April 07, 2004


Paul Ford has responded in an admirably reasonable and temperate way to my anti-Passivator screed. I sent him an email to "apologize for getting a bit carried away in criticizing The Passivator -- and especially for taking its flaws out on your semantic web work. That was the kind of Maureen Dowd moment that I ordinarily try to avoid or suppress." I'm impressed by Paul's grace under fire, and his responses about writing, indexing and the Semantic Web are well worth reading.

By the way, Paul mentions that "[he] can't find an email address on [my] website." I guess he means the Language Log site, which I freely admit could use some design improvement -- it's an aesthetically and functionally random evolution from a random initial selection of standard MovableType templates. Somewhere over in the right column of the main page, there is a list of "those posting here from time to time", which gives a home page link for each of us. On mine, my email address is prominently enough displayed for a very large number of spammers to have found it. My home page is also known to Google. But I imagine that flagging and retrieving contact information for weblog authors is something that the Semantic Web could help with, especially if there were some way to do this without making life even easier for would-be spammers.

Posted by Mark Liberman at April 7, 2004 07:30 AM