|To:||Ontology Summit 2008 <ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>|
|From:||Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>|
|Date:||Tue, 18 Mar 2008 10:57:35 -0500|
At 9:17 AM +0000 3/18/08, <matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
MW: I have to disagree with this. Ontologies are much more analogous to the specifications that software is made from. Standards often form part of that specification, and even user requirements are usually agreed amongst the users or their representatives. On the other hand I quite agree that few ontologies (as far as I know only those developed as data models in ISO like ISO 15926) have been developed this way. On the whole, I think it is a statement about the maturity of ontology as a discipline that people like yourself would consider that an open process for development was such a hard thing to achieve in practice. It implies that getting consensus at present is hard to impossible.
Its certainly a lot harder (and slower) than just writing the damn thing. Common Logic wouldn't exist now if it had been left to a committee. It got written because I convened a small hand-picked group and we agreed to get it done. My experience, which admittedly may be less extensive than yours, is that this is always how it gets done, in practice: some small subgroup of the committee just gets on with it and gets the thing written. As for 'open process' the openness of the ISO Common Logic process was a joke, whereas the W3C process in fact took place in public, and was strongly influenced by input from many sources (not just within the W3C), actively sought public comments, input from other WGs and so on. Exhausting, in fact.
As for maturity, while you may be right, I don't see any reason why being more mature is likely to produce more consensus on ontological issues. They seem to be permanent and intransigent. This is one reason I see ontologies as being very much more of a pick-your-favorite business than anything like standard-setting. A bazaar rather than a ministry.
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