how-to-play, community, tone (was Re: [uf-discuss] New wiki page summarily deleted)

Chris Messina chris.messina at
Sat Dec 9 18:22:21 PST 2006

On 12/9/06, Lucas Gonze <lucas.gonze at> wrote:
> On 12/9/06, Andy Mabbett <andy at> wrote:
> > In message <C1A05283.82431%tantek at>, Tantek Çelik
> > <tantek at> writes
> > >I think in general we can self-regulate, but I am now open to removing
> > >people who are consistently abusive from the list if necessary.
> >
> > Are you threatening me? Is that how you respond to criticism of your
> > apparently high- handed actions?
> Yes, Tantek was threatening you.  That's typical of life on
>  He is an aggressive and controlling guy, and the
> main other characters, the people who call themselves "moderators",
> follow his lead.  You have to accept being pushed around by these guys
> if you want to work on microformats.

Tantek is not a "controlling" guy other than when there are clearly
explained and regularly enforced principles that anyone could enforce,
just as Tantek does, in order to keep the list on target and not
spiraling out into multiple "theoretical endpoints" as many standards
lists have historically done.

We also have set and agreed to a mandate that, unlike other
standards-creating bodies, isn't about addressing every possible
use-case we can dream up, but only ones that are found in popular use
with plenty of a priori implementations *in the wild*.

If anything, the standards we espouse are simply the codification, and
conversion in to HTML, of existing human behavior, which makes us more
anthropologists than technologists (who are given to invention).

If Tantek seems controlling or heavy handed, it is because few others
have exhibited such a consistent dedication to the open process and
principles of our community. If it weren't for his tireless
enforcement of these guidelines, this community would have lost focus
a long time ago, developing a number of formats and specifications
that would never have seen adoption or implementation beyond a small,
marginal few, relegating the bulk of our work to the scrapheap of
standards history.

If we need hard decisions to be made from time to time in order to
advance our collective efforts and to continue promoting the
widespread adoption we've seen in the past year, so be it. And, should
those decisions be made, I would be happy to defer to those who share
and communicate the vision of microformats; who espouse the principles
that we've chosen to operate under; who contribute code, build
implementations and write documentation; those who are active in
positively contributing to the list, supporting those who are new as
well as those who have been here for a long time; and those who do not
pretend to speak for the community when in reality they only speak for

I, for one, do not want to see the politicization of this list and
want to reiterate that on the whole, the members of this list are an
intelligent, forward-thinking and open-minded fervent group of folks
looking to codify the building blocks of the future of the open web.
And anything that distracts us from that bigger picture is a threat to
our work and should be addressed in a way consistent with our values,
our historical behavior and in the interest of the list itself.


Chris Messina
Citizen Provocateur &
  Open Source Ambassador-at-Large
Cell: 412 225-1051
Skype: factoryjoe
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