[sc34wg3] Editorial structure of N0396

Patrick Durusau sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Tue, 22 Apr 2003 08:59:49 -0400


Lars Marius Garshol wrote:

>* Patrick Durusau
>| While I am glad to learn I have not strayed into advocating criminal
>| acts, ;-),
>I'm cutting all the stuff you wrote about whether or not we are
>changing the plan. If someone has a proposal to make: make it. I'm not
>going to spend any more time discussing whether or not their proposal
>constitutes a change of plan.
I thougth I did: Have a consensus of the committee on the content of the 
various parts of the standard and not just the names of those parts. 
That was what my example:

That would be like person One agreeing write a contract for person Two 
to buy a house and person Two agrees to write a contract to employ 
person One. They have agreed who will write what contract but that does 
not indicate (to me at any rate) that they have agreed on all the 
details that will be in each contract.

Was meant to convey.

>| Sorry to disagree after so much harmony on the list but I can't
>| agree that the "real work" is limited to TMCL and TMQL. That is in
>| no way to diminish the importance of those parts, but as Steve
>| Pepper remarked to me recently, it is very hard to build topic map
>| software in the absence of a data model.
>Sure, the data model is important, but it is much less important than
>TMCL and TMQL from the marketing point of view.
Well, customers may not care about the data model and will read ads 
about TMCL and TMQL but I suspect they will have disappointing 
experiences if the data model on which TMCL or TMQL is based is 
insufficient for their needs.

>| That the SAM is one answer to the need for a data model does not
>| indicate to me that it is the only such answer or that data models
>| for topic maps are now a closed issue.
>Well, we've worked for a very long time now on that model and we have
>resolved the issues as they came up. N0397 now contains proposals for
>resolutions to the remaining issues, and I hope this allows us to
>finish the thing off in London. (I fully expect to see some of the
>proposals overturned, but I still hope the preparations will save us
>The only issue I've seen anyone raise that is not on the list is the
>issue of merging it with the RM. My position is that we cannot afford
>the delay that would cause. You, I take it, disagree? Are there other
>issues beyond that one that have not been raised, or which I have
>failed to spot?
Well, perhaps not a technical issue but the problem of the SAM not 
really requiring any sort of conformance seems like a problem to me. 
Difficult to see first of all how one can have a standard data model 
that does not require some level of conformance. Even harder to see how 
a TMCL or TMQL could be based on a data model that requires no 
conformance. Whatever your opinion about SQL languages, there is a 
common core to which they all adhere and that common core seems to be 
missing in this case.

It is not clear how much time it would take to reach a consensus 
document that represents the SAM and RM. Part of that lack of clarity is 
due to until recently a lack of comments by various parties to parts 
that were not their principal focus. That has changed somewhat and could 
stand to change a good deal more.

I understand your position to be opposed to any delay but I don't think 
that is an answer to the question of do we have consensus? Had there 
been more concern, and by this I mean all of us, on having consensus as 
opposed to doing what we thought was important over the last two years, 
we would not be where we are now. That consensus may or may not cause 
delay is not a reason to reject consensus. Note that I don't think any 
particular person or group can declare consensus or that it is not 
interested in further conversation. That position is itself evidence of 
a lack of consensus.

On a more technical issue, you might want to note that definition of 
String in the SAM:

> String
>     Strings are sequences of abstract Unicode characters conforming to
>     Unicode Normalization Form C [unicode]
>     <http://www.isotopicmaps.org/sam/sam-model/#unicode>

While following the W3C for XML 1.1 (see details at: 
http://www.w3.org/TR/charmod/) does exclude (unless this is one of those 
optional things) other normalization forms that may be required in 
non-Web based topic map contexts. This may be of particular significance 
for systems using Chinese/Japanese texts in non-web based topic maps.

>Unless there are it seems to me that either we attempt the merge or we
>consider the SAM finished once the currently open issues are closed.
>If anyone has a problem with that I'd very much like to hear what it
>| The near agreement (at least as I see it) between Steve Newcomb and
>| Steve Pepper on them importance of accessing all the information
>| about a topic from a single location in a topic map seems to me to
>| be another bit of important work that needs attention.
>If that means delaying the SAM and XTM: count me out.
Another sign of lack of consensus.

>* Lars Marius Garshol
>| We've spent two whole years doing *nothing* except fix the bugs of
>| HyTM and XTM. We need to move on.
>* Patrick Durusau
>| Sorry, I don't think it is fair to you to say that you have only
>| been fixing bugs in HyTM and XTM for the last two years. You have
>| made substantial advances on a number of fronts and while I may
>| disagree with parts of it, there is no way I would say you have
>| simply been fixing bugs.
>It's an exaggeration, but essentially true.
>| I think it is possible to "move on" as you say without burning
>| bridges behind us as though our answers will be the same two years
>| from now as they are today. 
That is what I am working on now, in the depths of ISO/JTC 1 procedures. 
Won't be keeping any possibilities a secret.

>| I would certainly hope that some of our answers will change over
>| time as experience is gained with implementations and building topic
>| map instances. If they don't, well, I would say we have not been
>| paying very close attention. Not seeking the perfect model and don't
>| recall ever saying that I was looking for it. Do think we need to
>| make sure that any model we have at hand is really the one we want
>| before deciding to look no further.
>People seem to have a real hard time accepting this, but TMCL and TMQL
>have to build on the model. That means that delaying the model also
>means delaying work on those.
Sorry, lost me here. What is "the model?" Sounds like we need to have a 
consensus on what that model will be.

I don't buy the position that if someone fails to agree with me, that 
makes delay their fault.

Could well be that I should agree with them, or that we should find a 
common position together.


Patrick Durusau
Director of Research and Development
Society of Biblical Literature
Co-Editor, ISO Reference Model for Topic Maps