Epistomat: generating concensus about RDF Ontologies

J. Walsh and S. Erle. The epistomat: Generating consensus abour rdf ontologies and rules. Technical report, O’Reilly & Associates, Inc., London, UK, 2003.

An ontology specifies the way that people interface with information. In computer science, an ontology is the attempt to formulate an exhaustive and rigorous conceptual schema within a given domain, a typically hierarchical data structure containing all the relevant entities and their relationships and rules (theorems, regulations) within that domain. (wikipedia).

The core idea of this paper is to use a predefined ontology defined in OWL as bootstrap for a world model to use in an interface. Then the paper focus on the idea that the connections and word of the ontology have to pass through a social process which will rate them and will give consent to them. They extract this principle from a game called Nomic. In this game players start with a predefined number of rules which progressively change during the game. The way new rules are applied is through a voting process.

In the author’s view the same system may be used to evolute the ontology used during the bootstrap of the interface. In my vision the action-series of the user may be the intentional subscription to the vote. This process is then very close to a social meaning process. In addition while the group give meaning to the ontology, also the peers of the group are learning how to assign these meaning though a democratic process. To highlight the informal learning process which takes place when different worldviews are negotiated by the consensus process.