complete and 
consistent.  We can design a casual but complete system, i.e., to make 
all data linkable.  But to make them also formally self-consistent is 
impossible.

Please, let's listen to Godel and don't use the latter (self-consistent) 
to limit the further (self-describing).  We can spend-more precisely 
waste-our entire life time to find the PERFECT solution.  But there 
isn't one.  So, DO NOT and let me repeat - DO NOT - bother to try.  
Let's address them separately so our effort will be more worthwhile and 
the result will be more fruitful. 

Xiaoshu
Received on Monday, 24 March 2008 12:32:10 GMT

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