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Re: [ontolog-forum] Quick take on where we stand in our discussions

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Steve Ray" <ray@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2007 17:55:37 -0500
Message-id: <013c01c7458a$ecb55a60$ad210681@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat, thanks for the reaction.    (01)

Let me take a crack at a couple of your questions.      (02)

> So, I wonder quite what the point is of setting out to 
> (re?)define a term which already has a fairly clear technical 
> meaning?  Does this represent an effort to wrest control of 
> the terminology from the current practitioners of the art? Or 
> does it reflect a basic ignorance of the state of the field? 
> Or is it an implicit claim that the field has, or should, 
> change or broaden itself to accommodate new goals? If the 
> latter, I think focusing on those goals  (as Paola did in her 
> recent posting) is the first order of business.
The point is not to define or redefine "ontology". The point is to have a
categorization which is much broader than this community thinks constitutes
"ontology" so that when somebody says "I am building an ontology" and it turns
out that the person has produced a simple taxonomy, one can place it somewhere
in this categorization structure, different from where one would place a formal
ontology. Some might argue "Well, you shouldn't call a taxonomy an ontology in
the first place", but it happens, whether we like it or not. Rather than try to
police the world's use, or misuse, of a term, this categorization, or
classification approach might work out better.    (03)

> But aside from this wondering: surely a good start, if 
> someone feels that the current definition is inadequate by 
> virtue of being too restricted, would be to cite some 
> examples of actual things, or projects, or dreams, which they 
> feel should be deserving of the name "ontology" 
> but which are not covered by the accepted definitions. (I am 
> late to this discussion, so if this has been done then please 
> someone point me at the results, thanks.)    (04)

Again, some of these other things usually aren't deserving of the name
"ontology", but how to stop them? Rather than doing that, we are attempting to
provide a more descriptive range of interpretations of the neighborhood.     (05)

I have had the same issue with the word "semantics", as in "Now that we are
using XML to model our data, we are capturing all the semantics of the
application" (actual quote, trust me).    (06)

> >This specific goal has been addressed in a number of mailings.
> >As the conversation develops, you will be able to see how it 
> is shaping 
> >up by visiting the wiki page at:
> >http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?OntologySummit2007_Fr
> >rConsider
> >ation
> >
> >At the same time, we have been having an intense discussion 
> surrounding 
> >the definition of "ontology".
> I have trouble distinguishing this goal from the first one, I 
> have to confess.    (07)

I'm hoping my earlier remarks clear this up.    (08)

<snip>    (09)

> Unfortunately I feel alienated by the Wiki forum, perhaps 
> from a lifetime spent in a culture in which an author's words 
> are sacrosanct, and to modify them (even to the extent of misquoting
> them) would be counted as a kind of sin. I find it VERY hard 
> to actually ALTER a Wiki entry, rather than comment on it. It 
> feels like a violation, or like painting graffiti on a public 
> building. I am sure there is a cultural divide here that may 
> correspond to a generational gap, but may be more pervasive 
> than enthusiastic Wikifiers (what is the the term for one who 
> writes into a Wiki?) realize.    (010)

This is all about collaborative work.    (011)

> One problem I have is that the Wiki seems to no longer 
> recognize my password, but refuses to let me alter it; so I 
> cannot log in. I have no idea how to fix this.
> Pat Hayes
I'm sure Peter Yim will be able to help in this regard.    (012)

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