Reactions to "Let a million data structures bloom..."
Tom himself left a comment on the blog:
"I think the point that I was trying to make above all others was precisely what you've written above - I have no problem with Semantic Web technologies if people want to use them - I'm in favour of a Web of Data by any means necessary. What I think is wrong is the full aspirational goal of the Semantic Web or Giant Global Graph that TBL is advocating, and particularly the W3Cs attempts to make any future 'web of data' one that is true to the Semantic Web. I think that the Semantic Web rhetoric colonises any attempts to talk about a connected web of data and services, and I think that's a genuinely bad thing. We need a more humble idea of the Semantic Web, as one of a competing range of technologies and ideas that are all being explored in order to reach a goal that is larger than any one set of technologies of ideologies."
Another thread emerged on Twitter where, following my post, Georgi Kobilarov observed:
"Interesting that #linkeddata became 'top-down'. If #linkeddata feels top-down to people, then it is top-down, whether or not we see it as bottom-up."
Whilst I absolutely think that the Linked Data ecosphere has been built in a 'small pieces loosely joined' way, and not according to some grand masterplan, whether something appears to be 'top-down' or not depends very much where you are in the publishing chain. If I'm telling journalists and news organisations that they ought to code up things with a certain linked data ID because it is good for them, then it feels like I'm being top-down and prescriptive about it, even if the whole thing has been built from the grass roots up.
"1. Some people are very sensitive about job titles.
2. People in the UX/design/etc world might win the prize for most sensitive."
Actually, maybe people in the semantic web may well be able to claim the prize of being most sensitive about labels. In the comments on my post, Jeff Sayre linked to his article: "The Semantics of the Semantic Web: Don't Confuse the Concept with the Movement", which tries to draw clear distinctions between several different terms that might be applied to adding lots of machine readable metadata to content.
Me, I'm totally agnostic about the terms and the technology.
Linked data, open data, semantic web, RDFa, Microformats, SPARQL, restful APIs or carrier pigeons with QR codes attached to their feet, I don't care. I'm just interested in building data-based services that people find useful, and which they love using.