[uf-discuss] Very basic question that is not in the FAQ

Tantek Ç elik tantek at cs.stanford.edu
Thu Jun 22 07:46:46 PDT 2006

On 6/22/06 7:09 AM, "Scott Reynen" <scott at randomchaos.com> wrote:

> On Jun 22, 2006, at 8:32 AM, Tantek Çelik wrote:
>> Sam points out that I am employed by Technorati and implies that
>> poses some
>> sort of conflict or corporate bias.  I'll challenge you on that
>> Sam, because
>> the (by design deliberate) policies of having open email/IRC/wiki with
>> archives actually serve to make microformats.org *more* transparent
>> and
>> accountable than *any* other standards effort (I challenge you to
>> find one
>> with more open policies) no matter *who* is involved or what
>> connections
>> they may have, and second, enable *anyone* with email/IRC/web
>> access to
>> participate without having to pay *thousands* of dollars per year
>> to join a
>> consortium or committee.  In that latter sense, microformats.org is
>> actually
>> *less* corporate (despite your implication) than other standards
>> bodies
>> which require paid membership to take part in (very often secret)
>> discussions which actually write the standards, and in some cases,
>> even just
>> the *test suites*.
> Nonetheless, people maintain a mistrust of large corporations,

I can certainly relate to that :)

Note: FWIW Technorati is a startup of about 30 people.[1]  Not a "large
corporation" by any measure I know of.  If we happen to succeed, perhaps we
might grow into a large corporation, but we're not there yet.

> and  
> Technorati's ties to microformats.org are more obvious than the
> various corporate connections to the W3C.

More open/transparent = more obvious.  Things being more obvious are a good

> It may not be a valid
> concern, but it is definitely a real concern that continues to hamper
> microformat adoption.

Hamper compared to what?

With all due respect Scott, if you consider the current adoption rate of
microformats to be "hampered", I would be curious to know what your
expectations are.

> I'd suggest that challenging such people to
> validate their concern is not the best way to address this issue.

I happen to disagree.  Otherwise such concerns frankly amount to FUD (fear,
uncertainty, doubt) and a waste of everyone's time.  If there is a real
concern or problem, let's talk about it, otherwise, let's cut out the noise
and get things done.

Confronting and challenging FUD is the best way to deal with it.

> Sure, Technorati should be presumed benign until there is evidence to
> the contrary, but unfortunately that's not how such perceptions work
> in the real world.

I expect you and everyone else in the microformats community to hold
Technorati and all other corporations involved with microformats to the
highest of standards.  I expect nothing less.

>> The point here is that microformats.org, as a community was
>> designed to be
>> open and accessible to independent designers and developers, and
>> puts them
>> on equal footing with small and large companies alike.
> And it has largely succeeded in being all of those things, but that
> doesn't have much effect on how people unfamiliar with the history
> perceive the relationship between Technorati, the microformats
> community, and also the GMPG.

Frankly, I am not that worried about such perceptions.

The community's open archives and achievements speak for themselves.

How we treat new people unfamiliar with the history when they join the
community speaks much more loudly than any random perceptions.  The history
is partially documented by the presentations[2] and press pages[3],
documenting the history[4] is a matter of doing some more merging and
braindumping from the individuals involved early on.  We could certainly use
some help there.

>> And to correct Sam's implications further, Technorati does not own
>> microformats.org
> Who does?

Rohit Khare registered the domain himself personally, and Commercenet is
graciously hosting the servers as a community contribution.

> As a side note, does anyone know anything about wwwmicroformats.org?

It didn't load for me.

> Is that just typo domain squatting?

No idea.  There is http://microformat.org/ which has no association with
microformats.org except that it claimes to be a "service to make it easier
to blog with microformats. (Coming Soon)"



[1] http://technorati.com/about/staff.html  (with hCards of naturally ;)
[2] http://microformats.org/wiki/presentations
[3] http://microformats.org/wiki/press
[4] http://microformats.org/wiki/history

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