The Mr. Peppers Minting PSIs
CatBert was in a very aggressive mood. He had interviewed me all day on subject identification and how it worked for the Topic Maps and the RDF stack.
But the longer he investigated, the more poignant his remarks became. This evening he even meant:
Robert, I am getting tired of the lack of imagination in the semantic web community. That applies to both, the Topic ShMaps folks and the RDFreaks.
I had told CatBert, that - when attending RDF related conferences - then the semwappler'sh accolytes are completely ignorant about RDF's weakness to properly address subjects. Not the SemWeb superstars, though, but they choose to ignore it as they want to go down to business with their tuple stores.
Inspite that, the discussion
- What does an IRI actually mean?
would continue to crop up every now and then. But it is too late to change anything. The httpRange-14 train has left the station, slowly rolling down the hill.
I had also told CatBert that the Topic Maps people are more alert to the issue, and that subject identifiers and subject locators have a better - albeit not perfect - approach to this problem.
But CatBert was very unhappy.
A World of Stakes
What I am getting tired of is the IRI fetish with which people try to tackle this: Every subject must get an IRI. Putting stakes into the problem. As if this were some sort of vampire movie...
He's right. The obvious problem with that is: Which IRI(s) to (s)take?
Many people have discussed before whether Wikipedia should be the "Gold Standard", easily refuted by those who observe that WP's view is not an absolute one but has cultural context. Like everything else.
Others propose meta-identifier repositories noisily moving the grounding problem around without actually achieving anything.
CatBert became cynical:
And is this where you stand? What comes next? Another committee, perhaps?
I managed to produce a forced smile.
Tip Of The Vampire
And sighed. The real depressive message is that this is only the tip of the problem iceberg as subjects can be viewed in different resolutions.
The canonical example is the city Berlin: On the one hand it is a geographical thing. But there is the political aspect, the administrative one, and also the historical. And many others.
None of these issues (temporal and semantic resolution) are honored by chasing vampires.
With the courage of despair, I made a proposal:
- What if we stop this IRI madness, and use a query language for that?
CatBert fell silent. This part of the counter attack had worked. I got his attention.
- We could use a mix of fixpoints (IRIs) and path expressions to address what we mean. Something like this to address me personally:
It would take the literal URL and find all topics which have this as blog. And that would be me.
- And that would address you, my dear CatBert:
== "CatBert" \ name
In the first line I would get all the things I own, and then intersect it with the things which call themselves CatBert.
- See how few IRIs I had to use, and still get to you?
- And if the language happens to understand time, then you could also write:
== "CatBert" \ name
== . isa Cat after 2003
Ending up on the Sixth Circle
He played with his whiskers.
Pretty cool, I have to admit. But there is no way the people will follow you there. They rather prefer to continue in their vampire mass hysteria.
CatBert was right. I will keep this to myself.