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Re: Is 303 really necessary?

From: Ian Davis <me@iandavis.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2010 18:18:31 +0000
Message-ID: <AANLkTimBQ=sROi23KyTprh=GYJYCBFW9-HzA438bzgwD@mail.gmail.com>
To: "nathan@webr3.org" <nathan@webr3.org>
Cc: "public-lod@w3.org" <public-lod@w3.org>
On Thursday, November 4, 2010, Nathan <nathan@webr3.org> wrote:

> Please, don't.
> 303 is a PITA, and it has detrimental affects across the board from network load through to server admin. Likewise #frag URIs have there own set of PITA features (although they are nicer on the network and servers).
> However, and very critically (if you can get more critical than critical!), both of these patterns / constraints are here to ensure that  different things have different names, and without that distinction our data is junk.

I agree with this and I address it in my blog post where I say we
should link the thing to its description using a triple rather than a
network response code.

> This goes beyond your and my personal opinions, or those of anybody here, the constraints are there so that in X months time when "multi-corp" trawls the web, analyses it and releases billions of statements saying like { </foo> :hasFormat "x"; sioc:about dbpedia:Whatever } about each doc on the web, that all of those statements are said about documents, and not about you or I, or anything else real, that they are said about the right "thing", the correct name is used.

I don't see that as a problem. It's an error because it's not what the
original publisher intended but there are many many examples where
that happens in bulk, and actually the 303 redirect doesn't prevent it
happening with naive crawlers.

If someone asserts something we don't have to assume it is
automatically true. We can get authority about what a URI denotes by
dereferencng it. We trust third party statements as much or as little
as we desire.

> And this is critically important, to ensure that in X years time when somebody downloads the RDF of 2010 in a big *TB sized archive and considers the graph of RDF triples, in order to make sense of some parts of it for something important, that the data they have isn't just unreasonable junk.

Any decent reasoner at that scale will be able to reject triples that
appear to contradict one another. Seeing properties such as "format"
against a URI that everyone else claims denotes an animal is going to
stick out.

> It's not about what we say something is, it's about what others say the thing is, and if you 200 OK the URIs you currently 303, then it will be said that you are a document, as simple as that. Saying you are a document isn't the killer, it's the hundreds of other statements said along side that which make things so ambiguous that the info is useless.

That's only true under the httpRange-14 finding which I am proposing
is part of the problem.

> If 303s are killing you then use fragment URIs, if you refuse to use fragments for whatever reason then use something new like tdb:'s, support the data you've published in one pattern, or archive it and remove it from the web.

These are publishing alternatives, but I'm focussed on the 303 issue here.

> But, for whatever reasons, we've made our choices, each has pro's and cons, and we have to live with them - different things have different name, and the giant global graph is usable. Please, keep it that way.

Agree, different things have different names, that's why I emphasise
it in the blog post. I don't agree that the status quo is the best
state of affairs.

> Best,
> Nathan

Received on Thursday, 4 November 2010 18:19:06 UTC

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