core ontology

A core ontology is the absolute minimum set of terms that one must learn in order to work with some tool or web service.

It usually includes or implies:
• Classes/prototypes and properties/attributes
• Range and domain and operators across those
• Sub/super-classes (and properties that are polymorphic across them).


For instance to play rock, paper, scissors one must learn those terms, and which defeats which, and that simultaneous revealing of one's choice is required.

For chess, one must learn the names or symbols, moves, and initial starting positions of pieces.

While dedicated players insist that there is a lot more to learn, that there is a larger ontology to play the games well, the novice must focus on the core ontology and get it perfect before trying to invent new tactics - which will simply fail if they don't master the core.


There are two approaches to a core ontology of the World Wide Web: a strong web ontology has the usual requirements but to achieve more robust web services like a semantic web most efforts are too weak to describe resources in sufficient detail for any automatic process.

A core ontology of a language to define web services from a developers' point of view must be:
• "Compatible with existing Web standards (XML, RDF, RDFS)"
• "Easy to understand and use (based on common KR idioms)"
•"Formally specified and of “adequate” expressive power"
•"Possible to provide automated reasoning support"

The W3 ontology called OWL has been proposed as a core for this purpose.

The minimal approach is simply to use HTTP as the core and extend it with methods called Representational State Transfer. This is the approach preferred by openpolitics.ca itself via the living ontology.


As an ontology develops, new concerns will arise and become critical, and the core may expand. For instance, new rules were added to chess over its existence, probably those dealing with castling, pawn promotion, and initial pawn moves.

An active ontology, of which games are good examples, describe action primarily. A living ontology describes action rooted or situated in a particular environmental context, e.g. a bioregion, and doesn't try to extend beyond that border.

of openpolitics.ca itself

The core ontology of openpolitics.ca itself is the list of process terms. Until you have mastered that list and understand the distinctions implied, you are going to be constantly subject to regular editor scrutiny and correction. When you have understood it, and act accordingly, the naming conventions will be the next most difficult thing to master, but you can be corrected there without causing too much active confusion to other participants (which you would if you confused, for instance, "revert" and "delete").

The core ontology of open politics itself is being debated on a number of large public wikis including dkosopedia.com, dowire.org and sourcewatch.org and openpolitics.ca itself. These all focus on concerns in the Anglosphere as opposed to the whole developed world or the whole world. Accordingly they are very biased and the list of all issues will tend to skew towards spoiled-brat issues like the high price of gasoline, rather than reflecting the 2.8 billion who live on less than US$2/day whose concerns are rather more serious. A core ontology for all of open politics is an objective of the Efficient Civics Guild which maintains the living process terms in an attempt to find effective terms in which people can communicate across the gap.