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Re: [ontolog-forum] Is there something I missed?

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ed Barkmeyer <edbark@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2009 14:58:36 -0500
Message-id: <49835BEC.4030709@xxxxxxxx>
Mike Bergman wrote:    (01)

> IMO stuff here recently is getting seriously untracked.  Is this 
> the [ontolog-forum], the [sophistry-forum], the 
> [arrogance-forum], the [put-down-forum] or the [do-nothing-forum]?    (02)

It is most assuredly the [arrogance-forum], as this exchange alone 
demonstrates. ;-) Chris Welty's posting simply allowed a temporary 
release of accumulated steam pressure.  The engine itself remains on 
whatever track it was on.  But I myself argued that it is the 
[do-nothing-forum]; I don't know whether the track leads to anywhere.    (03)

> I appreciate sitting at the feet of the masters, but it is 
> tiresome to be subjected to re-treaded and tiresome tirades.     (04)

And I daresay the masters have a similar view of the pupils.  As I 
sometimes teacher, I can say that it is great to deal with enquiring 
minds and nurse them through complex areas, but quite tiresome to deal 
repeatedly with the misconceptions of aggressive "bookful blockheads, 
ignorantly read".  But when I am teaching, I can't let them mislead 
others.    (05)

>  How about constant ad hominem attacks on Cyc, OWL, 
> semWeb, RDF, you name it?  Is self-interest only a direct 
> relationship with ownership or authorship?     (06)

I wasn't aware that critiques of Cyc, OWL, etc., were "attacks".
If one is apostolic about those works, one may see them as "attacks", 
and one may somehow see them as "ad hominem", when in fact the critique 
is "ad rem".  But correct identification of deficiencies in a design or 
in its ability to solve the target problem is just honesty in 
engineering.  It is generally viewed as good engineering practice to 
consider cost effectiveness and to document limitations.    (07)

I strongly believe that the knowledge engineering/ontology community 
generally has many more and different concerns from the stated intent of 
the Semantic Web.  SemWeb is about creating and using knowledge models 
to mark up documents (and other resources) in order to improve 
information searches.  Most prior knowledge engineering was aimed at 
facilitating decision-making by automated means.  Those are different 
ideas, and there is only some overlap in the requirements on the 
underlying technologies.  In Mike's own terms, "trusting our business to 
<a knowledge engineering activity>" is NOT a SemWeb concern.  So we 
might find it useful to sort some of this out, lest we become Pope's 
"bookful blockheads" in our own right.    (08)

<tiresome tirade>
The fact that the search for funding for active research causes certain 
persons to paint their work "Semantic Web technology" confuses more than 
the funding sources, and begets some off-base critiques.  It is an 
inherent property of buzzword-based funding, and as long as ignorant 
managers continue to do that, the behavior will repeat.
</tiresome tirade>    (09)

> My goodness; where has grace and humility gone?    (010)

Psychological studies have shown that forms of encounter that eliminate 
direct personal confrontation (such as email exploders) make it easier 
for people to cast off socially supportive behaviors, like grace and 
humility.  The times they are a-changin', and not always for the better.    (011)

-Ed    (012)

P.S. I apologize to anyone who has been annoyed by any of my tiresome 
tirades.    (013)

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    (014)

"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST,
  and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."    (015)

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