[tdwg-content] promulgating conspiracy theories is counterproductive
steve.baskauf at vanderbilt.edu
Thu May 5 05:13:40 CEST 2011
Peter DeVries wrote:
> I also don't seem to understand why if someone can find some missing
> utility in existing vocabularies, and mints one starting with txn, it
> is seen by some as an act of heresy, while the minting a new
> vocabulary starting with dsw is not.
> Heretical enough to be written out of the sacred scrolls?
Nobody else has come right out and said this, but I'm going to go ahead
and say it because I really don't think the paranoia contributes to this
discussion. It isn't exactly clear to me who you think is the TDWG
Illuminati is. You made the statement "TDWG Illuminati determined that
*indeed* the current DarwinCore was not good for the semantic web and
formed a group to create one" and I asked you what group you were
talking about. You did not answer that question. Given the statement
below I assume you think it includes me. I have already told you that
nobody in TDWG or anywhere else asked or suggested to Cam Webb and I
that we develop Darwin-SW. Cam (whom I've never actually met in person)
suggested to me that we give it a try and we did. Thus far I have not
yet heard anyone, including me, suggest that it was heresy for you to
create the txn ontology. Likewise, I have not heard anyone officially
associated with TDWG give any kind of "blessing" to dsw. Actually, the
fact that no one has come out on the list and said that some aspect of
dsw was heresy doesn't actually mean that people aren't thinking that it
is. I was kind of expecting that somebody might.
It really borders on humorous that you suggest that I'm somehow a part
of some TDWG conspiracy. I have been to precisely one TDWG meeting and
with one exception, that is the only time I've ever personally met
anybody who regularly contributes to this list. That one exception is
Nico Cellinese, whom I've met on one other occasion. In fact, the
person whom I talked to the most at the meeting (other than Alexey
Zinovjev who came with me to the meeting and was also a TDWG newcomer)
was actually YOU. I'm also pretty sure that the only person other than
Nico who regularly contributes to this list that I've ever interacted
with in any sort of collaborative way is Bob Morris on the Live Plant
Image Group, and he as been largely silent in this discussion.
Actually, he did make one comment about dsw and I would characterize it
as cautionary. That hardly qualifies as a conspiracy to promote DSW.
If you would care to notice, DSW is not my first attempt at writing
RDF. My first attempt was the examples in my Biodiversity Informatics
paper (https://journals.ku.edu/index.php/jbi/article/view/3664) and
quite frankly, at this point I think those examples were not very good.
There were several actual mistakes that I made and I think that the
overall approach that I was taking in modeling Occurrences was flawed.
If it turns out that people in the TDWG community find themselves
agreeing with the DSW model (which I do not consider a certainty), it
would not be because of a conspiracy. It would be because I've probably
spent dozens of hours (maybe even hundreds of hours) reading and trying
to understand the points of view expressed by people in this community
on the tdwg-content list and in papers and web posts that they've
created. With the exception of the IndividualOrganism class (which I'll
take some credit for promoting) pretty much everything that I
contributed to DSW were ideas that I've absorbed from the TDWG
community, which were then molded by Cam's contributions to the
collaboration. If you will recall, last November Rich Pyle and I had
what I suppose could be considered a somewhat bruising exchange on the
list about the scope of the Individual class. Although I did not agree
with him at the time, I learned a lot from that exchange and in
retrospect, I can see that his opinion was not wrong, it was just framed
by the desire to meet different objectives with the class. Cam and I
actually attempted (in a somewhat feeble way) to incorporate Rich's
perspective in the "alternative version" of DSW.
So my point is that if you want to promote the taxonconcept.org ontology
as an ontology for general use by the community (which is certainly your
right), then you need to be willing to subject it to critical analysis
by the people you want to use it. When you get criticism, you need to
see that as an opportunity to improve your work, not as a conspiracy to
destroy it. Cam and I have requested a critical analysis of DSW from
the community and I don't really think we've gotten enough of it yet to
suit me. If DSW has flaws (as it most certainly does), we will try to
address those flaws and learn from the experience. All you are going to
accomplish by promoting a conspiracy theory is to cause people to not
take you seriously. That would be a shame because you have a lot of
great ideas and have some of the most experience in the TDWG community
at actually implementing LOD "in the wild". You should take the fact
that I took the time to wade through the taxonconcept.org RDF to try to
understand it and subject it to critical analysis as a compliment, not a
threat. I have already acknowledged that a lot of what I know about RDF
are things that I learned from looking at your examples.
Steven J. Baskauf, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer
Vanderbilt University Dept. of Biological Sciences
postal mail address:
VU Station B 351634
Nashville, TN 37235-1634, U.S.A.
2125 Stevenson Center
1161 21st Ave., S.
Nashville, TN 37235
office: 2128 Stevenson Center
phone: (615) 343-4582, fax: (615) 343-6707
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