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Re: Can "http://danbri.org" and "http://danbri.org/" URIs represent different things?

From: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Date: Fri, 3 Jul 2009 11:37:44 -0500
Cc: <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-Id: <BBB3C4B7-945F-4B27-9587-9BBDC8F4BA1A@ihmc.us>
To: Larry Masinter <lmm@acm.org>

On Jul 2, 2009, at 9:55 PM, Larry Masinter wrote:

>>>>> Could http://danbri.org be a URI for "me the person", and
>>>>> http://danbri.org/
>>>>> be a document about me (and also serve as my OpenID)?
> Allowing http://danbri.org and http://danbri.org/ to "represent"

I didn't use that word, nor the "identifies" word. I said, denote. Why  
would that be a bad design choice?

> different things would be a bad design choice. Don't do it.
> Perhaps there isn't an audit trail in RFC 2616 that doesn't
> tell you that you shouldn't do something, but that doesn't
> mean that it isn't a bad idea.

True, but it also doesn't mean it is a bad idea.

> RFC 2616 was not written with the "semantic web" in mind,
> wasn't intended to solve the "semantic web"'s design problems
> for how to use URIs to represent abstract concepts, and
> so trying to do a close reading of the words (at least
> some of which were written by me) is -- I can claim --
> a futile exercise.

I agree its futile if the intent is to discover some intended original  
meaning. But once made into an actual spec document, words acquire a  
kind of patina of their own, regardless of the original intent; and  
they acquire a kind of authority which goes beyond what the authors  
may have had in mind. (Although I often ridicule Derrida, this is one  
case where he may have had a point.) And if one can use the words of a  
spec to some constructive use, even one that was not intended by the  
author, then lets do it.

>>>>> As I understand HTTP, any client must request something, so the  
>>>>> former
> isn't
>>>>> directly de-referencable. The client has to decide to ask for /  
>>>>> from
>>>>> danbri.org instead. But they're still different URIs, aren't they?
> The mapping of "http" URIs to actions of the HTTP protocol is defined
> in the HTTP spec, which indicates that, as far as the action of
> identifying HTTP protocol interactions go (which is as far as
> it goes).
> http://danbri.org and http://danbri.org/  are equivalent.

Yes, I know. And that is part of why this idea is so neat. For http  
purposes, the two are equivalent: so equivalent, indeed, that one can  
be invisibly changed into the other. But for other purposes, they are  
different, and we can use that difference to our advantage, while also  
using the http identity to our advantage.

> Any problems with disambiguating "denotation" are problems of
> the denotation system.

Denoting isn't something that is done by systems. Names denote by  
virtue of having a meaning.


> Larry

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Received on Friday, 3 July 2009 16:38:34 UTC

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