[sc34wg3] www.topicmaps.com (and topicmaps.org)

Lars Marius Garshol sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Wed, 12 Oct 2005 20:44:56 +0200

* Jack Park
| SC34 is not an appropriate venue to engage in a pissing contest,
| [...]

Definitely not. It's up to us whether we want to turn it into one,

| but I certainly agree with Murray's point at your blog "...we just
| confuse our audience and make it seem that Topic Maps are even more
| mysterious and inscrutable than they already are... not a good thing
| to do."

Hmmmm. How do you feel that the entry does this?

| To amplify that, the heading "XTM is not Topic Maps" carries with it
| a negative connotation.=20

If there is a negative connotation I'm not sure I see it, but I do
agree that it is provocative, and that was deliberate. I wanted to
increase the chances that the people who need to actually read it.
It's been really bothering me for a couple of years now that people
persist in thinking that XTM *is* Topic Maps. People have gone ahead
and done work based on this assumption that winds up being much less
valuable than it deserves to, simply because they misunderstood this
simple fact. So I felt that this was a very important message to get

Whether I've succeeded is of course another question entirely, but
that was the motivation.

(As a side note: I think the fact that topicmaps.org hasn't been
updated since early 2001 probably contributes quite a lot to this.
It's the top hit for "topic maps" on Google, which means that most
people curious about "topic maps" get directed straight there, and
what they find is of course no longer entirely indicative of where we

| True, nobody disagrees with the idea that XTM is a *serialization*
| of a topic map and not, itself, a topic map.

Well, that's the problem. None of us do, I think, but there's *lots*
of people out there to whom this information comes as a rude shock. I
enlightened one member of the ISO committee on this in Montr=E9al two
months ago. I've seen master's theses that have done mathematical
models of XTM (XTM, not Topic Maps). And so on and so forth. So there
really is an audience out there that needs to hear this message, even
if none of us do.

| It is rarely *what* one says, but always *how* one says what one
| says that counts.=20


| In our community, fragile as it is owing to the combination of
| towering intellect, towering ego, and killer competitive instincts,
| we end up getting blogged as a failing community. Then, we shoot
| ourselves in the foot, sometimes with something as crude as a small
| howitzer. I always thought I was the loose cannon in this community;
| there isn't room for more than one of those in any such community.
| It's no wonder that, when I asked a developer working for an
| enormous database maker how soon they would start including topic
| maps in their mix, his reply was "just as soon as you guys stop
| fighting."

I certainly agree with you here: we should have stopped fighting years
ago, and to a large extent we have. It takes a while for people to
discover that, though.=20

But I think you have to help me see how this relates to my blog
posting. It was not meant to attack anyone, and the intended audience
for it did not include any person on this list, since as far as I know
everybody on the list is already aware of this. Not sure whether this
makes people breathe more easily or just reveals that I've completely
missed how my posting invited misinterpretation.

Lars Marius Garshol, Ontopian         <URL: http://www.ontopia.net >
GSM: +47 98 21 55 50                  <URL: http://www.garshol.priv.no >