[uf-discuss] Microformats: working group vs. meme

Mark Murphy mmurphy at municorps.org
Tue Dec 12 05:38:26 PST 2006

Mike Schinkel wrote:
 > I don't care what we call them: "techniques" or "Microformats" or
 > anything else for that matter.  All I care is that we get a simple
 > disambiguation strategy included in the recommendation.

Two cents from the peanut gallery...

I think what Mr. Schinkel and Mr. Mabbett are running into is the 
apparent schism between microformats-as-working-group and 

Microformats.org specifies a process plus a scope delimiter ("paving the 
cow paths") which are perfectly reasonable for a working group. In fact, 
in many ways, they're exemplary. However, they are more or less 
orthogonal to the microformats meme as expressed on the microformats.org 
home page:

"Designed for humans first and machines second, microformats are a set 
of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted 

After all, one can use the microformats.org design techniques and not 
pave a cow path. The fact that people are doing this, and are expressly 
tipping their cap to microformats.org, suggests that there's a meme 
taking root, and people are trying to apply the "microformats" label to 
that meme.

So, when Mr. Mabbett added unAPI references to the wiki, he was 
(presumably) doing so to document a use of the meme; that page was then 
deleted (presumably) because it wasn't documenting an action of the 
working group.

 From my extremely humble vantage point, I can see three main paths for 
microformats.org to choose from:

-- Embrace microformats-as-meme. That implies that the working group 
(i.e., those that follow the process outlined on the wiki) is defining 
"official microformats" or some such, and that there also are resources 
available to folk to discuss and link to things that follow 
microformats-as-meme but are not within the working group's scope. This 
could be as simple as a separate mailing list and wiki (or set of pages 
on the existing wiki).

-- Limit microformats.org to only those things that follow the process. 
In this case, somebody will eventually try to fork the meme, as there 
will be those who want to do microformats-esque things that don't fit 
the working group, and those microformats-esque things need a name 
that's cleaner than "microformats-esque".

-- A hybrid: microformats.org helps orchestrate the forking of the meme. 
Basically, work with those doing microformats-esque work to come up with 
an alternative term and site for the meme, then point people to the meme 
when they come up with ideas that fit the meme but not the process or 
scope of microformats.org.

Forgive me if I spoke out of turn or have incorrectly identified the 
intentions of anyone...

Mark Murphy
mmurphy at municorps.org

More information about the microformats-discuss mailing list