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Re: Schema.org considered helpful or harmful?

From: adasal <adam.saltiel@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2011 18:10:11 +0100
Message-ID: <BANLkTimS4BpSbf1e_Vp1pgRJF3PsCNwLgw@mail.gmail.com>
To: AzamatAbdoullaev <abdoul@cytanet.com.cy>
Cc: semantic-web@w3.org, public-lod@w3.org, Harry Halpin <hhalpin@ibiblio.org>
Yes, it's an utter nonsense.
It has nothing whatsoever to do with semantics, semweb. It is just a fancy
catalogue, remarkably similar to what is being developed at Yell (Yellow
pages) to mediate directory listings, especially for mobile clients.
It is a way for the big three to cut into the directory listing business by
having companies self serve (certainly further undermining the Yell business
I should point something out in this regard.
Yell having millions (internationally many millions) of listings on their
books whereas the big three do not. This is a commercially significant fact.
What we have before us is a commercial war. Every time someone shouts for
schema.org they are lending credence to the big three in this battle.
- Although this is not why I am down on it, I think I make my reasons plain

In short, it is basically nothing else than a commercial battle between
commercial organisations that people are unwittingly being suckered into.


On 17 June 2011 17:45, AzamatAbdoullaev <abdoul@cytanet.com.cy> wrote:

> 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 17:10:49 UTC

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