RE: Proposed issue: site metadata hook

> -----Original Message-----
> From: ext Chris Lilley []
> Sent: 13 February, 2003 01:40
> To: Stickler Patrick (NMP/Tampere)
> Cc:;
> Subject: Re: Proposed issue: site metadata hook
> On Wednesday, February 12, 2003, 10:52:09 AM, Patrick wrote:
> >> The solution should also allow a distributed and scalable 
> architecture
> >> that allows multiple users to share one server, rather 
> than the wildly
> >> unrealistic and unfair constraint of the server owner controlling
> >> everything.
> PSnc> While I'm all for the most flexible and enabling 
> solution, I think
> PSnc> this issue of some users not having control over their 
> servers is
> PSnc> a social issue, not a technical issue.
> That is where you would be wrong. Fixing it (by for example giving
> everyone a free server they control) would be a social issue. Failing
> to account for this restriction in a technical architecture is a
> technical issue.

But *removing* such restrictions (which I presume you mean by
"taking account" of them) is a socially motivated act.

What you are talking about is using technical means to affect 
a social situation by having the "solution" impinge upon the
rights of the server *owner*.

The technology should not mandate such social issues.

Since any users is *free* to get their very own server, then
defining the technology in terms of the rights of the server
owner is neither a social nor a technical problem.

> PSnc> Folks that live in apartment buildings don't have total control
> PSnc> over their domiciles. If they want total control, they should
> PSnc> buy a house.
> I am not especially interested in building a web architecture that
> only applies to corporate brochure publishers and ignores anyone else
> as irrelevant.

Sheesh. You must be kidding!

Exactly *how* does the present web architecture *ignore* the 
"common man", eh comrade?

There is no dark sinister society preventing every Joe on the
street from having their own server. Criminy, just get a
fixed line connection and put Apache on your home computer!

Oh, you say it's too expensive? Well..... So are ten bedroom
homes on twenty acre lots on the ocean front!

Welcome to the real world.

If there is some technological aspect that makes it cost
prohibitive to *own* a web server, then certainly, let's
address that. But the web architecture should not in any
way impinge upon the rights of the *owner* of that web
server, and the owner is free to restrict "tenants" of
that server however is agreed to within the domain of
that server.

> PSnc> And if enough tenants in a given apartment building 
> (enough users
> PSnc> of a given server) want some change to the shared 
> resources, then
> PSnc> they can request it, or demand it, or then find a more suitable
> PSnc> place to live.
> Thats a social issue ;-)

Duh. And one that the web *architecture* need not "address".

> PSnc> Whatever solution is promoted, it should not disregard 
> the rights
> PSnc> of server owners to decide how their servers are used,
> Sure, server owners should be able to lock down a server if they want
> to. But that should not be the default option and not the only option.

Fair enough. But you seem to be implying that the web architecture
should allow a user to override the rights of the web site owner. That
if the web owner says "no robots here" that the user should still
be allowed to invite them in. That's what you suggested in your
original post.

That's like sneaking you friends into the theatre by the back door.

Shame on you. (you were a mischievous kid, weren't you ;-)

> PSnc> and the
> PSnc> fact that folks residing on those servers have agreed to waive
> PSnc> certain rights in order to reside there.
> No, they have not so agreed. 

Eh? Sorry. Surely you don't expect me to dig out and provide
you with examples of the legal agreements typical of most
web hosting services.

Really, Chris, I think you're view on this is very distorted
and unrealistic.

Users most certainly *have* agreed to such restrictions.

> And an unrealistic, elitist and utopian
> architecture that applies only to some small fraction of content
> providers is just a waste of time.

Onward the revolution...  ;-)

> Besides, the same problem afflicts corporates too so its not some
> bleeding heart liberal philosophy here - its pragmatism.

I'm all for an architecture that allows for site owners to
empower their tenants in whatever way *they* see fit -- including
the ability to selectively specify subsets of the site visible
to robots, crawlers, etc. and leaving such visibility up to
the discretion of each tenant, etc., but only *if* the web site 
owner decides to do so.

But I am definitely opposed to any architecture that allows a
tenants rights to override or circumvent those of the site owner.

I do very much hope you would agree with at least that last

And as a final point, wouldn't the ability to express all the
complexity of site configuration and the rights of tenants,
etc. be so much easier if one could just use RDF, and then
just ask the site to tell us if e.g. a robot can inspect
the web space of tenant "John Doe"...???

Why do we need anything more than the semantic web extensions
to the present web architecture -- to deal with this and so
many other configurational, control, and behavioral issues?



Patrick Stickler, Nokia/Finland, (+358 40) 801 9690,

Received on Thursday, 13 February 2003 03:35:22 UTC