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Re: [ontolog-forum] Observation on one Result of Success Re: Presentatio

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Rex Brooks <rexb@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2007 06:11:00 -0700
Message-id: <a0624081bc344f183d494@[]>
Understood Paola,

To some extent, that's what I meant by "bleeding deacons." While I am not a convenor, I don't quite qualify, but I have noted this tendency in myself. Some time ago, I found myself in a similar situation with a group I had helped get started, and it was not until later, that I began to see that I had inadvertently alienated several valuable contributors.

However, as I said, I think this forum is healthy enough to withstand these kinds of growing pains. I think that early next year, in the usual mid-winter northern hemisphere lull, there will be a period of time when we can have a few more planning sessions, and, perhaps we can find a way to be more inclusive.

There are several ways we could achieve this, but rather than stimulate that conversation right now, when I'm up to my elbows in alligators myself, I invite everyone to remind me in January and I will list some of my ideas about how we can expand the tent, or build some connected tents for Ontolog SIGs perhaps?


At 11:16 AM +0700 10/24/07, paola.dimaio@xxxxxxxxx wrote:
Rex, and all
not just that though

You know I am a 100 percent supporter of the good work done by this group

Let's admit it - there are some double standards. From time to time, list contributors
get  reprimanded for referencing their own work 'if it's not open content'.
Fair enough.

>From time to time, one of the list convenors or their friends reference their own
'not open content ' work, and get invited to give a talk about it instead.

 To me - this comes across as self propaganda and maybe that's what 'dowgrades' the credibility and integrity of the group.

Btw - I forgot to mention my own work in rules. will reply separately


On 10/24/07, Chris Menzel < cmenzel@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
Nice, thoughtful reflections, thanks.


On Tue, Oct 23, 2007 at 06:13:19AM -0700, Rex Brooks wrote:
> Paola, Chris, et al,
> I have a short observation I would like to make.
> Some of the apparent shortcomings of this Forum are results of its
> increasing success. Having been around for a couple of years now, I have
> watched the attendance move from 10-20 per session plus those who attend
> asynchronously using the archived recordings to sometimes as many as 40-50
> with hundreds attending and reattending asynchronously. However our average
> now seems usually in the 20-30 range at which our normal procedure of
> having folks introduce themselves becomes difficult or impossible.
> Also our planning sessions are growing fewer and farther between, which is
> another incipient difficulty for getting our diversity represented well in
> presentations.
> No doubt the advent of the Semantic Web is responsible for this, as slowly
> developing as it is (even though that rate of development is 100% above
> what could have been possible prior to the advent of the web or the
> inevitable dotcom bubble bust which actually marked  the first stage of
> maturation from of Web 1.0 from infancy to toddlerhood by analogy).
> The point is that we are seeing effects from this success. We've reached
> what may be a critical mass for effecting a change in the development and
> adoption of Semantic Web technologies. We are, I think, somewhere in the
> trough of interest between the first peak of enthusiasm during the
> introductory phase of a technology (which I think may have been marked by
> last years first Ontology Summit and the peak of interest when funding
> dollars rush in to exploit a perceived opportunity. I have seen this before
> a few times without being aware of the social and economic dynamic at work
> in these times.
> (Please note, our Forum is not the measure I'm using for gauging this
> interest, but rather the attendance at related conferences such as the
> Semantic Technologies Conference last year in San Jose, CA and the trade
> journal "buzz" around Web 2.0)
> Unfortunately, the usual path these tech waves or wavelets take in these
> troughs is often marked by a number of relatively deleterious syndromes
> when pioneers are often left behind.  One such syndrome pits enthusiastic
> (relative) newcomers against "bleeding deacons," folks like myself who have
> been onboard a while and have a semi-religious tendency to hearken back to
> the "good old days." I'm not saying that this is one such syndrome, just
> that as recently as two years ago, we had a difficult time attracting
> speakers and often our planning sessions outnumbered our presentations or
> panel discussions.
> All in all, I think this current concern about how speakers and
> presentations make their way to center stage is a healthy sign, even if
> sometimes it can seem uncomfortable or contentious. I think our community
> is healthy enough to weather a few 'growing pains." I also think we want to
> forge ahead, and, if anything, build a bigger tent, or water-cooler to use
> Peter's analogy.
> Cheers,
> Rex
> At 1:56 PM +0700 10/23/07, paola.dimaio@xxxxxxxxx wrote:
>> Chris
>>>  John [...] suggested no such thing --
>>>  indeed, quite the opposite; he said that most anyone on the ontolog list
>>>  would find the work interesting.
>> Yes, I also read it that way. And sure Leo's work is interesting and
>> relevant, and exciting
>> like other ideas proposed to the list that, for some reason, do not
>> seem to get 'traction' that (arguably) the may equally deserve.
>> Having worked (very briefely though) in the theater (after a brief
>> spell in  the circus </JOKE>), I have learned that the success of an
>> act often depends on how well rewarded the 'claque' is.  Kinda social
>> behaviour issue.
>> In online discussions groups, many use a trick, as I am sure we all know:
>> prompt a student or an associate to ask a question on list, so that
>> the answer can be elegantly and casually queued in, and let a couple
>> of peers  support the lucky timeliness and fitness of our response,
>> certain that sooner or later favour will be returned - thats how clans
>> are formed . (scratch my back and I ll scratch yours). This is common
>> tactics, and widely adopted especially in politics, other times just
>> rather innocently, or even legitimately done (nothing wrong with
>> promoting one's work)
>> I am personally interested in most things (learn, learn) and I
>> apologise first, for not attending the presentations in person - Idue
>> to time zone contrating - though I plan listen to ALL of them time
>> permitting and will review all the work accordingly at the earliest
>> opportunity. I also apologise for not supporting more actively the
>> ideas that I am intersted in - for example was it adrian walker, or
>> someone else, who sent a post recently with link about reviving an old
>> presentation on 'unifying logic' or something like that- that was also
>> very interesting I'd like to hear more. Sorry for not replying -
>> Azamat perhaps you should substantiate and elaborate, in appropriate
>> form, what you mean by 'derivative' there, might add an interesting
>> persective to understanding the context of the presentation.
>> Finally, I think anyone should be able to suggest a presentation,
>> either their own work or someone else's. While number of people
>> attending is a good measure of 'success' it is not the only factor to
>> determine whether the work is important/interesting/exciting, rather
>> the size of the budgets they administer, or how busy people were on
>> that day, or how bad was the traffic on the way to the office
>> (complexity rules). Very British 'speakers corner' concept, where
>> anyone coud walk up and take the public stand. Amazing how may people
>> stopped and listened everyday, you wouldnt know if they were really
>> interested or just had nothing better to do! dunno if its still going
>> though.
>> A lot of important/interesting/exiting work is not known, nor
>> understood, and the purpose of this forum is also to shed light on
>> that aspect of reality, not just to promote and acclaim what is
>> already appreciated
>> I am grateful to all for the learning opportunity, and I look forward
>> to reading Leo's  paper/slides, any critical reviews thereof, as well
>> as to listen to what anyone else's has got to say.
>> Best
>> Paola Di Maio
>> He only recommended, helpfully, that
>>>  any large documents should be made available on the web rather than sent
>>>  out via the list.
>>>  Furthermore, all Leo did was inform the list of work that he and his
>>>  group have done which he (rightly) felt might be of interest to forum
>>>  members.  If that is self-promotion of a sort that "downgrades" the
>>>  forum, then almost everyone here is guilty -- you, in particular.
>>>  Fortunately, this definition of self-promotion is ridiculous.  The list
>>>  exists in part for ontology researchers to share their work with others,
>>>  so long as that work is freely available.  And, knowing Leo, as you
>>>  obviously do not, I would venture that self-promotion was the last thing
>>>  he had in mind.
>>>  > Besides, it is hardly a big deal to publicly discuss derivative works
>>>  > with narrow scope?  This Forum fully deserves high-quality agenda,
>>>  > which should be offered by impartial members.
>>>  There is no such thing an "impartial" member.  Everyone is partial to
>>>  their own views and not everyone is going to agree on what is original
>>>  and what is derivative, what is high-quality and what is not, what is
>>>  narrow and what is not.  What there is, hopefully, is tolerance of
>>>  diverse viewpoints (and, of course, spirited debate ;-).  This is an
>>>  open forum and one of its strengths is that a wide range of views are
>>>  represented and a diversity of research is publicized and discussed.
>>>  People get to decide for themselves what is relevant and important to
>>>  them.  That's why, in particular, you are able to promote your own work
>>>  here without objection even though not everyone finds it relevant or
>>>  important.
>>>  > Now to make prime presentations, we have to invite the original
>>>  > researchers able to say something fresh or groundbreaking. I opine
>>>  > many of the participants will be 'enthusiastic' to learn what's going
>>>  > on with the following hot subjects:
>>  >
>>>  Probably so.  And lots more besides.  Fortunately, no one person gets to
>>>  make unilateral decisions about what is "hot", who should present, and
>>>  what should be discussed.
>>>  Chris Menzel
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>> --
>> Paola Di Maio
>> School of IT
>> www.mfu.ac.th
>> *********************************************
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> --
> Rex Brooks
> President, CEO
> Starbourne Communications Design
> GeoAddress: 1361-A Addison
> Berkeley, CA 94702
> Tel: 510-898-0670

Paola Di Maio
School of IT

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