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Re: Agenda: Web Payments Telecon - Tuesday, April 17th 2012

From: Andrew Durham <ad@andrewdurham.com>
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2012 12:59:36 +0200
Message-ID: <CAP5m0mRYF1Czrv5L75988Z1isY8PpzLpWeH4KH3vXuq2nvXoMA@mail.gmail.com>
To: David Nicol <davidnicol@gmail.com>
Cc: Web Payments <public-webpayments@w3.org>

Your basic points are well-taken: the set of terms should be as small
and adaptable as possible. I did understand that these are
specifications, likely to be read only by programmers and lawyers, and
to be connected to the public with more specific words depending on
the purpose.

I would agree that "promisor" is ugly and that that can be useful. And
I can see why the terms I suggested are too specific.

But you did not address my main point, which is that the word,
promisor, is equivocal. A person who, for example, supports a
crowdfunding proposal promises to contribute to it, just as its
proposer promises to deliver if sufficiently funded. The word does not
get to the essence of what is actually happening. So by your own
reasoning, the word fails except by virtue of being too general. It is
non-descriptive. It requires further words not just to make it
perfectly clear, but to make it meaningful at all.

Maybe it's no big deal. I just try to write things plainly (however
much I may fail).

Probably I would not even have brought it up again, but I wasn't the
first. Dave Longley also said something about it:
"Btw, IMO, the terms promisor and promisee are flipped in the spec."

He and I at least agree that the terms are confusing.

Even the definition of "promisee" in the spec:
has the promisee "making a promise" rather than being the one to whom
something is simply promised, as the word implies. So the word doesn't
even have the chance of being equivocal because it doesn't mean in the
spec what it means in a general way, in logic.

I don't know what a better word for promisor would be. A "lister"? A
"campaigner"? Or for promisee, for that matter. I just think the words
are, as they say in California, somewhat less than excellent.

I will neither argue beyond what I have said above nor respond to
further arguments. I rest my case. I will accept whatever gets decided


On Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 04:16, David Nicol <davidnicol@gmail.com> wrote:
> Whoops. Right you are. Hello group, "promisor" looks just fine to me as a
> general term. Extended reasoning below.
> On Sun, Apr 15, 2012 at 9:10 PM, Andrew Durham <ad@andrewdurham.com> wrote:
>> David,
>> Did you intend to send this just to me directly? It does not seem to
>> have gone to the group.
>> Andrew
>> On Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 03:08, David Nicol <davidnicol@gmail.com> wrote:
>> >
>> >
>> > On Sun, Apr 15, 2012 at 3:57 PM, Andrew Durham <ad@andrewdurham.com>
>> > wrote:
>> >>
>> >> In the Crowdfunding: Assurance Variations thread, a couple of us
>> >> thought that "promisor" and "promisee" in the Payment Intents section
>> >> were unclear/equivocal.
>> >>
>> >> I suggested "proposer" and "supporter". "Funder" might also work for
>> >> promisee. In any case, two different words, rather than two
>> >> inflections of the same root, would help. Words that are somehow
>> >> self-explanatory.
>> >
>> >
>> > Also -- this doesn't speak to this particular word choice question, but
>> > is
>> > about clarity in general, a best practice for clarity -- given a core
>> > set of
>> > terms the dependent terms can be defined in terms of the core ones, just
>> > like developing a set of theorems from axioms in any calculus, as a
>> > common
>> > payments systems vocabulary is very much a calculus. By "calculus" I
>> > mean of
>> > course "notation" which is what the word means, when talking about
>> > things
>> > like "lambda calculus" and so on.
>> >
>> > So if we formally define general classes of roles account holders
>> > (source,
>> > recipient) and a general time framework (present, future, past) and
>> > things
>> > that can be held (artifact, fungible) the amount of common ground needed
>> > to
>> > understand the documents can be reduced (at the cost, of course, of
>> > making
>> > it less "friendly" but we're making specifications here, not marketing
>> > hype)
>> >
>> > To apply what I'm trying to say to the topic at hand (crowdfunding
>> > assurance
>> > variations) after defining a core vocab, the exact language of the
>> > non-core
>> > concepts doesn't have to be fixed beyond the local scope a particular
>> > scheme's description of itself, and conformant schemes will be free to
>> > throw
>> > darts at their thesaurus.
>> >
>> > Pledgemaker? booster? supporter? patron? friend? All of these, and more,
>> > would make more sense than the others in various schemes depending on
>> > all
>> > kinds of context and nuance, and mandating a particular term for a role
>> > of a
>> > participant in a conformant scheme seems like overreach.
>> >
>> > To make what I hope is a final and concise restatement, terms should be
>> > functional and general and useful; the set of reserved words should be
>> > small.
>> >
>> > "promisor" seems perfectly fine, actually, as it's so ugly that nobody
>> > would
>> > want to actually use it in a communications layer closer to the
>> > customer,
>> > whereas "funder" and "supporter" are nuanced variations depending on the
>> > nature of the receiving project, which natures we should avoid
>> > enumerating.
Received on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 11:00:32 UTC

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