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Re: Issue rdfms-assertion

From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 16:16:48 -0600
Message-ID: <3BF43ED0.AB3AB5C6@w3.org>
To: Pat Hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
CC: w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org
Pat Hayes wrote:
> >Brian McBride wrote:
> >[...]
> >>  >>   http://www.w3.org/2000/03/rdf-tracking/#rdfms-assertion

> Well, that is an interesting claim. Suppose I were to deny it. How
> could we decide the issue? By consulting a model theory? By citing a
> publication of the W3C?


> (But what if you and I had nothing to do with
> the W3C, and had played no role in the formulation of this policy?

In the scenario I gave, the relevant schema was ratified
by the UCC council; i.e. 47 of the 50 united states
(or something like that; see http://www.law.cornell.edu/ucc/context.html
for details); let's assume we're doing business in those states.

> Or
> what if I were just to tell the W3C to go to hell?) Or would it in
> fact get decided by a court somewhere? Seems to me that the last is
> the only reasonable answer, since most questions about social
> obligations get decided by court decisions; that itself seems to be
> one of the social rules in the US.

Yes, it would ultimately get decided by a court.
But it would be important for the court (or: expert
witnesses in the court) to be able to cite specs
that say what the intent of the technology is.

I'm pretty sure this has actually happened; stuff
like the following has been read into court records:


9.1.1 Safe Methods

Implementors should be aware that the software represents
the user in their interactions over the Internet, and should be
careful to allow the user to be aware of any actions they
might take which may have an unexpected significance to
themselves or others. 

In particular, the convention has been established that the
GET and HEAD methods SHOULD NOT have the significance
of taking an action other than retrieval. These methods
ought to be considered "safe". This allows user agents to
represent other methods, such as POST, PUT and DELETE, in
a special way, so that the user is made aware of the fact that
a possibly unsafe action is being requested. 

Naturally, it is not possible to ensure that the server does not
generate side-effects as a result of performing a GET request;
in fact, some dynamic resources consider that a feature. The
important distinction here is that the user did not request
the side-effects, so therefore cannot be held accountable for

--        HTTP/1.1: Method Definitions
Thu, 28 Jun 2001 14:56:31 GMT

Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
Received on Thursday, 15 November 2001 17:18:24 UTC

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