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[Fwd: RE: Social meaning discussion]

From: Jeremy Carroll <jjc@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 07:54:45 +0000
Message-ID: <3E6D9645.5090003@hpl.hp.com>
To: RDF Core <w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org>


this is a contribution to the social meaning discussion that came from the 
HP rep on the patent policy group.

I am imagining an action on someone to collect a list of pointers for the 
CG taking the rdfms-assertion issue forward, and hope this might be 
included. Scott has a perspective that is informed in a different way from 
many of the participants in the discussion.


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: Social meaning discussion
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 11:42:05 -0500
From: "PETERSON,SCOTT K (HP-USA,ex1)" <scott.k.peterson@hp.com>
To: "'Jeremy Carroll'" <jjc@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
CC: "MCBRIDE,BRIAN (HP-UK,unix1)" <brian.mcbride@hp.com>

Jeremy --

I'll plan to attend the meeting.

I've taken a look at section 4 and at the agenda document. Here are some
current thoughts.

I am presently, strongly inclined toward the conclusion that the binary
concept that an RDF statement is asserted or not asserted is of such limited
utility in forming a foundation for development of social meaning that it
might be actually be counterproductive: it may be counterproductive if the
establishment of this concept impedes the development of more elaborate

"Human publishers of RDF content commit themselves to the
mechanically-inferred social obligations."

I see two different interpretations of this sentence.

A response to one interpretation:
It is not apparent to me that social meaning survives mechanical
transformations. I would expect social conventions to result in some social
meaning for a transformed result, but it is not apparent that in all cases
the social meaning of the transformation is mechanically related to the
social meaning of the original, untransformed statement.
Assume some statement X and a mechanical transformation it, Y. It is not
apparent that in all cases the social meaning of X and the social meaning of
Y will be mechanically related, or, in other words, it is not apparent that
there will necessarily be some mechanical relationship between the social
meaning of X and the social meaning of Y.

A response to a second interpretation:
The sentence is like the unhelpful sentence: "x has the social obligations
that are x's social obligations".

"The act of assertion needs some mechanism (e.g. signatures) to carry much
legal force: Peterson"

It would be useful to provide mechanisms to aid people in expressing the
character of their statements, such as the purpose for which the statement
is being made, degree of the commitment to the statement, who is making the
commitment, etc.
Like locks and walls of various types, these technical constructs do not
make law, but are very useful to the law in that social conventions can form
around the use of such technical constructs - for example, social
conventions might not form as readily and/or might not be as clear, if the
technical construct did not exist.

Consider the statement:
"The body color of vehicle #x matches Pantone color #y.
Consider the following contexts:
(1) on an individual's personal homepage that is reporting tedious detail
about the individual's personal life.
(2) a report submitted to the police by the observer of a traffic accident.
(3) a page describing items that are available for sale.
(4) a communication from a seller of the vehicle to the buyer of the vehicle
where the seller is an individual selling their personal car and the buyer
is a dealer in cars.
(5) a communication from a seller of the vehicle to the buyer of the vehicle
where the seller is a dealer in cars and the buyer is an individual
purchasing a car for their personal use.

The social and legal consequences of the statement being misdescriptive of
the actual car will vary significantly depending on the context.

I see similarities between social meaning and trust. This suggests the
possibility that hooks to aid social meaning might be implemented in higher

-- Scott
Scott K. Peterson
Corporate Counsel
Hewlett-Packard Company
One Cambridge Center
Cambridge, MA 02142
Received on Tuesday, 11 March 2003 02:55:01 UTC

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