the iCite net > news / blog > a permalink

news and thoughts on and around the development of the iCite net
by Jay Fienberg

Semantic web systemantics

posted: Nov 8, 2003 7:49:40 PM

Yesterday, I mentioned and briefly commented on Clay Shirky's The Semantic Web, Syllogism, and Worldview. Since then, a number of good critiques of Clay's piece have been posted. These include:

Deconstructing The Syllogistic Shirky, by Shelley Powers. Extensive critique.

Shirky misses, by Danny Ayers. Brief critique, but with extensive comments from Dan Brickley.

Shirky's Men of Straw, by Danny Ayers. Extensive critique, also includes extensive comments from Damian Steer.

Syllogism, by Sam Ruby. Brief critique, but with lots of comments and trackbacks to others.

Note: if you don't recognize the term "systemantics" from my title, it comes from a book by John Gall that used to be titled Systemantics: The Underground Text of Systems Lore—How Systems Really Work and How They Fail.

This book is currently available in a new expanded edition, under the title The Systems Bible: The Beginner's Guide to Systems Large and Small—Being the Third Edition of Systemantics. I read this book a number of years ago, and I finally have ordered a copy for myself, to re-read. It is highly recommended!

Systemantics lists and illustrates a number of "laws", like:

A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked.

The inverse proposition also appears to be true:

A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be made to work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system.

"Success" or "Function" in any system may be failure in the larger or smaller systems to which they system is connected.


In setting up a new system, tread softly. You may be disturbing another system that is actually working.

So, I mention all this by way of saying that I think there are some important points Clay is making, but I think there are many, many different "systems" in play in everything that might be described under banners like the "semantic web" or "metadata".

It is too vague to critique these things all together in one lump (just like it is too vague to suggest that these things all together in one lump will be a good thing).

permalink | comments {0} · trackbacks {1}

also available as: rss · rss2 · rdf · atom

Comments and Tracbacks

trackback from: the iCite net development blog
posted: Nov 11, 2003 3:58:58 PM
title: Semantic web, my last word?

Since I have been talking too much about this already, I thought I should declare my "last words" on the matter, and move on to some other topics. So, my last words are this:

Note: All comments and trackbacks are moderated. Spam is deleted. Other comments are approved as promptly as possible.

Note: Older posts no longer accept new comments or trackbacks.

« prev post
Ask Lutz is back: on Taxes, Cats and Footwear

» next post
Hack your worldview

blog newsfeeds

brief content:

 XML  ·  RSS  ·  RDF  ·  Atom 

full content:

 XML  ·  RSS  ·  RDF  ·  Atom 

blog archive

jan · feb · mar · apr
may · jun · jul · aug 
sep · oct · nov · dec
jan · feb · mar · apr
may · jun · jul · aug
sep · oct · nov · dec

jan · feb · mar · apr
may · jun · jul · aug
sep · oct · nov · dec

may · jun · jul · aug
sep · oct · nov · dec

first post: 
April 30, 2003

highlight views:
Spammers' Choice

Jay elsewhere online
Jay Fienberg - the official home page

Wrong Notes - the music blog of the Ear Reverends

Fine & Full, aka, a fine and full burger

Sociomobilepoetextologia (moblog, currently inactive due to lack of proper mobile)

to enjoy roll
sites I like to read when I start from here

· Anastasia Fuller
· Andy Baio
· Biz Stone
· Boris Mann
· Bre Pettis
· Chris Dent
· Danny Ayers
· Dare Obasanjo
· David Czarnecki
· David Weinberger
· Don Park
· Evan Williams
· Greg Narain
· Jason Kottke
· Jim Benson
· Lucas Gonze
· Marc Canter
· Matt May
· Matt Mullenweg
· Michal Migurski
· Nancy White
· Rebecca Blood
· Reg Cheramy
· Richard MacManus
· Sam Ruby
· Shelley Powers
· Tim Bray
· danah boyd

powered by blojsom

Entries by blojsim