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

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: paola.dimaio@xxxxxxxxx
Date: Wed, 4 Feb 2009 09:02:33 +0700
Message-id: <c09b00eb0902031802o26f72a66k5ac78aa1de30d5f7@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

I am not sure the content of this thread is on topic for this forum,  and I do not think that personal attacks are fair play, nor pertinent, but since you bring things up, I feel important to respond

I take your point, and yes, corporate and institutional presence is heavy, undeniable and and brings a bias, and I also agree with some of your points, in fact, I could add more

 However, the web is not isolated from the rest of our political, economic and commercial systems, it develops within them.
We cannot create a web of knowledge without taking into account what IT firms are doing, their role in the economy, the IPR situation etc.
 Better bring them in early, and make the work together around a table, which incidentally is open for anyone to join

Please note that a) I am a bit of ad self declared conspiracy theorist, so i appreciate your  critical views and observations of the system  b) I am a perfect nobody in W3C terms, as I am not corporate, I am not academic in the institutional sense (the unis I work dont get involved in semantic web projects and funding etc),
In fact I have limited understanding of much of what is being done, and when I understanding, it often fails to make sense/

 When it comes to W3C, i literally walk off the street

Yet, the doors have been always open, I can go into any meeting and say what I want, including that what they are doing does not seem to make sense to most people.
I never felt out of place, or unwelcome
To the point that I was encouraged to start my own working group to discuss the issues that I felt were important, in they way that I thought they should be handled/

let me briefly make the following remarks

1. Tim has always answered personal emails and encouraged participation in W3C work, whereas a lot of corporates, so called self professed experts, luminaries have often tried to keep their conversations behind a closed lists, or insist to use jargon and methaphors that nobody can  understand, let alone criticise
I always felt that Tim personally is defending the plurality and openness of SW efforts, to avoid it being taken over by one side or the other in pursuit of commercial interest.

2.(a) He wants us all to use a W3C-designed ontology language.  Diversity,schmiversity.  The W3C universes of discourse shall be THE universes ofdiscourse on the Web.  And if you're not interested in any of theW3C-blessed levels of support for logical inferencing, you have littleto contribute to the "Semantic Web", no matter how much you know, orwhat you have to offer.

I agree with this, but, I am not sure this is down to Tim, rather to the fact that the web standards so far have been made by logicians, physicist, matematicians, who speak their own language and who refuse to take a good look at the real world in the face.
Had we had more social scientists and common web users have a say , maybe we would not have ended up with such unnecessarily complicated, absurd, money wasting efforts, which continue to be funded and continue to be of limitied practical use (although this is a bit of a generalization), But I would say that we are on time to put things right, provided our participation in the web standards process can be constructive. I have personally felt much encouraged to participate, since my right to voice my position and opinions is sternely defended.

(b) He wants all ideas to be identified via web addresses.

this is funny. I have seen people become very nervous about it.
  there is a very simple reason fo this" if we consider the web as
our knowledge repository, and if we want it to work, we need
to respect the principle of 'uniqueness of values' as in the RDBM
devised by Codd. There is no more, and no less to it.
 If we dont have unique addresses for everything, we cannot reson (read compute, query, retrieve things)

One last thing, Last year, after trying without success to use a few semweb tools without success, I moaned on the public w3c list, and in the spirit of constructive approach, I suggested a f2f simply to discuss why semantic web technologies seem to be developed with so little common sense.
I think the reason why we had a 'full table', and we did not have enough seats so that people had to stand, is because the w3c was behind it. >From that informal talk we have derived a workshop, the first completed at ASWC (swaha 08), while I remain unaffiliated, independent, and critical of much of the W3C work, I feel that complementary views are welcome

What I mean is, the web of knowledge is already changing a lot
our ability to interact with 'the system', and sometimes yes we have to sleep with the enemy,

I hope you manage to make your criticism constructive and that your views will contribute to bring more balance and non coporate voice into the semantic web development process, in whatever terms you want to define it.



Paola Di Maio

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