W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > June 2011

Re: Issue-57

From: Alan Ruttenberg <alanruttenberg@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2011 15:07:55 -0400
Message-ID: <BANLkTikYsrAqcenC-GnTUpoc4ZUjHRPNcw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Xiaoshu Wang <xiao@renci.org>
Cc: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>, David Booth <david@dbooth.org>, Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>, Jeni Tennison <jeni@jenitennison.com>, "www-tag@w3.org List" <www-tag@w3.org>
On Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 2:36 PM, Xiaoshu Wang <xiao@renci.org> wrote:

>> As far as I can tell, there is only one issue. The definition of IR and
>> the treatment of it. All other issues come back to it.
> I concur with Tim that this isn't the issue at all. Moreover I have stated
> and I firmly believe that virtually anyone can easily understand the
> distinction between information and that which the information is about.
> That doesn't mean they *like* the means of advertising the distinction, or
> see the *need*.
> "Information" is another ambiguous word. If it is as easy as you described,
> a lot of philosophers would have lost their jobs.

Nonetheless, I maintain my position. If there is confusion it is around what
"information resource" means, and that has much to do with how it has been
presented and perhaps even understood by the the inventors of the word, if
they even speak with one voice.

> The "easy" part is that it is easy for people to understand that the
> "thing" that they retrieved from a URI is not necessarily the thing that
> URI references.

Well, let's sit down with someone and see which they find easier to
understand. My experience says you are wrong. The notion of reference is
more complicated than understanding that books are about things.

> A URI, -- be it ftp, http, or file, -- is a symbol. And a symbol can be
> used to mean anything. What a symbol means depends on how it is used in a
> community. This is the theory of "Meaning is use" by Wittgenstein.  TAG's
> intent to promote using URI (esp. HTTP-URL) to name everything is a good
> thing but its httpRange-14 is a bad one. Web/Semantic Web can move on
> without httpRange-14. A lot of ontologies Foaf gets popular without worrying
> about 303.

Http range 14 has both the good and the less good. It is the resolution that
sanctions using http URIs as unrestricted symbols and that is good. It's
attempt to related the meaning to existing response codes wasn't so good.

> I try to avoid coming back to the same problem or argument. Hence, in the
> earlier passage, I didn't pursue the catch of referring to what you get
> back. If a URI is used to refer to what a client get, then a URI will be
> used to refer not one but many things because, physically, what you get from
> http://www.w3c.org is not the same as the one I get. This is why (I guess)
> Tim has worded it in such: " then the response contains the content of the
> document identified by that URI;" If you try to come up a definition of
> the content and document, I guess that you will go back to something like information
> resource.

I will not go back to "information resource". It's a messed up idea. That's
the point of Tim's note and my concurrence. If you want what I consider a
better theory, you can look at http://purl.obolibrary.org/obo/iao.owl, a
work in progress attempting to delineate and work with a class of entities
constitute a subclass of what people who use the term "information resource"
refer to. In any case, I agree that the http range 14 statement on the
meaning of 200 response is not clear and this is something that I would
repair. There have been a number of suggested ways to do that.

> So, let's try not. Unless someone can come up a definition as easily
> understandable as 1+1=2, let's not to say or imply that it is easy.

A solution does not need to address this problem.

> What I would like to suggest is let's start the web architecture that would
> tolerate everyone. Let's make 200 code as it was before. That is: a 200 code
> says nothing except that a request has been successfully responded.

That's the key. Better: a 200 code says *nothing* as far as the
interpretation of the symbol is concerned.

> If TAG thinks that it is critical to make the distinction with regard to
> the nature of what the URI is used for, then invent some extra 2xx code as
> Tim suggested. For example, 209 = Information Resource (or Content of
> Document). 210 for non-information resource (or non content of a document).

They should probably not. But remember that was only *part* of range 14.
That doesn't mean no one should make the distinction, or that good practice
for the semantic web is to ignore the distinction.

Received on Thursday, 16 June 2011 19:08:43 UTC

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