RDF Interest Group: mailing lists etc... (long)

(sorry this is a little long)

On Mon, 9 Oct 2000, Craig Pugsley wrote:

> OK people, let's take stock. 

[...] (big picture versus nitty-gritty distinction)

> the domain. I do believe, however, that we must decide the course of these
> discussions before they become so entwined that semantic discussions
> interfere with syntactic discussions - and visa-versa. The blanket name of
> 'rdf-interest' group encompasses both disciplines, but seems less relevant
> in a time when RDF has secured its foothold, and now needs to flourish and
> grow.
> Maybe the bods in W3C who run these groups could sporn a new group
> specifically for those interested in the applications of RDF and keep this
> group for thrashing out 'language' related issues?

Ok, guess I should respond to this as RDF Interest Group chair.

First thing to say is that I share your concern: there's a danger that
the hi-geek detailed discussions on this, the main RDF mailing list, can
exclude and alienate those folk who are not interested in fixing the
specs, arguing over details of reification, serialisation and suchlike,
or studying the finer points of migrating logic languages to the Web.

Second and relatedly, I should emphasis that we've made a start in
partitioning discussions: I set up www-rdf-logic@w3.org (obsoleting the
semantic-web list that was created for this purpose but never
announced) so that the logic/KR folk had a place for detailed tech
discussion. I should stress a point of terminology here: "Interest
Group" is a term with special meaning within W3C process, and shouldn't
be treated as a synonym for "mailing list". The RDF Interest Group is an
effort that has a charter (currently in need of renewal and perhaps
rewriting). That effort can make use of mailing lists, IRC channels and,
should we feel the need, occasional teleconferences. We might also
consider face-to-face meetings etc. RDF Interest Group is an umbrella
for all this.

RDF Interest Group home page: http://www.w3.org/RDF/Interest/
RDF IG charter: http://www.w3.org/RDF/IGcharter
RDF IG docs: http://www.w3.org/RDF/Interest/#docs

Currently the RDF IG has two active mailing lists, www-rdf-interest (the
main RDF discussion list) and www-rdf-logic (for 'logic on the Web',
KR/AI/etc tech discussion). We can and will create more spin-off
lists; since the traffic and attention in the last couple of months has
become extraordinary, now seems like a good time to have this

It's about a year since I shut down RDF-DEV, my old list for RDF
developers, and about a year since RDF mailing list traffic started
taking off seriously. For the record, it's almost exactly 3 years since
RDF was launched on the world. IMHO, www-rdf-interest has in the
last last year proved an interesting and admirably flame-free place to
discuss RDF apps and specs, but has tended to (a) revisit old topics
with no closure / sense of progress, and (b) "geek out" somewhat, to
detriment of those folk interested more in applications than
specification. I hope the Issue List will start to address (a), and to
some extent (b), and that we can create and/or identify other lists
(such as www-rdf-logic) to address (b). So rather than (as
suggested) move applications and high level discussion elsewhere, I'd
much prefer to take steps in the opposite direction:

 - set up / identify specialist sub-lists for the RDF developer community
 - collaborate on our fledgling issue list and skeletal FAQ to avoid 'churn'
 - take care in our postings not to use jargon / acronyms without 
   explanatory context (eg. 'natural kinds', CWA (closed world
assumption), even XSLT have recently been used and caused puzzlement. A
glossary or improved FAQ might help here.)

While we could easily set up something like www-rdf-ig-apps@w3.org for
'applications', my preference is to encourage more application
discussions here. 

There are already a few other lists in existence being used (or lying
unused) for RDF-related apps. For example...

A few RDF Application-related mailing lists:

www-annotation, www-collaboration (see http://www.w3.org/Collaboration/
for details, archives etc). www-annotation is active, and has
occasional discussions on annotation / rating systems, using RDF and
other technologies.

Labelling / rating / filtering
pics-interest (Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) was a
predecessor technology to RDF, which was originally called PICS "Next
Generation"). see http://www.w3.org/PICS/
 - the PICS interest list is pretty sleepy. I've tried a couple of times
to stir up discussion, to no effect. The list exists though, and we
might decide to use it for discussion of RDF-based rating/filtering

Labelling / rating / filtering of medical and health related content:
Part of my ILRT work involves migrating the old MedPICS application to
RDF/XML through the MedCERTAIN project. We had a workshop in Heidelberg,
Germany last month with a group of experts from this field, and have
just set up an Egroups list to continue these discussions. RDF
developers interested in such apps are very welcome to join us at
http://www.egroups.com/group/ehealth-trust-hdcollab (please send a brief
introductory message by way of 'hello'...)

Channels / sitemaps
see also http://purl.org/rss/1.0/
rss-dev@egroups.com is a list that a bunch of us involved in the RSS 1.0
proposal have established, focussed on the evolution of the Rich Site
Summary (RSS) 1.0 proposal. This is pretty application-centric. You can
join the rss-dev list as a lurker or informal participant, or consider
joining the smaller RSS working group (not a W3C WG incidentally) who
are collaborating on RSS 1.0p specs and implementations.

The Mozilla-rdf list / newsgroup  also has occasional threads on
sitemaps, channels and shared bookmark systems. See the Mozilla RDF pages at
http://www.mozilla.org/rdf/doc/ for details.

Dublin Core: there are a number of Dublin Core related lists run by the
Dublin Core Metadata Initiative. Details at http://purl.org/dc/
RDF IG members might be interested to hear that the dc-implementors and
dc-datamodel lists are about to be merged into a deployment oriented
'architecture' group. More on that separately.


You get the picture... such discussions are inevitably going to be
scattered around the Web somewhat. I believe www-rdf-interest can and
should be the place where developers from all these areas work out how
these overlapping applications might play well together. Ratings,
bookmarks, channels, filtering, annotations, sitemaps... to pick only a
few, are all similar but distinct applications of Web metadata.

I should also mention that I have recently set up a new RDF-IG related,
publically archived list, www-rdf-specs@w3.org. We are still in the
process of figuring out exactly how to manage the process, but the
intention is to use this for some (possibly most?) RDF spec related
discussions. There's a need for 'one last push' with the RDF Schema
spec, for example, and we have been having the domain/range discussions
on www-rdf-interest recently. I'm very aware that this bores some of
you, but that others appreciate our having such discussions in
public. I hope we can move detailed discussion of the RDF specs to a
separate list or lists, freeing up a little www-rdf-interest bandwidth
for application discussions, ie. the fun stuff...

Didn't mean to send such a long post; hope this helps to provide a
little context on the possible options. If you read this far, I'd
appreciate any input to a revised RDF IG charter. 
http://www.w3.org/RDF/IGcharter is woefully out of date; I'd like to
make sure that any revisions draw upon feedback from IG members...

thanks for any suggestions,


Received on Tuesday, 10 October 2000 00:02:10 UTC