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Re: Social Meaning Boston 6 March

From: Frank Manola <fmanola@mitre.org>
Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2003 09:02:37 -0500
Message-ID: <3E5A25FD.4050501@mitre.org>
To: Jeremy Carroll <jjc@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
CC: Brian McBride <bwm@hplb.hpl.hp.com>, Graham Klyne <GK@ninebynine.org>, w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org


I don't think any real "fudge" is needed.  It seems to me simply that 
(c) needs to clearly convey the idea that it is not the RDF Core WG that 
is mandating social enforceability, or that there are legal 
ramifications.  Aren't we saying something roughly like this:

1.  People use RDF statements to convey meaning related to the real 
world (just as they use natural languages)
2.  That being the case, the social environment in which those 
statements are used may associate various additional meanings (and, in 
some cases, consequences) with them, just as they would if the same 
statements were made in English.
3.  What the social environment does along these lines is determined, 
not by the RDF specifications, but by conventions, laws, etc.

A simple example would be to compare something like:

"This product contains 100% orange joice"

with somethihg like:

ex:product ex:contains _:foo
_:foo ex:ingredient ex:orange_juice
_:foo ex:percentage ex:100

If the English appears in the description of a product, the maker of the 
product will be held to the truth of that statement (and that's probably 
true whether the English appears on a paper label, or in an HTML 
description of the product on the Web).  Society (by passing appropriate 
laws on the subject, assuming the existing laws don't apply already) may 
determine that the corresponding RDF statements have the same legal 
force.  This is a consequence, not of the RDF specifications per se, but 
of the fact that RDF can be used to convey statements about the real 
world, and such statements, in whatever form, may have consequences 
determined by the social context in which they are made.  We're simply 
pointing out to people some of the potential issues raised by this 
aspect of RDF.


Jeremy Carroll wrote:

>>Jeremy is suggesting - lets see if we can find a form of words that
>>satisfies everyone.  I'm hoping that doesn't mean fudging the issue.
> I would expect the WG to reject a form of words that satisfied everyone but
> fudged the issue.
> I hope *I* would not be satisified with a fudge.
> I see the editorial task here as expressing the WG intent in such a way as
> to avoid any unnecessary opposition.
> I believe this intent is reasonably clear:
> a) RDF has meaning that relates to the relate world.
> b) This meaning is preserved under formal entailments.
> c) This meaning should be socially enforceable in the same way as the
> meaning of other languages that relate to the real world (e.g. English).
> d) The document section should be normative.
> e) The use of a word like "legal" is strongly preferred.
> At this stage the only one of those that I think might be appropriate to
> fudge is (e) if words like "socially enforceable" can be made to carry more
> weight.
> It may be beneficial to slightly fudge (b) by suggesting that contracts
> underpinning multiparty systems that use RDF might specify which formal
> system of entailments is intended (e.g. RDF entailments, RDFS entailments or
> OWL entailments); I don't believe the WG ever reached closure on the
> interaction between semantic extensions and social meaning.
> Jeremy

Frank Manola                   The MITRE Corporation
202 Burlington Road, MS A345   Bedford, MA 01730-1420
mailto:fmanola@mitre.org       voice: 781-271-8147   FAX: 781-271-875
Received on Monday, 24 February 2003 08:46:44 UTC

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