[uf-discuss] meeting minutes: microformats needed?

brush brush at tryonfarm.org
Wed May 3 03:29:58 PDT 2006

hello all,

i have been perusing the wiki and related material recently with great

as a very brief introduction, i am involved in developing processes and 
relationships to facilitate decentralized organization of a social 
economy, or "open source" economy if you will, here in portland, or.  my
orientation to virtual tools to that end is to maximize smooth
emergence and functioning of real-world networks and communities.

i have been needing, then thinking about, and now working on a solution
to a relatively large source of unnecessarily "wasted" labor: meeting 
minutes that are duly typed up (and sometimes posted to the web), but 
with no semantic content.

meetings, for many organizations, are a deep source of meaning and
structure.  most particularly: decisions from meetings form the backbone
of an organization's history and memory (not mention legal process), and
action items from meetings (especially in less hierarchical
organizations) often form the core mechanism of delegating collaborative
labor and ensuring follow-through.

properly marked-up meeting minutes would allow a fairly simple web app
to automatically notify interested parties of relevant decisions
(including in "proposal" form), to add "to-do" items to personal lists, 
and to provide archives that could be transected and analyzed in a great 
many ways more valuable than all existing archives i've discovered so 

i have not discovered a microformat, or indeed any existing schema
(help me on this one, i'm sure i'm missing something), that addresses
this opportunity.

my sense is that it could be as follows:

* hminutes root format
-hcalendar for meeting location, time, description, etc.
-hcard for organization -- maybe new class for "department"?
*new microformat?: hparticipants (multiple hcards plus class="role") 
  -- could be useful in many other circumstances
-then multiple "content" items
  -could include "hchat" or whatever for transcripts
  -or "discussion" for general summaries of discussion items
  but specifically:
  *hdecision: include decision-type (ie. robert's rules, consensus,
    supermajority, etc.), potentially what the votes were (hparticipants
    with particular roles?), tagged subject matter, and result (approved, 
    denied, proposed, tabled, sent to committee).
  *htask: hparticipants for who, tagged subject, dtdeadline (or
    reportback ;) -- maybe percent complete?, parent task somehow?
    (obviously, this should also work for project mgmt in general)

[hdecision and htask could be standalone root formats -- some decisions
come without meetings, and also, alas, do tasks.]
what do folk think?  is there something like this out there already?  i
know it's a bit of a big hunk to chew for microformats, but the potential
is enormous: imagine if all your various meetings were reported in
hminutes rss streams, that were automatically funneled into your to-do
lists and important decisions flagged for attention and review?
reminders and all.  ;)

i would like to implement something on this standard for our organizing
efforts here, fairly soon.  would much prefer to be with feedback and in
direction of open standards.  should i wiki?

thanks, and blessings.

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