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

Eric A. Meyer eric at meyerweb.com
Thu Jun 22 08:21:20 PDT 2006

At 1:13 PM +0100 6/22/06, Sam Sethi wrote:

>My take on it is this - Tantek and others started this idea but as it grows
>up (its 1 years old) it should be handed over to some standards body.
>Tantek due to his commercial connection with Technorati - IMHO - should
>divest ownership of Microformats.org to the W3C or some other body.  My only
>concern is that this may kill the speed and agility of MF's just as they
>gain traction.

    I have to disagree with the idea of turning this over to a 
standards body, because I agree with your concern over strangulation. 
The fastest way to kill microformats is to yoke it with a formalized 
process like those of the W3C, IETF, etc.
    The original poster asked "who controls microformats" and the 
answer is "the microformats community does".  Tantek made a number of 
excellent points during his talk at @media, the audio for which I 
hope will be available soon.  If I may be permitted to attempt a poor 

    * The community collectively determines whether a given 
microformat is accepted or not, simply by whether a given microformat 
is accepted into wide use or not.
    * This works because the goal of a 'standard' (in the de facto 
sense) is to interoprate with others.  If your proposal isn't 
accepted by others, then it won't interoperate; ergo, an active 
community acts as its own review process and therefore its own 
standards body.

    This is decentralized standardization, which some would argue is 
the only kind that has any prayer of working over the long haul 
anyway.  It's certainly lead to a great deal more movement and 
innovation than I've seen in any formalized standards body in the 
last decade or so.
    Of course, if a given microformat becomes so widely adopted that 
it's become a de facto standard, then that is a time when it might be 
submitted to an external body (W3C, IETF, etc.) for de jure 
standardization.  But that would be done on an individual basis, not 
for microformats as a whole-- if such a thing were even possible.

Eric A. Meyer  (eric at meyerweb.com)
Principal, Complex Spiral Consulting   http://complexspiral.com/
"CSS: The Definitive Guide," "CSS2.0 Programmer's Reference,"
"Eric Meyer on CSS," and more    http://meyerweb.com/eric/books/

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