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Thread: Google and other tech giants are happy to have control over the Web's metadata schemas, but they let its infrastructure languish.
Schema.org is a repository for Semantic Web/Linked Data types that many publishers (NYTimes, etc) and others used to annotate their web pages.
Its Github repository currently has 600 open issues and 15 pull requests, including two critical breaking issues just within the past week. github.com/schemaorg/sche… github.com/schemaorg/sche…
There have been multiple reports of reliability issues and downtime, including a Denial of Service attack. The problem here is that the web of Linked Data just isn’t when core schemas go down. lists.w3.org/Archives/Publi…
Many of those other 600 issues are requests to change something about the schemas themselves, something that myself as a non-ontologist engineer would consider a “bikeshed” type situation. Thus it is difficult for me to see how many legitimate technical problems the project has.
The leader of the project has acknowledged that having one repo and issue tracker is problematic, but there hasn’t been much change since last year when he wrote about it.
The project is run day-to-day by the Community Group. This image shows the distribution of commits by each contributor. The top 3 work at Google and a company called Data Liberate. Several other prominent contributors are associated with universities, especially in Europe.
This thread is not in any way criticizing these hard-working contributors. Rather, it is asking for the large companies that are supposed to be supporting this core piece of software to step up with more engineers and financial support.
Instead of the project’s current governance structure being a benefit, it is actually hindering efforts to build and maintain a reliable and user-friendly schema for the web.
If the Steering Group companies were more involved (besides just a few engineers), especially in the infrastructure, then it would be invaluable. It would free up independent contributors to work on the code or the schemas.
I can imagine Google’s SRE team doing a wonderful job of handling any DOS situations that might come up.
But as it stands, any changes to be made to the project (e.g. moving away from Google’s AppEngine platform, etc) would have to be approved, leaving the hundreds of individual contributors wary of bringing any meaningful change.
Schema.org offers a great benefit to the tech industry, and Google especially, allowing them to extract rich information for their search engine they might never otherwise get. I’m simply asking all members of the Steering group to either:
1. Be more involved and treat this piece of web infrastructure no different than any of their other production systems, or
2. Relinquish their position on the Steering Group and let true Semantic Web open source contributors take over the project.
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