It's been nearly a week since Clay's posting. It's with some weariness that I began reading this response, but it was well worth it. Paul Ford has been a long time supporter of the Semantic Web.
A Response to Clay Shirky's “The Semantic Web, Syllogism, and Worldview” "But logical reasoning does work well in the real world—it's just not identified as such, because it often appears in mundane places, like library card catalogs and book indices, and because we've been trained to automatically deduce certain assumptions from signifiers which do not much represent the (S,P,O) form."
"I am a writer by avocation and trade, and I am finding real pleasure in using Semantic Web technologies to mark up my ideas, creating pages that link together. What I do is not math done with words. It's links done with semantics, and it forces me to think in new ways about the things I'm writing."
"For every quote he presents that shows the Semantic Web community as glassy-eyed, out-of-touch individuals suffering from “cluelessness,” I could give a list of many other individuals doing work that is relevant to real-world issues, who have pinned their successful careers on the concepts of the Semantic Web, sometimes because they feel it is going to be the next big thing, but also because of sheer intellectual excitement...My money's on them. They know what they're talking about, and aren't afraid to admit what they don't know."
The best is definately last:
"Postscript: on December 1, on this site, I'll describe a site I've built for a major national magazine of literature, politics, and culture. The site is built entirely on a primitive, but useful, Semantic Web framework, and I'll explain why using this framework was in the best interests of both the magazine and the readers, and how its code base allows it to re-use content in hundreds of interesting ways."
The Semantic Web looks to become a little bigger and a little better.