W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org > December 2002

Re: Using third-party vocabularies

From: pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Date: Wed, 4 Dec 2002 10:18:56 -0600
Message-Id: <p05111b2bba13da93c427@[]>
To: Graham Klyne <GK@NineByNine.org>
Cc: w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org

>At 11:44 PM 12/3/02 -0600, pat hayes wrote:
>>>Related to all this, I think there is a legitimate caveat:  if one 
>>>makes legally binding statements using language terms defined by 
>>>some other party, then one would be well advised to confirm that 
>>>they define the terms persistently in a fashion that corresponds 
>>>to the expected meaning.   So, in important documents, one would 
>>>probably limit oneself to using vocabulary defined by some 
>>>reputable organization, or standards body, etc.
>>Good point to make. If you use terms from sources that you don't 
>>trust, they may have consequences that you don't intend. Caveat 
>Wouldn't that be caveat scriptor?

Well, OK, I guess. BUt the point is that if I invent a term and 
'define' it and then you read it and use it some way that isnt in 
line with what I said about it, then you, the reader of what I wrote, 
have the responsibility for the mistake (and any of its 
consequences). Put another way, I can't be held responsible for other 
people's misunderstandings of my meanings.

>maybe there are a few words that should added to the Concepts draft?  e.g.
>In publishing a statement with potentially significant legal or 
>social consequences, one should take care to use vocabulary whose 
>meaning is well-defined, stable and known to correspond to the 
>intended meaning.  For important documents, such as contracts, this 
>may mean that use of third-party vocabulary is restricted to terms 
>defined by legislature, recognized standards bodies or other 
>reputable organizations.  Using terms from untrustworthy sources may 
>have unintended consequences.
>In view of this discussion, maybe this can help to clarify some of 
>the relationship between third party vocabularies and meanings?  I 
>think it does address at least one of the comments we've received.

Yes, I like the above. But I think that the general principle goes 
beyond just the 'significant' legal cases: it applies everywhere.


>Graham Klyne

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Received on Wednesday, 4 December 2002 11:18:33 UTC

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