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   Re: [xml-dev] URIs harmful

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<AOL>In this message, Tim has thoughtfully expressed just about everything 
I've been trying to say in a more flip manner.  Rem acu tetugisti, Tim.  "Hear 
Hear" and all that.</AOL>

> Joshua Allen wrote:
> > This is similar to the facility in RDF.  If I use as subject:
> > 
> > http://www.w3.org qualityIs good
> > I mean the web page
> > 
> > But if I use something like
> > http://www.w3.org ownerIs _:anon1
> > _:anon1 qualityIs good
> > I am talking about the W3C
> > (the plain English for this is "The owner of http://www.w3.org has good
> > quality")
> Here I think we come to the nub of the issue.  http://www.w3.org is a 
> URI and identifies a resource.  As programmers, there are a couple of 
> interesting defined operations: comparing and dereferencing.  The latter 
> yields a representation of the resource.
> There is no way in the existing architecture of the Web to find out what 
> the resource *is*.  There is no way to tell whether you're talking about 
> a time-varying bag of HTML bits, or the organization that xml-dev exists 
> to bash.  In fact, the Web architecture has no way to talk about (to 
> quote BillC) what the meaning of "is" is.
> Thus, claiming that your first assertion above is talking about the web 
> page is simply without basis in the Web architecture.  The assertion is 
> about the resource identified by the URI and (thank heavens) does not 
> depend on what the resource is, for any given meaning of "is".
> If the working of RDF depends on an assumption that a resource *is* a 
> bag of bits, then it's simply broken.
> Fortunately, I think the example above is *exactly* why we need RDF. 
> There is absolutely zero chance that you and I are going to agree on the 
> meaning of meaning, but with RDF I can, for example, build my own 
> taxonomy of everything in the world and issue statements like
>    http://www.w3.org TimsProperties:Is TimsTaxonomy:VendorConsortium
> and build a set of useful inferences from there.  Alternately, I could 
> assert
>    http://www.w3.org TimsProperties:Is TimsTaxonomy:HypertextDocument
> and build on that.  Not only am I saying things about meaning, I'm doing 
> so in a way that loads smoothly into databases and supports all sorts of 
> useful automatic processing.
> > This is why it is so critical that people not be encouraged to say that
> > http://www.w3.org IS the W3C.  Because first, you already have a way to
> > indirectly identify the W3C, by saying "the owner of http://www.w3.org";.
> > And if you start saying that http://www.w3.org IS the W3C, things that
> > are perfectly reasonable and logical before such as "the owner of
> > http://www.w3.org"; become muddled and suspicious.
> I think there is no evidence to support the paragraph above.  If it 
> meets my needs to use that URI to denote an organization, and and I have 
> RDF properties whose domain is "organizations", why can't I go ahead and 
> do this?  The domain of *your* "ownerIs" property may be web pages, and 
> thus your assertion is logically inconsistent with my statements which 
> treat the URI as representing the organization.  What is the problem 
> with this?  Surely nobody imagines that the universe of RDF properties 
> are all mutually consistent?
> In fact, I suspect that with a little study, you could build some RDF 
> properties that link from your assertions to mine, working around the 
> inconsistency.  Paraphrasing into English "if w3.org has an owner (in 
> Joshua's vocabulary), and if w3.org is a vendor consortium (in Tim's 
> vocabulary), then we can conclude that Joshua's anonymous owner resource 
> is a Vendor Consortium".
> But if you try to base anything on claims concerning what a resource 
> *is*, you're off on the wrong foot.
> Hmm... this discussion should be happening on rdf-dev or www-tag, 
> probably the latter. -Tim
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