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Re: Schema.org considered helpful or harmful?

From: AzamatAbdoullaev <abdoul@cytanet.com.cy>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2011 19:45:44 +0300
Message-ID: <0550C3A112054DDE9FBF6687B5494ADC@personalpc>
To: <semantic-web@w3.org>, <public-lod@w3.org>
Cc: "Harry Halpin" <hhalpin@ibiblio.org>
On Friday, June 17, 2011 12:09 AM, Harry wrote:
"According to the argument of decentralized extensibility, schema.org 
*exactly* what Google/Yahoo!/Microsoft are supposed to be doing. It's a 
straightfoward site that clearly for how the average Web developer can use 
structured data in markup to solve real-world use-cases and provides 
examples.  That's the entire vision of the Semantic Web, let a thousand 
ontologies bloom with no central control.
AA: This reminds me a political rhetoric. "Letting a hundred flowers blossom 
and a hundred schools of thought contend is the policy for promoting 
progress in the arts and the sciences and a flourishing socialist culture in 
our land."
As there is a political center and peripheries, central government and local 
government, there is a core ontology and multiple ontologies.
HH: Schema.org is not a threat. It's an opportunity to step up. Good luck 
everyone!
AA: In real, its a threat, to intelligence and ontology, as well as to the 
committed and dedicated, bringing their good to the field, from Ontolog 
Forum and SW Forum.
I am leaving aside the value of rdf or rdfa, or any other SW schemas. Let's 
just look at the definition and organization of the key notion, schema, 
promoted by the "fantastic triple": "The schemas are a set of 'types', each 
associated with a set of properties. The types are arranged in a hierarchy". 
Why types, and not kinds, forms, sorts, classes, or categories. Why each 
type is associated with a set of properties, instead of being marked by a 
common distinct characteristics or quality. Is it related to the notion of 
abstract data types and abstraction in computing. Or, is it comes from the 
type theory dealing with type systems and hierarchy of types. Hardly...
Here is a simple but clear WordNet's definition: "schema is an internal 
representation of the world; an organization of concepts and actions to be 
revised by new information about the world."
Make a note, schemas are about the world. Now look at the "taxonomy": the 
most generic type is Thing. Its closest children are:
  a.. CreativeWork
  b.. Event
  c.. Intangible
  d.. Organization
  e.. Person
  f.. Place
  g.. Product
Frankly, i met and read a plenty of taxonomies, classifications, 
categorizations, typologies, sortings, arrangement and groupings. Even 
following that "thousand ontologies movement", they made a real dog's 
breakfast of their job. Just look how Intangible is divided: Enumeration, 
Language, Offer, Quantity, Rating Structured Value.
The entire "type hierarchy" strikes me as being created with no sense, no 
logic, no system, no method, no any hint of ontology. If its "step up", then 
i don't know what might be step down :)
Azamat Abdoullaev
http://www.eis.com.cy

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Harry Halpin" <hhalpin@ibiblio.org>
To: "Linked Data community" <public-lod@w3.org>; "Semantic Web" 
<semantic-web@w3.org>
Sent: Friday, June 17, 2011 12:09 AM
Subject: Schema.org considered helpful


> I've been watching the community response to schema.org for the last
> bit of time. Overall, I think we should clarify why people are upset.
> First, there should be no reason to be upset that the major search
> engines went off and created their own vocabularies. According to the
> argument of decentralized extensibility, schema.org *exactly* what
> Google/Yahoo!/Microsoft are supposed to be doing. It's a
> straightfoward site that clearly for how the average Web developer can
> use structured data in markup to solve real-world use-cases and
> provides examples.  That's the entire vision of the Semantic Web, let
> a thousand ontologies bloom with no central control.
>
> The reason people are upset are that they didn't use RDFa, but instead
> used microdata. One *cannot* argue that Google is ignoring open
> standards. RDFa and microdata are *both* Last Call W3C Working Drafts
> now. RDFa 1.0 is a spec but only for XHTML 1.0, which is not what most
> of the Web uses. Microdata does have RDF parsing bugs, but again, most
> developers outside the Semantic Web probably don't care - they want
> JSON anyways.
>
> Form what I understand from tevents  where Rich Snippets team has
> presented is that RDFa is simply too complicated for ordinary web
> developers to use. Google has been deploying Rich Snippets for two
> years, claim to have user-studies  and have experience with a large
> user-base. This user-driven feedback should be taken on board by both
> relevant WGs obviously, HTML and RDFa. Designing technology without
> user-feedback leads to odd results (for proof, see many of the fun and
> exiciting "httpRange-14" discussions). Which is also why many
> practical developers do not use the technology.
>
> But realistically, it's not the RDFa WG's job to do user-studies and
> build compelling user-experiences in products. They are only a few
> people. Why has the *hundreds* of people in the Semantic Web community
> not done such work?
>
> The fact of the matter is that the Semantic Web academic community has
> had their priorities skewed to the wrong direction. Had folks been
> spending time doing usability testing and focussing on user-feedback
> on common problems (such as the rather obvious "vocabulary hosting"
> problem) rather than focussing on things with little to no support
> with the world outside academia, then we probably would not be in the
> situation we are in today. Today, major companies such as Microsoft
> (oData) and Google (microdata) are jumping on the "open data"
> bandwagon but finding the RDF stack unacceptable. Some of it may be a
> "not invented here" syndrome, but as anyone who has actually looked at
> RDF/XML can tell you, some of it is hard-to-deny technical reasoning
> by companies that have decided that "open data" is a great market but
> do not agree with the technical choices made by the  Semantic Web
> stack.
>
> This is not to say good things can't come out of the academic
> community - the *internet* came out of the academic community. But
> seriously, at some point (think of the role of Netscape in getting the
> Web going with the magic of images) commercial companies enter the
> game. We should be happy now search engines are seeing value in
> structured data on the Web.
>
> I would suggest the Semantic Web community take on-board the
> "microdata" challenge in two different ways. First of all, start
> focussing on user-studies and user experience (not just visual
> interfaces, the Semantic Web has more than its share of user-hostile
> visual interfaces). It's harder to publish academic papers on these
> topics but possible (see SIGCHI), and would help a lot with actual
> deployment. Second, we should start focussing more on actual empirical
> data-driven feedback, both on what parts of RDF are being used and
> common mistakes. With indexes such as the Billion Triple Challenge and
> Sindice's index, we can actually do that with the Semantic Web. Third,
> why not actually try to get RDF - or "open data more broadly" into the
> browser in usable manner? Tabulator may be a step in the right
> direction, but the user experience needs work. Fourth, why not start a
> company and try to deliver products to actual end-users and give that
> feedback to the wider community and W3C WGs (and if you already work
> for an actual SemWeb company, please send your feedback from user
> studies to the WG before Last Call)? I believe the Semantic Web
> research community - which still has tons of funding and lots of
> passion - can make the Web better.
>
> Schema.org is not a threat. It's an opportunity to step up. Good luck 
> everyone!
>
>           cheers,
>              harry
>
> P.S.: Note this opinions are purely personal and held as an individual.
> 
Received on Friday, 17 June 2011 16:46:25 UTC

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