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Re: Role of W3C in Open-Microblgging, and standards for the Social Web in general?

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Date: Fri, 9 Oct 2009 21:33:33 +0200
Message-ID: <eb19f3360910091233v536f8513q1de04bf49b875756@mail.gmail.com>
To: Harry Halpin <hhalpin@ibiblio.org>
Cc: public-xg-socialweb@w3.org, evan@status.net
On Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 8:57 PM, Harry Halpin <hhalpin@ibiblio.org> wrote:
> Everyone,
>   Also inspired by the latest invited talk on Open Microblogging,
> Evan (and others!),  what do you think is the role of standards
> organizations around the Social Web? This is an especially important
> question that we need to attempt to provide an answer to in our XG
> final report for the W3C. In particular, it seems to me there are
> three options:
> 1) The W3C: Has a clear, well-defined process for producing
> Recommendations with a clear timeline and formal process [1] and
> support of teleconference call, staff, and infrastructure. It has a
> well-designed Royalty-free patent policy to encourage its standards
> being open [2]. At the same time, except for "Invited Experts" it is
> seen as being the domain of only members,and so its difficult for
> non-members to interact. So far, not much around the Social Web has
> happened at the W3C.
> 2) IETF: The IETF has the advantage of having a totally open process
> for participating, which I could see really appeal to many people that
> aren't W3C members. At the same time, the process is more informal [3]
> (I admit not knowing about any patent policy as well) and it seems
> like a few Social Web standards are going to the IETF, such as OAuth.
> 3) DIY: After all, one can just post a web-page up and see if anyone
> implements.This is what has happened with Open Microblogging, FOAF,
> Activity Streams. Others are setting up their own foundations like
> OpenSocial, which has a light-weight process, [4] and OpenID, which
> also is interested in keeping the standard open [5]. Open Web
> Foundation has been pretty mysterious (I say this as a member), but
> some have said that it seems like it not might be more like the
> ApacheProject than  a standards process.
> What would you view as an *ideal* social web standards process? What's
> the strengths and weaknesses of the W3C, IETF, and just
> doing-it-yourself?


1. modesty: all parties accept there are multiple reasonable
approaches, each with their +/-
2. extensibility: basic division of labour: protocols should typically
standards track, schemas are done more 'in the wild' but should share
a common (ahem, rdf) data model
3. collaboration:  between W3C, OWF and others to better improve
'on-ramp' from informal to formal standardisation (eg. W3C SKOS and
POWDER began in EU projects, but went REC-track; collaborator
agreements might have help smooth the crossover process)

My main point here is the schema composability and extensibility are
absolutely key to describing things realistically, and industry-style
standards committees are rarely the best place to design the schemas.
The protocols we have for identifying, authenticating, describing etc
should as far as possible be agnostic about the kinds of descriptive
schema that flow through them, or at very least have strong
extensibility hooks. This is the 'don't let engineers tell you what
you can say about yourself' principle...



>          cheers,
>                harry
> [1]http://www.w3.org/2005/10/Process-20051014/
> [2]http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Patent-Policy-20040205/
> [3]http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2026.txt
> [4]http://wiki.opensocial.org/index.php?title=Specification_Process
> [5]http://openid.net/intellectual-property/
Received on Friday, 9 October 2009 19:34:07 UTC

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