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Qualification and identity

From: Niklas Lindström <lindstream@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2021 02:20:49 +0100
Message-ID: <CADjV5jcrQE5w8Cd9CdViQ3=A4RCGJhhWZvAhp8EkvH1uepFB2Q@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-rdf-star@w3.org
Hello all,

I sometimes wonder, aren't there any exdurantists [1] on this list (or
people from the twicely fictional Tlön [2], perhaps)?

Just the other week I wrote up this simple mixed essay/ontology/critique,
spurred by my reading up on RDF-star and all the surrounding discussions. I
called it "QuID - The Qualified Identity Ontology":

    https://w3id.org/quid/ [3]

I wasn't fully motivated to bring it up then (it isn't a finished thought
product for one), but given the recent discussion on the list, I felt that
perhaps it might provide some kind of perspective (or prompt someone to
give me constructive feedback). I am not out to recommend this "QuID"
approach over RDF-star annotations (they could be orthogonal, albeit here
poised as contrasts), I just need a way to clarify on the one hand what I
believe is viable regarding qualification, and on the other what I worry
RDF-star is and isn't, to hopefully gather further insights here.

The motivation for it was the impression I'm getting that RDF-star appears
to be set up to be somewhat *gamed*. It appears to me (as is also currently
debated) that there may be some conflation of statement and "asserted but
implied event" in use cases here and there, and that this may be a
potential problem going forward (at worst heading towards an httpRange-14
situation but for every triple...). I wanted to contrast this with a notion
I've had for some time about the limited nature of the *identities* we use
in RDF, and what that implies in relation to various forms of
qualification, including this "gaming" of RDF-star, specifically its
annotation form (which admittedly I'm drawn to for practical reasons, to
the point of wanting to game it...).

I also have some concerns that this pursuit of reification (becoming
"triples within triples") might make the simple substrate of triples in RDF
much harder to grasp. But I may be wrong there.

Perhaps disqualifying me from the fully rational, I am actually fairly
comfortable with ambiguity and broken semantics (though not necessarily
with conflation); and if this "gaming" I am worried about is considered
sound and as intended, I will probably continue to pursue it in some
fashion (I've already gone down that route [4], if only to avoid inventing
something.) It might be that annotations are "mixed quotations" [5], and
the use/mention distinction cannot be readily applied. That might be a
semantic bog in the making of course, but I suppose any applied semantics
eventually strays from the picture and breaks cohesion. I put my graphs
under names and certainly don't trust the giant global graph of the
semantic web to be cohesive (one stray owl:sameAs and the entire castle
comes tumbling down). It's all just maps, skewed, with varying symbols,
granularities and abstractions. They're not beyond interlinking, even
ontology-wise, and that's workable enough. I'm not a fan of entropy, and
endless complexities (still, alas, I find myself an agent of it, time and
again), but that's the game of nature, and just striving to navigate it may
be enough to get by.

I do think clarification and harmonization of (or dare I wish, even
unification of) what is happening here on the quoted triple level with
named graphs as a vehicle for triples and provenance would be the most
valuable route towards standardization. And I do miss a clear stance on
qualification (rdf:value has been around long enough without catching on,
so something's amiss). As these are the papers and inks we're all working
with, and we're now about to get a new kind of colored marker to work with,
to clarify how these map making pieces are to be grasped together would be
wise (lest we get lost in the map making process and forget to navigate our


[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perdurantism
[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tl%C3%B6n,_Uqbar,_Orbis_Tertius
[3]: Snapshot reference of the article code for future readers of this
[5]: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/quotation/#MixeQuot
Received on Wednesday, 29 December 2021 01:22:29 UTC

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