[uf-discuss] Re: eRDF/RDFa etc. - still off-topic for the same reasons

Evan Prodromou evan at prodromou.name
Thu Jun 1 07:30:28 PDT 2006

On Wed, 2006-31-05 at 11:20 -0700, Tantek Çelik wrote:

> In short, even bothering discussing RDFA is NOT a productive use of time for
> microformats community.  That's how broken it is (and the principles /
> assumptions behind it).  Some reasons are outlined in my previous email.


I think you've mistaken the point of these discussions; they're not
about the technical details of such-and-such RDF-in-XHTML initiative,
but about the future of microformats. I don't think that subject should
be off-topic on the microformats-discuss list.

Starting now, and increasing through 2006, you, Tantek Çelik, have to
deal with the question, "Should implementers use RDFa or microformats?"
You have a couple of options as to how to answer that.

One strategy is to position microformats as technically superior,
useful in the "real world", and more established. All of those are true,
but I think there's a significant value to that W3C watermark in the
upper-left corner of the page for many implementers. It's not going to
be an easy fight, and it's going to be divisive and wasteful of
everyone's energy and attention.

Another option is to suggest that the two efforts aren't competing or
that they're fulfilling different needs. This rings as disingenuous in
my ears, and I think it's obvious to anyone who looks at the examples in
the RDFa primer (vcard and ical!) that both efforts are aimed at the
same applications.

I think the best strategy is to unask the question. Here's the answer
that would give me and other implementers a warm fuzzy feeling: 

        "Microformats.org is working with the W3C to make sure that
        microformats implementations will be upward compatible with
        future semantic XHTML standards. We'll make sure that
        implementers today will be able to comply with future official
        standards with a minimum of effort."

When people ask, "Which of these should I implement?" they're not
asking, "Which of these is _better_?" That's a moot point. In a perfect
technology world, what's better would always be what people should
implement, but that's not the world we work in. If you ask the first
question and someone answers the second, it sounds like they're either
stupid or not listening.

You've done a great job promoting microformats and stimulating interest
in semantic HTML. I think there's a new challenge in these RDF-in-XHTML
proposals, but I think it's important that you see that the challenge is
not a technical but an organizational and public relations one.

I realize that it's really distasteful to you, but I think you've got
the ability to deal with it well, and a great group of people working
with you who can help out a lot.


Evan Prodromou <evan at prodromou.name>

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