[sc34wg3] Re: Public Interest and ISO WAS: [topicmapmail] <mergeMap> questions

Steven R. Newcomb sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Fri, 19 Oct 2001 11:06:17 -0500

[Murray Altheim:]
> [Steve Newcomb's] continuing disparagement of XTM as
> "broken" certainly doesn't encourage its widespread
> adoption...

> Apart from this, I don't see that XTM 1.0 is
> remarkably *different* from the child you once knew
> and loved. You seem to either no longer recognize
> that child or have grown to dislike it. I don't
> understand, and I don't see this as benefitting our
> community (which is as close to the "public interest"
> as I'm willing to go).

I didn't bring this problem up in order to criticize
XTM.  I brought up this problem in the context of
developing an underlying model for what topic maps
mean, including but not limited to topic maps expressed
in XTM syntax.  XTM doesn't have such a model, even
though you and I both struggled to give it one, way
back when.

I'm still enthusiastic about the XTM syntax; I still
think it's the best general-purpose syntax around for
topic maps.  There are many who disagree with me about
that, and they, too, are entitled to their opinions.
I'm sorry if it bothers you that I don't say "XTM" with
every breath.  Breath is a limited resource, and there
are many pressing issues to discuss.

Let's imagine, for the moment, that I *have* been
trying to undermine XTM.  Even if this were true (and
it is absolutely not true -- quite the contrary, in
fact), your remarks would still prompt me to say this:

  "My standard, right or wrong!" is not a credible
  position for a public standardization effort to take.
  We should not conspire to hide or deny the problems
  that are discovered in our standard.  We should
  discuss any perceived problems openly and fix them in
  accordance with due process if, after due
  deliberation, we think there really is a problem that
  needs to be fixed.

I personally think it's better for the widespread
adoption of our standards, for our community, and for
the public to demonstrate that we're all vigorously
involved in making it the best it can be.  Short-term
advantages can be gained by suppressing dissent, but in
the long term, the suppression of dissent is a losing
strategy, every time.  Dialogue reveals truth.  (Now
*there's* a Platonic idea!)


Steven R. Newcomb, Consultant

voice: +1 972 359 8160
fax:   +1 972 359 0270

1527 Northaven Drive
Allen, Texas 75002-1648 USA