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Re: VOTE: Verifiable Claims Terminology

From: Dave Longley <dlongley@digitalbazaar.com>
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2016 15:54:28 -0400
To: Steven Rowat <steven_rowat@sunshine.net>, public-credentials@w3.org
Message-ID: <575B1AF4.1010100@digitalbazaar.com>
On 06/10/2016 12:57 PM, Steven Rowat wrote:
> On 6/10/16 8:54 AM, Dave Longley wrote:
>> This is an "Identity Profile":
>> {
>>   "id": "<id from the identifier registry>",
>>   "type": "Identity",
>>   /* ...attributes asserted in this particular profile */
>> }
>> Note that the document above is referred to as an "Identity Profile",
>> but the "type" associated with the "id" is "Identity". You can have many
>> "Identity Profiles" for any particular "id", but the thing the
>> attributes therein are talking about is of type "Identity".
> I don't think I understand this difference yet, unless there also exist
> instances that are not "Identity Profiles", yet also have an 'id', and a
> type: 'Identity'. Otherwise, why not just call the "type" for "Identity
> Profile"..."Identity Profile" ?
> If this is true, can you give an example of one -- something that isn't
> an Identity Profile, but would use the type: "Identity"?

I think that's the wrong question. This is about what the identifier
identifies. In my opinion, it does not identify a Profile, it identifies
an Identity.

It always takes something else (e.g. a document) to be able to talk
about an actual thing. A thing itself is the thing, it is not the
description of the thing.

The statements within a profile associate information with an Identity,
such as what it is, its "type". So the "type" does not refer to the
profile document, it refers to the thing you're talking about. The
profile document is just a collection of statements *about* the thing.
It is a (typically incomplete) description of the thing.

Let's talk about "profiles" using something other than "Identity".

If we wanted to model a "Cat", we'd start by giving it an identifier:

We could talk about attributes that the Cat has by saying:

did:123 is a Cat
did:123 is named "Catty McCat Face"
did:123 eats "Fish"

Together those statements form a document that we could call a "Profile
of a Cat". That does not make that thing *the cat*. It is a document
with statements about the cat. That document is called "a profile".

We could similarly say these things in another document:

did:123 is a Cat
did:123 has orange fur
did:123 likes yarn

And that would be a different "profile" of the same cat. If you wanted
to give these "profiles" their own identifiers, you could do that as
well, but they would each get their own -- because they are different
things -- and because they are different from the cat itself.

The cat is a Cat. A profile is a Profile.

Similarly, people may create "identities" for themselves. You may have
one that you use for work, one for home life, one for your medical
records, whatever. If you choose to share one or more of these
identities online, you may decide to only share certain pieces of
information about any one of them with particular parties. Any
particular combination of attributes you assemble about one of your
identities is a "profile" of that identity. It is not the identity itself.

Dave Longley
Digital Bazaar, Inc.
Received on Friday, 10 June 2016 19:54:52 UTC

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