[Mediawiki-l] SMW for FOAF building

Bruce Whealton bwhealton at futurewavedesigns.com
Fri Oct 22 04:40:29 UTC 2010

Hello all,
             Someone recently suggested I see if this idea has been
considered and developed yet.  I had the idea of using the mediawiki
platform as an easy to use way of creating FOAF (the Friend of a Friend
vocabulary) files or FOAF information.  Then I discovered the use of SMW for
genealogy sites and thought there is definitely potential here for such an
            However, there are a couple problems I see and so if someone has
already addressed this application then please let me know of if you just
have ideas that might help make this work...
        First, one can have 10s, 100s or more people that you know or to
whom you are connected.  On a MW site you could have an article for your
"network" or your "foaf" connections.  Now, if you use forms this becomes
very unwieldy to accommodate tens of hundreds of friends or people you know.
I'm thinking of the use of SMW forms.  So, you'd have a field for the name
of your friend or the person you know, a field for the type of relationship,
met, friend, or just someone you know and a field to connect to their foaf
file or just some website that is connected to them.
          That is at least 3 fields times the number of
friends/acquaintances.  That is quite a long form.  Yet, somehow sites like
LinkedIn accommodate these large numbers of connections.
          I was thinking of this in terms of the use of SMW for genealogy,
specifically on wikia.com.  In that scenario, we have an article about me,
for example, and I'd list my father, and on his page, I'd list his father.
I am not directly connected to my grandfather in this scenario but it is
conceivable to create or produce a list of descendents of Bruce Whealton
          This doesn't translate exactly to a FOAF example.  Assume I am
person A.  I know person B.  Person B knows person C.  It cannot be inferred
that I know person C.  Unlike in the genealogy example where if my
grandfather is a descendent of my father he is a descendent of me.  So, it
isn't exactly clear how one might automate a process for making the correct
inferences about who I know... and it doesn't seem feasible or appropriate
to list on my article page every single friend/acquaintance.  If I had 100
friends, and 3 fields are needed per friend, then I need a form with 100
times 3 fields to accommodate that.  
      Maybe we use categories.  So, while not automated, I would go to my
friend's article page and add a category of Bruce Whealton FOAF, though that
doesn't describe the relationship, i.e. friend, acquaintance, family, etc.
Any thoughts on this?

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