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

To: "'Pat Hayes'" <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Cc: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Steve Ray" <ray@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2007 13:12:09 -0500
Message-id: <007201c7462c$7d825fb0$ad210681@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
        I think we're on the same page. In particular, I entirely support your
"Just make sure that we don't lose some way to distinguish what we used to call
'ontology engineering' from all the rest."     (01)

This categorization structure should improve things by doing just that -
distinguishing the "true" original meaning of the word, from other uses that
make us cringe. We can do that not by trying to defend the term, but by putting
things in the right place in the categorization.    (02)

- Steve    (03)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Pat Hayes [mailto:phayes@xxxxxxx] 
> Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2007 12:19 PM
> To: Steve Ray
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Quick take on where we stand in 
> our discussions
> >Pat, thanks for the reaction.
> >
> >Let me take a crack at a couple of your questions.
> >
> >>
> >>  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".
> Well, but really, this IS the point, as your subsequent 
> explanation shows.
> >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.
> That qualification "formal" already accepts the 
> re-definition. To me, one might was well talk about a 
> computing computer.
> >Some might argue "Well, you shouldn't call a taxonomy an ontology in 
> >the first place",
> Indeed, because it isn't one.
> >  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.
> In other words, accept the mistake/abuse of terminology/plain 
> dumb ignorance as fact, by re-defining the technical meaning 
> of the word so that the bug is reclassified as a feature. 
> Exactly.
> But OK. Fair enough. Thats more or less what I meant by my 
> last option.
> >
> >>  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.)
> >
> >Again, some of these other things usually aren't deserving 
> of the name 
> >"ontology", but how to stop them?
> Friendly but firm correction, consistently applied :-)  But 
> OK, more seriously, I take your point. This kind of 
> terminological erosion happens all the time, and I have 
> fought losing battles against it in several other contexts 
> (frame problem, 'agents', AI). Just make sure that we don't 
> lose some way to distinguish what we used to call 'ontology 
> engineering' from all the rest.
> >Rather than doing that, we are attempting to provide a more 
> descriptive 
> >range of interpretations of the neighborhood.
> >
> >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).
> Yes, indeed, Ive met that one also, moving in W3C circles.
> >
> ><snip>
> >
> >>
> >>  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.
> >
> >This is all about collaborative work.
> It goes deeper than that. I work collaboratively all the 
> time. But that involves for example sending drafts back and 
> forth with corrections and edits tracked carefully, and 
> meetings to discuss how to resolve issues. It works because 
> one has has trust in one's collaborators; but in a Wiki there 
> is no collaborator to have trust in. 
> Its the anonymity and 'one vs. the crowd' aspects of the Wiki 
> which are so alien and hard to get used to. It really is a 
> new kind of working mode, I feel (and one I need to get used 
> to, of course). Sociologists should be studying it.
> >
> ><snip>
> >>
> >>  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.
> He fixed it, yes, thanks.
> Pat
> >
> >
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>     (04)

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