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Re: PROV-ISSUE-182 (TLebo): stronger name for "wasAssociatedWith" [prov-dm]

From: Yolanda Gil <gil@isi.edu>
Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2011 09:38:29 -0800
Cc: Provenance Working Group WG <public-prov-wg@w3.org>
Message-Id: <F89EBAD4-4F68-4FCD-B4E8-7C3D55492F15@isi.edu>
To: Timothy Lebo <lebot@rpi.edu>
Hi Tim,

I understand your reasons to suggest this, but I think using the term  
"responsibility" might not be a good idea.  I think (quoting from our  
original proposal for agents):

> Fifth, some notion of responsibility needs to be pinned down and  
> this is challenging.  It is important to reflect that there is a  
> degree in the responsibility of agents, and that is a major reason  
> for distinguishing among all the agents that have some association  
> with an activity and determine which ones are really the originators  
> of the entity.  For example, a programmer and a researcher could  
> both be associated with running a workflow, but it may not matter  
> what programmer clicked the button to start the workflow while it  
> would matter a lot what researcher told the programmer to do so.   
> Another example: a student publishing a web page describing an  
> academic department could result in both the student and the  
> department being agents associated with the activity, and it may not  
> matter what student published a web page but it matters a lot that  
> the department told the student to put up the web page.  So there is  
> some notion of responsibility that needs to be captured. Similarly  
> with intent.  These notions are hard to define, but it would be even  
> harder to make them easy for people using our model so they would be  
> comfortable assigning and stating responsibility.  We would like to  
> suggest a much milder version of responsibility.  We propose to  
> represent when an agent acted on another agent's behalf.  So in the  
> example of someone running a mail program, the program is an agent  
> of that activity and the person is also an agent of the activity,  
> but we would also add that the mail software agent is running on the  
> person's behalf.  In the other example, the student acted on behalf  
> of his supervisor, who acted on behalf of the department chair, who  
> acts on behalf of the university, and all those agents are  
> responsible in some way for the activity to take place but we don't  
> say explicitly who bears responsibility and to what degree.  We  
> could also say that an agent can act on behalf of several other  
> agents (a group of agents).  This would also make possible to  
> indirectly reflect chains of responsibility.  This also indirectly  
> reflects control without requiring that control is explicitly  
> indicated.  In some contexts there will be a need to represent  
> responsibility explicitly, for example to indicate legal  
> responsibility, and that could be added as an extension to this core  
> model.  Similarly with control, since in particular contexts there  
> might be a need to define specific aspects of control that various  
> agents exert over a given activity.

I also think (quoting from my earlier email):

> "The definition of agent mentions that an agent is a type of entity  
> that can be assigned some degree of responsibility for an activity.   
> In many situations, the creators of a provenance record may not have  
> the authority to ascribe responsibility to the various agents that  
> they know are involved in the activity.  For example, the developer  
> of a provenance service using PROV-DM could say that a student and  
> his advisor were both involved in creating a dataset, but might not  
> be in a position to know who has actual responsibility for the  
> dataset.  Responsibility often has legal connotations that could  
> deter developers and users of PROV-DM from stating responsibility  
> assertions in provenance records.  To address this, PROV-DM offers a  
> mild version of responsibility in the form of a relation to  
> represent when an agent acted on another agent's behalf.".

To summarize: IMO, users of our model might be often either unable or  
hesitant to specify in a provenance record who bears responsibility  
for an activity.  Recall that some of our scenarios have a legalistic  
connotation, where provenance records are used to understand copyright  
and IP or to validate contractual obligations.  This would not be  
good, and we would want to avoid having provenance records pervasive  
on the web but most missing assertions about agents and their role in  
activities.  So my recommendation is to stay away from using the term  


On Dec 8, 2011, at 9:08 AM, Timothy Lebo wrote:

> Since "responsibility" is the distinguishing notion in agency  
> (according to Yolanda's proposal), I think that "responsibility"  
> should be included in the name of the relation.
> A possible counter proposal for "wasAssociatedBy":
>     hadResponsibilityFor
> Jim Myers suggested "bearsResponsibilityFor".
> Thanks,
> Tim
> On Dec 2, 2011, at 8:04 PM, Provenance Working Group Issue Tracker  
> wrote:
>> PROV-ISSUE-182 (TLebo): stronger name for "wasAssociatedWith" [prov- 
>> dm]
>> http://www.w3.org/2011/prov/track/issues/182
>> Raised by: Timothy Lebo
>> On product: prov-dm
>> There was a reasonable support for renaming "wasAssociatedWith" to  
>> something with "a bit more meaning" that has not been reflected in http://dvcs.w3.org/hg/prov/raw-file/default/model/ProvenanceModel.html#dfn-activity-association
>> The thread started at http://www.w3.org/mid/CDFD3D2D-6354-4618-BB05-B541B84DC5EB@ISI.EDU
>> Jim Myers suggested "bearsResponsbilityFor" at http://www.w3.org/mid/3131E7DF4CD2D94287870F5A931EFC230299C0F8@EX14MB2.win.rpi.edu
>> Stephan Zednick suggests that "wasAssociatedWith" was too generic,  
>> by asking how it differed from "hadParticipation" in http://www.w3.org/mid/79C82866-807A-4FE0-8F60-90F7CAD955B0@rpi.edu 
>>  and further argues for its weakness at http://www.w3.org/mid/4662AC25-B5A6-485D-9A7E-5180558AF724@rpi.edu
>> I agree but didn't send anything to the list.
>> Luc said we can raise issues against it (now?) http://www.w3.org/mid/EMEW3 
>> |f3b02401dcbcf60c395672bf886e967fnAKKN808L.Moreau|ecs.soton.ac.uk|446DD0D9-0A95
Received on Thursday, 8 December 2011 17:39:13 UTC

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