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Re: status of xsd:duration in OWL (and RIF and SPARQL) - ACTION-164: RDF WG

From: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@cs.man.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 7 May 2012 14:48:10 +0100
Cc: Michael Schneider <schneid@fzi.de>, Ian Horrocks <ian.horrocks@cs.ox.ac.uk>, Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>, public-owl-wg@w3.org, "Public-Rif-Wg (E-mail)" <public-rif-wg@w3.org>, "Peter F. Patel-Schneider" <pfpschneider@gmail.com>, "Evain, Jean-Pierre" <evain@ebu.ch>
Message-Id: <0CB99B2D-C845-4CF2-BCF6-B64000AE912B@cs.man.ac.uk>
To: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
On 7 May 2012, at 12:47, Sandro Hawke wrote:

> On Mon, 2012-05-07 at 11:42 +0100, Bijan Parsia wrote:
[snip]
>> But, you know, who the heck cares about the spirit of some agreement?
> 
> The people on the other side of the agreement.

My experience is that interpretations of the spirit of things like the W3C charter are bound only by the interests of the people consulted. I've certainly had my *explicit* prior understanding of elements of e.g., the OWL WG charter, the *explicit* text of the charter, and the *explicit* undersatnding of GRDDL (including the editor's understanding) downplayed.

(I don't at all want to refight that battle, but I am just pointing out that appeals to "spirit" are generally not very useful or consistently mobilized. Sometimes they are used to demand more action, sometimes less, so there's no real content to such appeals.)

> And since we don't know who exactly they are, it's not trivial to
> renegotiate it.

I'm not even sure how to understand this. If people are party to an agreement, there needs to be at least some engagement. Do you mean that we have set an expectation and it's not clear who's relying on it?

>    I agree if we could easily ask them, they'd almost
> certainly say Yes.

That seems sufficient then. 

> The way we renegotiate, without knowing who they are exactly is to
> re-charter -- it doesn't really ask everybody, but it's a reasonable
> effort in that direction.

Frankly, I, as an explicit party to this agreement, don't think I had a clear idea that we would not touch the set of datatypes regardless of what the WXS WG did. If they had added a rational, then I imagine we'd have deprecated owl:rational. If they had broken some datatype from our perspective, we'd have adjusted accordingly.

> If we did it without going through this hoop, we'd be risking people not
> trusting W3C as much.

That's a risk either way, eh?

>   That might be a risk you or I are willing to
> take, but it's not up to us, it's up the W3C management and/or the
> Advisory Committee.

Obviously, neither you nor I have any authority here.

>   (Oddly enough, the way we ask the AC is... by
> rechartering.)

That depends on whether it's adjudged to be in scope with the current charter. It's at least arguably so. (We wouldn't be talking about *spirit* if the *letter* sufficed. Another reason to avoid spirit talk.)

>  But I'm happy to ask management if they're willing to
> take this risk.  I totally agree with your assessment that this is a
> reasonable thing to do, and I have a hard time imagining folks objecting
> on other-than-procedural grounds.

Yep. Can't hurt to ask.

I'm aware of cases where this has backfired (XML 5th edition, anyone?) Of course, that was a much more radical change. If this promised to stir up a similar backlash, I would find that apropos. 

>    Still, following procedures is, to
> put it bluntly, a large part of what makes institutions function,

As is flexibility! And agility! And quality! And sensible consistency!

I trust it's clear I'm not advocating wholesale trashing of procedure. This is clearly a corner case. I can imagine others, but it's not like we're sneaking in linear (in)equations, or a general quantity datatype, etc.

> and
> the Web IMO needs W3C to function as an institution.


Hence the need to avoid sclerosis.

Cheers,
Bijan.
Received on Monday, 7 May 2012 13:48:51 UTC

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