Scott Wilson takes us on a fascinating romp through a variety of technologies to see whether they offer "a way of constructing and sharing context." None of them really does the job, he writes, though FOAF groups stands the best chance. Tom Hoffman interprets this as a technology problem, arguing in essence that RDF would do the job nicely. I see it more as a definitional problem. Wilson writes, "to enable a distributed conversation of any kind to take place requires an agreement of context among participants - that is, we have to have a way of knowing whether something is part of the conversation or not." Thus, he sees it as a boundary problem. But I don't accept that contention - why does there need to be agreement on what counts as part of the conversation? I see it as a linkinmg problem - if we can create links between one resource and the next, we can each of us construct our own version of the conversation, based on our own point of view. Can you have referencing without RDF? I think so; Hoffman, maybe less so.
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