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Re: Reification

From: Frank Manola <fmanola@mitre.org>
Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2001 17:19:26 -0500
Message-ID: <3C1E6F6E.1060108@mitre.org>
To: Jeremy Carroll <jjc@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
CC: w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org

I don't think we disagree on how effective "RDF reification" has been in 
solving problems.  My concern has to do with exactly what "drop" or 
"punt" means.  In the current official W3C RDF specs, "RDF reification" 
is cited as the solution for certain problems (e.g., statements about 
statements, including which statements came from which Web source).  If 
"drop" is interpreted literally, it means all references to reification, 
and those problems, are simply eliminated from the spec, without further 
comment.  I don't believe it would be very responsible for us to do 
that.  I'd prefer to see some explicit discussion (possibly in a 
non-normative appendix) describing those problems, and stating 
explicitly that we don't explicitly deal with those problems in our 
(revised) specifications.


Jeremy Carroll wrote:

> Jeremy:
>>I think we should not *drop* reification, just not encourage it.
>>We can treat reification as a purely syntactic macro, [...]
> Frank:
>>I'm not sure what you're saying here.
> [ ... ]
>>    However, it's not clear to me that that
>>observation means we can pass on [ ... the ... ]
>>things for which "RDF reification" is currently cited as
>>the solution.  Mind you, I don't necessarily think that "RDF
>>reification", as currently defined, is the right way to do these things,
>>but these seem to be basic issues in applying RDF, and I don't think we
>>can punt on them.
> I think my point is precisely that we SHOULD punt on them.
> Despite the best efforts of the first group RDF reification has not solved
> the problems it set out to solve, or any others that anyone hopes it might
> solve. We are not chartered to modify it to actually solve problems (even if
> we knew how), hence are choices are:
> 1: drop it
> 2: or pass on it
> In fact, the observation that reification hasn't solved any problems argues
> moderately convincingly that these problems don't actually need to be
> solved.
> I note that Dave is currently minded to continue with what I see as a
> fatally flawed understanding of the syntax of reification (see subsequent
> message), and as such I am now wavering from "passing" to "dropping",
> however I will check with my HP colleagues before doing so ...
> [I wonder if Brian with his "HP colleague" hat on may support my making a
> proposal that he with his "chair" hat on then stomps on as out of charter?]
> Jeremy

Frank Manola                   The MITRE Corporation
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Received on Monday, 17 December 2001 17:16:57 UTC

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