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Re: [ontolog-forum] Fwd: Appropriate to discuss [was - Re: ontospam]

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ed Barkmeyer <edbark@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2007 15:39:13 -0400
Message-id: <46F02961.2030605@xxxxxxxx>
John F. Sowa wrote:    (01)

> Although the standards process must be open and we don't
> permit advertising by vendors, that does not mean we are
> prohibited from mentioning or discussing technical matters
> that may involve specific products.
> For example, SQL is an ISO standard, but Oracle, IBM, and
> MySQL support different additions to the standard.
> If somebody wanted to discuss how to support all three
> versions, there would be no reason why we couldn't discuss
> an ontology or tool that had provisions for mapping to
> each of them.    (02)

As long as one is careful to present "just the facts, ma'am".
And one must be sure that what is presented is a *fact*.    (03)

> That kind of discussion would not be advertising.  It would
> simply be a technical discussion of technical issues related
> to the subjects we are working on.    (04)

Well, that is a slippery slope.  It isn't "advertising" per se, 
if one provides an "objective evaluation", but it can still give 
the impression of promotion, particularly if the product is being 
evaluated in parallel with its peers.  Even facts can be seen as 
"positive" and "negative" properties of a product.  And the idea 
that one can or cannot do something specific with a product may 
be a fact and "objective" in form, but its purpose may be to 
recommend or deprecate.    (05)

I think the safest observation is that "advertising" is a bit 
like pornography -- you know it when you see it.    (06)

I wouldn't discourage the mention of products in attempts to 
assess the availability of support of a feature, or viability of 
an approach, or whatever.  The trick is to distinguish 
objectivity in intent from surface objectivity with a different 
underlying intent.    (07)

> Furthermore, if somebody asks what kinds of tools are available
> to support the ontologies we are developing, there is nothing
> wrong with giving a list of products, some of which may be
> proprietary.  But that would be done without giving any
> specific endorsement or sales pitch for any of them.    (08)

Indeed.  I think that is a value that the forum can contribute.    (09)

-Ed    (010)

Edward J. Barkmeyer                        Email: edbark@xxxxxxxx
National Institute of Standards & Technology
Manufacturing Systems Integration Division
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8263                Tel: +1 301-975-3528
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8263                FAX: +1 301-975-4694    (011)

"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST,
  and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."    (012)

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