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Assertional status of published information

From: Chris Bizer <chris@bizer.de>
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 2004 11:42:35 +0100
Message-ID: <002401c405c3$3fc197b0$1f12fea9@named4gc1asnuj>
To: "Patrick Stickler" <patrick.stickler@nokia.com>, "ext Pat Hayes" <phayes@ihmc.us>
Cc: <www-archive@w3.org>, <jjc@hplb.hpl.hp.com>

> On Mar 09, 2004, at 07:11, ext Pat Hayes wrote:
> >> 1. Graphs published on the Semantic Web are not asserted
> >
> > Well, the trouble is that most folk think that they are being
> > asserted, at present. So we have to preserve this understanding of
> > current normal usage.
Well, I don't know. Taking everything found on the Semantic Web as asserted
seams like an invalid oversimplification to me.

We are basically having the following situation on the Semantic Web:

A information provider
a) publishes information which he beliefs to be true, meaning he sees the
information as asserted
b) might want to publish information about which he isn't sure if it is true
c) might want to publish information which he knows is wrong in order to
achieve some advantage.
d) might want to quote somebody, not assuming a shared conceptualization (de

A information consumer
- wants to use the published information for something (decision making
- might have a different view of the world than the information provider.

Which is exactly the situation we are facing in daily offline life. We don't
take everything we hear as a fact, but evaluate if we belief it using the
background knowledge we have. Thus I think that on the Semantic Web, it's
also the job of the information consumer to decide which information we
wants to treat as *asserted* and that a infrastructure supporting him should
be open to a wide range of mechanisms for this decision.

Taking case a) and different world views between the information provider
and consumer, we have a situation where a statement is asserted for the
information provider but not for the information consumer. In case b) the
information provider needs some mechanism to express that he isn't sure
about the information (Statement about the graph within the graph or
somewhere else).
In case c) the information consumer needs a trust mechanism to filter out
wrong information.
In case d) the information provider needs a mechanism to express the de
dicto quotation, e.g. using literals.

The question raised by Patrick if a information consumer can be held
responsible for what he publishes is on a different level, which I think
strictly requires digital signatures and PKIs.


> True. It's probably most practical to allow folks to presume that unless
> explicitly stated that a graph is or isn't asserted, that it is
> asserted.
> My recent proposal for a bootstrapping intra-graph vocabulary reflects
> the opposite
> presumption, that unless explicitly marked as asserted, it's not, but
> that's
> easily fixed.
> Patrick
> --
> Patrick Stickler
> Nokia, Finland
> patrick.stickler@nokia.com
Received on Tuesday, 9 March 2004 06:41:06 UTC

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