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Re: Verbs

From: Erik Wilde <dret@berkeley.edu>
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 16:28:48 -0700
Message-ID: <54541B30.9060700@berkeley.edu>
To: "public-socialweb@w3.org" <public-socialweb@w3.org>
CC: James M Snell <jasnell@gmail.com>
hello james.

all very good and important issues. here's my take on #3:

On 2014-10-31, 9:34 , James M Snell wrote:
> Third,
> Even more abstract: Another bit that was discussed at the face-to-face
> is the fact that we do not currently define a vocabulary for the verbs
> themselves. There is an existing set of verbs defined in Activity
> Streams 1.0 by the so-called "Base Schema" document but those are
> largely informal. Lots of implementations use various combinations of
> those but they've never been formally spec'd. The question is: Do we
> need a formal definition of the verbs? And if so, what form should
> that take? We have a couple of options:

i'd question that it's even possible to come up with a formal and 
precise definition of the base vocabulary, as concepts such as "follows" 
are pretty much necessarily a bit fuzzy. i may be wrong, but my 
assumption is that (a subset of) 1.0 verbs with their fuzzy definitions 
(maybe tweaked a little bit according to implementer experience) is as 
good as it gets (for the base vocabulary).

having said that, it *also* is perfectly possible that some domains have 
more structured models of activities, such as we have for our prototype, 
where we talk about physical activities and there's a "running race" 
which is a "sub-verb" of a "run" which is a "sub-verb" of a general 
"physical activity". without knowing our ontology, these verbs are 
unrelated and maybe useful as they are, but it certainly helps to know 
the ontology and understand that "running a race" also means to "run".

> 1. Take a loose "registry" type of approach like that in the Basic
> Schema document. In this approach, there's really no "ontology"
> approach, it's really just define a handful of common verbs with
> specified meanings.

what i'd like to see is a registry of "verb namespaces", defined by URI. 
if i see such a namespace showing up in my activity stream, i can look 
it up in the registry, and that entry will link me to where the verbs 
are defined. these then can be defined in *any* way the creator of that 
vocabulary deemed appropriate, which can be anything between a fuzzily 
defined flat list, or a very refined and deep ontology.

in my opinion we shouldn't force vocabulary developers into any required 
formalism or model for their vocabulary. but we should give AS 
implementers a fighting chance to understand which vocabularies are out 
there, so that they can

a) find and reuse vocabularies if they want to use one, and

b) implement those ones that they find valuable to implement and that 
were deemed relevant enough to be documented and registered.

just to clarify: i am not proposing to have a registry of *verbs*, but 
to have a registry of *verb vocabularies* (identified by URI). if that 
helps, i'd be more than happy to write up either an I-D to create such a 
registry, or a section in the current AS2 draft that would request IANA 
to create and maintain such a registry.

thanks and cheers,


erik wilde | mailto:dret@berkeley.edu  -  tel:+1-510-2061079 |
            | UC Berkeley  -  School of Information (ISchool) |
            | http://dret.net/netdret http://twitter.com/dret |
Received on Friday, 31 October 2014 23:29:13 UTC

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