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Re: A Priori Information (Was Snapshot of Web Services Glossary )

From: Hugo Haas <hugo@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 06:29:28 +0100
To: "Cutler, Roger (RogerCutler)" <RogerCutler@ChevronTexaco.com>, www-ws-arch@w3.org
Cc: Michael Champion <Mike.Champion@SoftwareAG-USA.com>
Message-ID: <20030227052927.GC31215@w3.org>

Hi Roger.

Here is a concrete proposal to close issue 1 and be (hopefully) done
with a-priori.

* Cutler, Roger (RogerCutler) <RogerCutler@ChevronTexaco.com> [2003-02-26 14:51-0600]
> Geez, the WHOLE point of this is interpreting the phrase used in the
> charter and requirements in order to answer a formal issue.  The issue
> is what is meant when the phrase is used in the charter, and more or
> less copied into the requirements -- not what the phrase means in some
> general sense.  Is there any way we can found out who wrote the #$%%^#
> thing and ask what the heck they had in mind?

FWIW, I put the sentence in there, and it was originally in the
XML Protocol Working Group charter[2] which is signed "David Fallside
<fallside@us.ibm.com>, Yves Lafon <yves@w3.org> (with major
contributions from Henrik Frystyk Nielsen <frystyk@microsoft.com>)".

I explained what I had in mind in my original email[3], which I
thought matched the understanding of other people. At the time.

> I remind you that even if we are thinking of the charter as governing
> law, the courts consider the intention of the legislative body when
> interpreting what a law means.  We don't exactly have to go back to the
> Federalist Papers to do this.
> The change log of the Requirements Doc says something about "add Mark
> B's a priori requirement ...".  Does Mark Baker have something to do
> with the use of this phrase?  Mark Baker, in a posting 2/26, seems to
> say that he agrees that the term "prior" should replace "a priori".
> Is there anyone who REALLY wants and cares about the use of "a priori"
> as opposed to "prior" in the charter and the requirements?  If not, can
> we possibly declare this argument to be moot? 

So, I think that I agree with you.

As you said, we actually need to document what we understand and
consider to be "a-priori knowledge", and this is what the following
proposal is about.

If people agree with "a priori" being *here* "prior", which is what was
explained in my email although I didn't use the word "prior", then I
think that we can:

- add some text in our architecture document in the spirit of the one
  in [3].

- add the definition proposed in [3] to the glossary (which isn't very
  different from the current one), and use the word prior in it:

    The amount of prior information that a service requestor and a
    service provider know about each other before starting to

  Hmmm... I am not sure that this is correct English; I admit having
  issues sticking "prior" in there.

  MikeM was suggesting not bothering about the glossary[4], but I
  actually think that we need to have something since there is an issue
  open about it, and the meaning of a priori is obviously something that
  people wonder.

  It is more assertive than your original proposal[5] because I think
  that it is better to be assertive and not open the door to comments
  like "since you're not quite sure, here's my take on it". To a
  certain extent, everything in the document is our current thinking
  so we might as well put it like that and I am sure that if it
  doesn't work for us, we will revisit it.

- do s/a-priori/prior/ in MarkB's requirement.

- write to the issue submitter pointing out this resolution.

We need to talk about this face-to-face or on the phone; I think that
we have discussed this enough on the list. If the WG can agree on this
at today's teleconference for example, then we can do those changes,
send the resolution to the issue submitter, and wait for either a
complaint of the issue submitter or a formal comment on the document,
*if any*. If the WG does not agree, then maybe we can have a task
force come back with a proposal addressing people's objections.

Mike, please consider this as an agenda request. Actually, it already
is there, but in the "trout pond" category. I actually would like to
promote it to the "caught trout" category, i.e. concrete proposal to
discuss and maybe even approve.

As an aside, the same goes about synchronous and asynchronous. We need
to make decisions in order to make progress with the document, but I
feel overwhelmed by the thread so I am not ready to make such a



  2. http://www.w3.org/2000/09/XML-Protocol-Charter
  3. http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-ws-arch/2003Feb/0192.html
  4. http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-ws-arch/2003Feb/0411.html
  5. http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-ws-arch/2003Feb/0288.html
Hugo Haas - W3C
mailto:hugo@w3.org - http://www.w3.org/People/Hugo/
Received on Thursday, 27 February 2003 00:29:31 UTC

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