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Re: Worldview conflicts on the purpose of DID documents

From: Markus Sabadello <markus@danubetech.com>
Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2017 21:45:18 +0100
To: public-credentials@w3.org
Message-ID: <6d52a9a9-bb3f-c211-6811-5c8df93750c3@danubetech.com>
I've been feeling for a while now that (for the reason of not breaking
basic web architecture), a DID should in principle be resolvable to any
RDF/JSON-LD document.

Saying that a DID document must [not] contain certain elements is like
saying that an HTTP URI must resolve to an HTML document that contains a
very specific HTML document structure.
You could even go a step further and say that a DID could in theory
resolve to any MIME type (just like HTTP URIs).

At the same time, yes we (mostly) invented DIDs for the purpose of
discovering associated keys and service endpoints for agents/hubs/etc.,
and we need to define how that works.

So even though in principle DIDs should be based on a very broad
"worldview", we do want to define "hardened DID documents" (just like in
theory you could define "hardened HTML documents" for certain uses of

I don't see a conflict here, the spec just needs to articulate this.

I disagree with Dave that DID documents "necessarily include specifying
how that DID document can be changed".
This is a requirement specifically for Veres One, and there's nothing
wrong with Veres One DID documents to include this information.
None of the other DID methods need this, because they have their logic
of "who can update the DID under what conditions" built into their
specific method.


On 12/13/2017 07:38 PM, =Drummond Reed wrote:
> The Credentials Community Group has been holding a special set of
> calls to drive towards closure of a next "Implementer’s Draft" of the
> DID spec <https://w3c-ccg.github.io/did-spec/>. Three calls have been
> held so far, and two more are currently planned (this Thursday and
> next Thursday at 10AM Pacific Time—see a separate message sent to the
> list for details of each call).
> After the last call, I started to see that some of the major sticking
> points are due to what I call "worldview conflicts". These are
> disagreements that usually surface as differences about details of a
> spec, but where the real causes are rooted in different worldviews
> about technology—different "big pictures" that different spec
> contributors are working from/towards. 
> When this is the case, arguments that can go on for days/weeks/months
> about the details can often be solved much faster by identifying and
> dealing with the differences in the underlying worldviews.
> So I wanted to start a thread just for discussion of these worldview
> conflicts. I'll start by taking a stab at articulating the worldviews
> as I understand them:
> In this worldview, DID documents are a standard way to describe a
> well-known subgraph of a potentially very large RDF graph of data
> about a subject. To quote this message from Dave Longley on a github
> DID issues thread
> <https://github.com/w3c-ccg/did-spec/pull/36#issuecomment-351128922>:
> "a DID document, is about establishing an independent entity and being
> able to authenticate that certain activities/actions were performed by
> that entity -- and to interact with that entity via services. This
> necessarily includes specifying how that DID document can be
> changed." Linked Data Signatures are also important in this worldview
> since it is the standard way to sign JSON-LD documents.
> In this worldview, DID documents are about having an open,
> interoperable way to discover and manage the cryptographic keys
> and service endpoints necessary to bootstrap secure, verifiable
> connections, claims, and interactions between agents acting on behalf
> of DID subjects.
> First, obviously neither worldview is "wrong". They are just different
> perspectives about the primary purpose of DID documents and the
> universes into which they fit.
> Second, in the RDF/JSON-LD worldview it is important to describe the
> data using an RDF graph model using an ontology that can live
> alongside other ontologies. In the agent worldview the primary
> importance is on interoperability; it is not "anti-RDF", but it wants
> to avoid a dependence on RDF in order to make it easy to
> consume/transform the metadata carried by DID documents into other
> graph models and formats.
> Thirdly, the two have different views of key management. In the
> RDF/JSON-LD worldview the importance is on being able to authenticate
> an interaction with the DID subject. In the agent worldview, a DID
> document is the "public-face" (or "non-private-face") of all types of
> key management, i.e., it is how a DID subject shares any type of key
> that needs to be shared with another party to verify interactions,
> decrypt communications, or do additional key negotiation.
> First, it would be good to get feedback on these worldview
> descriptions and observations from those who hold them. In other
> words, are the descriptions accurate? Do the observations about them
> follow? Are there other important points that are missing?
> Secondly, once we have a picture of the differences in the worldviews,
> what solutions to DID issues can we come up with that help reconcile
> these differences and ideally work for both worldviews?
Received on Wednesday, 13 December 2017 20:45:53 UTC

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