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Added a couple of paragraphs on global vs local coherence.

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danbri committed Jun 25, 2018
1 parent 72f3fc6 commit b2c1fb41734633cc1d67c8cbcef2b0bd60bb22a0
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  1. +6 −0 README.md
@@ -29,6 +29,12 @@ and we are most likely to add new schemas when there is evidence that some large
Note that Schema.org does *not* attempt to capture the full detail of Web content; it is necessarily a simplification of a more complex reality. This means that there will be many cases where adding more detail to Schema.org will look possible. However, in the interests of keeping Schema.org simple and usable for publishers and webmasters, we will often choose not to add such detail. Schema.org uses Web standards such as JSON-LD, Microdata and RDFa to
allow for [independent extension](http://schema.org/docs/extension.html) (for example, see [GS1's vocabulary](http://gs1.org/voc)).

We are also highly unlikely to take on large scale reorganizations of Schema.org's terminology, if they are motivated solely by considerations of elegance, "proper modeling", ontologicial purity or conceptual unification. Although the project founders and team are familiar with - and respectful of - the traditions behind such concerns, the scale, scope and nature of Schema.org has required us to trade elegance and global consistency for a somewhat scruffier notion of incremental evolution and a pragmatic tolerance for a style that would be out of place in a more topically focussed ontology designed for expert use. Proposals for unifying, cross-domain logic-based knowledge structures may be better received e.g. in the [Ontolog](https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/ontolog-forum) community.

We sometimes introduce types without dedicated property associations, simply for markup usability reasons. In a formal ontology, this is often considered poor modeling. However, logically equivalent structures can result in many more errors from publishers/webmasters unfamiliar with the underlying formal concepts behind JSON-LD or RDF/S. Schema.org is not a closed system, and other initiatives e.g. Wikidata or [GS1](http://gs1.org/voc/) have defined many other terms that can be mixed in alongside those we define at schema.org. We also make efforts to align our designs to relevant external standards and initiatives, even when it reduces the global elegance of Schema.org considered alone. For example in a bibliographic or cultural heritage we be influenced by initiatives like MARC, BibFrame, and FRBR, while for e-commerce we collaborated with [Good Relations](http://blog.schema.org/2012/11/good-relations-and-schemaorg.html). In a News setting, Schema.org's [news](https://schema.org/docs/news.html)-related terms were heavily influenced by incorporating [IPTC's rNews](https://iptc.org/standards/rnews/) design, alongside collaborations with [fact checkers](https://courses.poynter.org/courses/course-v1:newsu+nwsu_ClaimReview2017+2017_1/about), the [Trust Project](https://thetrustproject.org/), and others. Our TV and Music related vocabularies are heavily influenced by working with the [BBC and the European Broadcasting Union](https://www.bbc.co.uk/ontologies/po), alongside [the Music ontology](http://musicontology.com/docs/getting-started.html) and [MusicBrainz](https://musicbrainz.org/doc/LinkedBrainz/RDF); our schemas reflect these prior designs. We prefer to collaborate in this way, improving Schema.org incrementally and working to polish, integrate and blend such designs rather than produce our own pure model in isolation. The result may lack global elegance but brings our work into alignment with related efforts worldwide.

We always welcome issues that track usability and readability issues, but encourage a focus on concrete situations (e.g. how to describe repeating events) rather than global philosophical concerns (e.g. whether a Reservation or Action is "really" an Event). We prioritize local coherence (having sensible ways to describe many common situations) over global elegance (having a global theory in which everything has a sensible place). This doesn't mean we never have cleanups, but they are balanced (and often outweighed) against other considerations.

* Suggestions for improvements are always welcome here - please search for older discussions (including closed issues) before opening a new issue.
* We particularly value improvements to existing definitions, examples and text, to clarify how schema.org vocabulary is used in practice.
* Please don't be surprised or offended if you raise an issue proposing new schemas and it is marked by the project team as "[noted](https://github.com/schemaorg/schemaorg/issues?q=is%3Aissue+label%3A%22Closed+and+Noted+%28and+possibly+Queued%29%22+is%3Aclosed)" then closed. We have 100s of issues discussing possible improvements, and to keep things manageable we adopt the convention of noting then closing issues that are not likely to be immediately explored.

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