W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > July 2009

Re: Review of new HTTPbis text for 303 See Other

From: David Booth <david@dbooth.org>
Date: Wed, 15 Jul 2009 10:53:59 -0400
To: Richard Cyganiak <richard@cyganiak.de>
Cc: Larry Masinter <LMM@acm.org>, 'Pat Hayes' <phayes@ihmc.us>, "'Roy T. Fielding'" <fielding@gbiv.com>, 'Jonathan Rees' <jar@creativecommons.org>, 'Julian Reschke' <julian.reschke@gmx.de>, 'HTTP Working Group' <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>, www-tag@w3.org
Message-Id: <1247669639.8210.1881.camel@dbooth-laptop>
[Off list]

FWIW, I wasn't able to follow Pat's point either, but I'd like to
understand it, so if you and Pat don't mind copying me on your
correspondence I would be interested.

Thanks,
David Booth

On Wed, 2009-07-15 at 03:11 +0200, Richard Cyganiak wrote:
> Thanks Larry. I wish I could talk with such clarity.
> 
> I want to take the discussion with Pat a bit further, but will do so  
> off-list. (Tomorrow, Pat -- I need to mull it over a bit.)
> 
> I initially joined the thread to say this: The HTTP spec, with Roy's  
> proposed new 303 text, accommodates all Semantic Web use cases I can  
> think of. Including using HTTP URIs to denote people. It's good to see  
> httpRange-14 slowly "trickle down" into the specs.
> 
> Cheers,
> Richard
> 
> 
> On 14 Jul 2009, at 21:46, Larry Masinter wrote:
> 
> > This conversation is filling my mailbox. Some general
> > observations:
> >
> > (Pat, your arguments are laced with ad hominem, which makes reading
> > the dialog unpleasant. I don't think Richard is being
> > silly, intellectually dishonest, bloody arrogant, or any of the
> > other terms you've used, please refrain.)
> >
> > It's the nature of standards discussions that people speak
> > their point of view; doing so isn't arrogant.
> >
> > It is the nature of technical specifications that it is frequently
> > necessary to take normal English words in particular technical
> > way; it is not intellectually dishonest to do so.
> >
> > It is good practice for technical specifications in standards
> > groups to say as little as possible in order to meet the
> > needs of interoperability and the purpose for which the
> > specification is being written.
> >
> > It is not necessary or even possible for a technical specification
> > to answer questions that may be fundamental for applications
> > that are outside of its scope. It is common, reasonable,
> > and traditional for standards specifications to "not answer"
> > questions because answering the question isn't necessary
> > for the purpose for which the standard was written.
> >
> > It isn't necessary for the proper functioning of the web and
> > to accomplish interoperability of web clients and servers
> > to agree on how to use HTTP URIs and the HTTP protocol --
> > for that purpose, it isn't necessary to answer the question
> > of whether a HTTP URI can identify a person.
> >
> > It may be necessary to answer the question in a technical
> > specification for the semantic web and in the RDF
> > specification  -- but the answer more likely
> > belong in those specifications and not in the
> > IETF HTTP specification.
> >
> > It may be necessary for the IETF HTTP specification
> > be edited in a way that made it clear that it didn't
> > contain the answer to this question, but I'm not
> > sure where to draw the line of describing things
> > it doesn't answer.
> >
> > It's easy to imagine a system in which a URI is used
> > to identify a person for the purpose of that system.
> > But I can't see how IETF, W3C, or continued discussion
> > on any of our mailing lists are going to converge
> > any time soon on answers to the philosophical questions
> > that have been with us for millennia. What is it
> > that "Pat Hayes" identifies, anyway? Can I use
> > mailto:phayes@ihmc.us as a URI to identify you?
> > Well, that's a question outside of the "mailto:"
> > URI spec, I think.
> >
> > Perhaps  there needs to be a better way of distinguishing
> > the statements "this specification does not limit the scope
> > of applicability" and "this specification applies in all
> > circumstances".
> >
> > If you had some better way of phrasing it so that it would
> > be clear the former was meant rather than the latter, I
> > think that would be helpful.
> >
> > The fact that something "does matter" -- to you, to the
> > RDF community, to the W3C, to the world at large --
> > does not mean that it is appropriate to "matter" in
> > the context of the HTTP spec.
> >
> > It is an important design principle for developing
> > specifications to keep specifications orthogonal: for the purposes
> > of the HTTP protocol, it does not matter what resources
> > are exactly. For the purpose of resource identification, it should
> > not matter what the protocol is; tying semantic web
> > interpretation to a particular error code in the HTTP
> > protocol seems like bad design to me.
> >
> > The idea that the HTTP working group should care about the
> > semantic web and change its specification to meet some
> > semantic web requirement for use of HTTP URIs in semantic
> > web applications  -- well, that raises several red flags
> > for me, that we're building specifications that are not
> > sufficiently orthogonal that things that *shouldn't* matter
> > are taken as important questions that *must* be answered.
> >
> > The HTTP specification is *not* about what a "resource" is.
> > It *is* about how to use and implement the HTTP protocol.	
> >
> > There continues to be some confusion in the discussion between
> > "URI" and "HTTP URI" that I find disturbing and confusing, because
> > I think sometimes statements about one are attributed to the
> > other. Not all URIs are HTTP URIs. Please try to be more careful.
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > Larry
> > -- 
> > http://larry.masinter.net
> >
> >
> >
> 
> 
> 
> 
-- 
David Booth, Ph.D.
Cleveland Clinic (contractor)

Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily
reflect those of Cleveland Clinic.
Received on Wednesday, 15 July 2009 14:54:37 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Thursday, 26 April 2012 12:48:14 GMT