W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webid@w3.org > May 2014

Re: Should WebIDs denote people or accounts?

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2014 15:57:35 -0400
Message-ID: <537BB3AF.8040709@w3.org>
To: Seth Russell <russell.seth@gmail.com>, Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com>
CC: "public-webid@w3.org" <public-webid@w3.org>
On 05/20/2014 03:45 PM, Seth Russell wrote:
> On Tue, May 20, 2014 at 12:30 PM, Kingsley Idehen 
> <kidehen@openlinksw.com <mailto:kidehen@openlinksw.com>> wrote:
>     Alternative Name
> Ok.  except a Persona name is not an "*Alternative* Name".   If i go 
> on the web as Seth or I choose to go on the web as Patty, "Seth" is 
> not a alternative name for "Patty".   Were that to become true in the 
> linked data world, then i would have been outed by the CyberMonster :(

FWIW, my sense is the problem manifests even without thinking about 
certs -- it's there as soon as the user says "that's me!" about a WebID, 
and systems understand that WebID to denote a human being, instead of a 

Today my wild idea for the easiest fix would be to make two subclasses 
of foaf:Person, perhaps named foaf:Persona and foaf:Human.  Then the 
WebID can still denote a Person, and it's clear that might be a Persona 
or it might be a Human.

It's a bit odd, but consider 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_personhood .  (They use the term 
"natural person" where I say "human".)   Given this idea that the class 
Person and the class Human are not the same, maybe a more specific class 
is needed when talking about instances of Homo Sapiens.  And if we're 
going to do that change, we can take advantage of it to solve this whole 
WebID issue.    Convenient, eh?

The problem with this solution is that non-lawyers laugh (and often get 
angry) at the idea of Corporations being People.

        -- Sandro
Received on Tuesday, 20 May 2014 19:57:37 UTC

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