[uf-discuss] Hello / Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities (SIOC)

Tantek Ç elik tantek at cs.stanford.edu
Mon Nov 7 08:39:46 PST 2005


First of all, welcome to the list!  I'm looking forward to seeing you bring
your experience to bear on the questions and problems that the microformats
community is addressing.

Second, David's response is spot on.

One of the key principles of microformats is to design new formats primarily
around existing human behaviors, and by that we don't mean existing formats,

We mean existing content publishing behaviors, specifically, on the Web.

This is a *very* important distinction of microformats from nearly all other
format/standards design efforts out there, which tend to nearly always focus
first on abstract models, and only second on usage.

We've written the microformats process in such a way to direct folks along
the lines of those principles:


David has followed the process and done the necessary research regarding
blog posts:


And *only* then did he start looking at what existing formats could be
repurposed (either in part or whole):


When looking at formats, and which to reuse/repurpose, the microformats
community weighs very heavily on the side of formats which have been
interoperably adopted by the market by numerous tools, applications,
services etc.  Hence vCard for hCard, iCalendar for hCalendar, and now,
based on the research and analysis, Atom for hAtom:


(Sidenote: On the other hand, formats which have very little or no adoption
are *almost* completely ignored by microformats, and deliberately so.  Such
abstract/theoretical formats may be used for conceptual research (e.g. in
the *-formats page), and when naming properties etc. in a microformat, but
that's about it.)

David's last point about adapting into existing weblogs rather than being
overly prescriptive is also an essential key difference of microformats.

Microformats are designed to work with existing content publishing on the
Web, rather than asking everyone to learn a new language/file-format etc.
and/or publish additional "silo-files".



On 11/7/05 7:45 AM, "David Janes -- BlogMatrix" <davidjanes at blogmatrix.com>

> Hi John,
> You may want to have a look at the work we've done on hAtom [1], a
> microformat (in the progess of being developed) for describing blog
> posts and other content which can be syndicated.
> Following the microformat philosophy, we've derived most of our
> terminology from an existing well specified source, namable Atom [2].
> Thus, we talk about Entrys [3] rather than Posts, Feeds rather than
> Forums, Entry Authors rather than User acting in a Role; obviously and
> fortunately, there appears to be a relatively straight forward translation.
> Also following the microformat philosophy, we're going to encourage use
> of <blockquote> and <q> with the "cite" attribute [4] to refer to
> "linked discussions" from other weblogs. Because hAtom strongly defines
> the concept "bookmark" [5] -- the best URI for a post -- discovering
> matches between posts for threading purposes is a matter of byte
> comparisons.
> hAtom is designed to slot into existing weblogs rather than be overly
> prescriptive on how weblogs and their entries need be structured,
> especially from a presentation point of view. This is backed by a
> moderately comprehensive survey of blog posts (forum entries and media
> pages) as they've been done in the wild [6][7].
> Regards, etc...
> David Janes
> http://www.blogmatrix.com
> [1] http://microformats.org/wiki/hatom
> [2] http://atomenabled.org/
> [3] I know how to spell, really!
> [4] http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/struct/text.html#h-9.2.2
> [5] http://microformats.org/wiki/hatom#Entry_Permalink
> [6] http://microformats.org/wiki/blog-post-examples
> [7] http://microformats.org/wiki/blog-post-brainstorming
> John Breslin wrote:
>> Hi all -
>> I've just joined the list.  My name is John and I'm a researcher in the
>> area of the Semantic Web and social software in DERI Galway, Ireland.
>> I met Ryan King in July, and talked about our SIOC
>> (Semantically-Interconnected Online Communities) project and connections
>> to Microformats.  Basically, what SIOC is is an open specification for
>> describing communities using online discussion forums or blogs, leading
>> to what some may term "distributed conversations".  At the moment,
>> online communities are islands that are not interlinked, and the SIOC
>> ontology has been proposed to not only link these communities but to
>> leverage data in ways that were previously unknown.
>> I'd be interested in hearing how you think SIOC could be represented
>> using new / existing Microformats.  For example, I think using
>> rel="sioc:reply_of/has_reply" (similar to the rel="tag" from Technorati)
>> in HTML would be a useful way to connect discussion posts between blogs,
>> forums, mailing lists etc. as trackbacks at the moment are often not
>> explicitly defined in both directions and are also limited to blogs.
>> Another example is that using rel="sioc:has_container" in posts would be
>> a useful way to create a distributed discussion channel across existing
>> discussion media.
>> The initial version of our SIOC specification has been drafted.  It can
>> be used in on its own (having a complete set of terms) or in conjunction
>> with other RDF formats such as RSS 1.  In terms of producing metadata,
>> we've started with SIOC exporters for open-source discussion systems
>> such as WordPress and Drupal / CivicSpace, and more are on the way.
>> We're also currently engaged in better aligning SIOC with FOAF (Hi
>> danbri!) as there are some redundant / duplicate terms in SIOC.
>> More info is available from:
>> http://rdfs.org/sioc/
>> While there are many (useful) classes and properties in SIOC, it can
>> essentially be boiled down to: Users create Posts that are contained in
>> Forums that are hosted on Sites, e.g.
>>   Site -> host_of -> Forum -> container_of -> Post -> has_creator -> User
>> Posts have reply Posts, and Forums can be parents of other Forums.
>> Looking forward to your feedback,
>> Thanks,
>> John.
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