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Re: Fwd: Re: SKOS comment - How to better explain why skos:broader is not transitive

From: Antoine Isaac <aisaac@few.vu.nl>
Date: Sat, 5 Apr 2014 20:13:25 +0200
Message-ID: <534047C5.3000801@few.vu.nl>
To: <public-esw-thes@w3.org>
Hi David,

You're right.
In fact I seem to remember that in the SWD WG the idea of having different names for skos:broader and skos:broaderTransitive may have come to mind. But at that time SKOS had been used in many projects, the issues caused by changing skos:broader would have outweighted the benefits. I expect it would be even worse now.
Plus, in the thesaurus standards, "broader" is really the term used for the direct links asserted by the thesaurus maintainers.

Considering this, it is not really appropriate to add something on this in the "errata" for SKOS. It's not really a mistake, in the sense where the document wouldn't reflect what the intention was (that's what errata are for, mostly).
That being said, if you want, you could feel free to note this on the SKOS wiki (a new "naming issue" page?)



On 4/4/14 9:54 PM, David Booth wrote:
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Re: SKOS comment - How to better explain why skos:broader is not transitive
> Date: Fri, 04 Apr 2014 15:18:10 -0400
> From: David Booth <david@dbooth.org>
> To: public-swd-wg@w3.org
> P.S. Can this be added to the errata for the primer, as a clarification?
>   I don't know the process for adding something to the errata.
> http://www.w3.org/2006/07/SWD/SKOS/reference/20090811-errata
> On 04/04/2014 03:14 PM, David Booth wrote:
>> The fact that skos:broader is not transitive is confusingly
>> non-intuitive, because it is quite natural to assume that if A
>> skos:broader B, and B skos:broader C, then A skos:broader C.
>> The confusion is well known, and the primer duly explains how
>> skos:broader is *not* transitive, but skos:broaderTransitive *is*
>> transitive:
>> http://www.w3.org/TR/skos-primer/#sectransitivebroader
>> However, I think I just realized *why* this is so non-intuitive, how
>> this problem could have been avoided, and how the primer (and other
>> documents) can now explain it better.  And it is extremely simple.
>> The problem is that the *name* of the skos:broader predicate is
>> misleading.  The concept it formally denotes is *not* the concept that B
>> is broader than A.  Rather, it is that B is *immediately* broader than A
>> (in a potentially larger hierarchy of broader-ness).  If the predicate
>> had been named skos:immediatelyBroader (or something similar) then the
>> reader would much more readily realize that the predicate does *not*
>> denote the concept of broader **in general** (which would be
>> transitive), but the concept of a concept being *immediately* broader
>> than another concept.
>> Since it is too late to rename this predicate, I suggest that the next
>> version of the primer -- and any new documents on SKOS -- explicitly
>> explain the non-transitive nature of skos:broader this way, and
>> explicitly acknowledge that the decision to name this concept
>> "skos:broader" was admittedly misleading, for this reason.  I think this
>> will help a lot of readers understand it more easily.  I know that I
>> personally puzzled over this for a long time, whereas I would have
>> understood it right away if it were explained this way.
>> Thanks,
>> David
Received on Saturday, 5 April 2014 18:13:54 UTC

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