Re: SOAPs as URCs [was: HTTP Futures]

Ronald E. Daniel (
Fri, 2 Dec 1994 17:22:23 +0100

Hi Jared,

Thanks for including the URI wg in teh discussion since I don't read
www-talk anymore.

> I would note that the current URC scenario document has quite a different
> version of the SOAP vision. Further comments on that document should be
> coming to the URI wg list soon.

As primary author of the scenarios document I look forward to those
comments. I am not so sure that my vision of SOAPs differs drastically
from yours, perhaps I merely expressed it poorly in the scenarios
document. I certainly don't favor any sort of centralized SOAP
authority. If you get that impression from the scenarios document please
let me know because you shouldn't. To summarize my view of SOAPS:
1) Different organizations will review resources and if you
want to know an organization's opinion about a resource then you ask
them, and frequently you will have to pay to get their opinion.
2) If you have a URN for a resource and obtain the default URC for the
resource, you will not see all the SOAPs for the resource, you will only
see the ones that the publisher of the resource has seen fit to allow
to be included in the URC.

Here is what I think a SOAP will look like in the default URC of a resource,
assuming we adopt an SGML syntax:

<urn>resource's URN here</urn>, title, subject, location info deleted for brevity
<capsule>-10, offensive sexual content; offensive language; nudity</capsule>
<signature scheme="rsa">l;fjo4p;ine;roivherjhfgseufhw4oufhsdkhjgfb</signature>

A review element is a SOAP. It says who is doing the reviewing, by providing
a URN put out by the reviewing organization that talks about themselves.
It provides a quick rating using whatever scheme that reviewer adopts, -10..10
is OK by me for now, with flags for particular boogiemen. It has an optional
link to a full review (by giving its URN). Finally there is a digital
signature over that info so that the SOAP is difficult to forge.

It is quite possible that will include the PTA's negative
SOAPs in their URC server for a couple of reasons. Some customers will say
"show me the list of URNs that the PTA REALLY hates". Also,
they can say to the government that they are not contributing to the
deliquincy of minors since they clearly carry the PTA SOAP - what more
can they do - its up to parents and teachers to make sure browsers
are configured to not show material the PTA has deemed unsuitable.

But, is under NO obligation to include anyone's SOAPs. Similarly,
no publisher is required to provide any info they don't want to. That's what
the first amendment is all about. If you want to know what an organization
you trust thinks of a resource, you ask the trusted organization, not the
publisher of the resource.

Anyway, I look forward to your more detailed comments on the URC scenarios.
Will you be at the IETF? If so we can chat about things then.

Ron Daniel