[uf-discuss] Visible Data...a Microformat requirement?

Mike Schinkel mikeschinkel at gmail.com
Mon Oct 23 01:11:53 PDT 2006

>> Then it is not worth trusting the information nor worth the time making a
microformat for it.

Respectfully, I disagree.  I'm also a bit allergic to statements asserting
the absoluteness of a concept especially when it is *harder* to prove there
is not a needle in a haystack than it is to find one in the haystack if it
is known to be there; itself a very difficult task.

There can be drivers that can encourage people to maintain information even
if not the content is not visible; to achieve a higher search engine ranking
could be a good example. I've been very attracted to Microformats because
them as being able to solve many problems I've identified.  Just a point of
note but if I can't use Microformat for them, then that just means the need
for another initiative that can solve those problems.  I hope that won't be

BTW, I'm not saying there would not be value in making such information
visible, I just didn't want to assume it would be a requirement.

Let me go ahead and give you a hypothetical example (I have had the exact
problem in the past, so it is a real problem, it's just that explain in
hypotheical requires less background explanation):


Both those URLs are different and have different "bread crumbs" but
otherwise the same content.  Search engines do not *know* they are the same,
but may determine they are similar enough that it will only include one of
the URLs in it's index (Google frequently did this to us at VBxtras &
Xtras.Net back when there were two sites.)  However, the search engines may
choose to include the page from "software-info.org" when I'd rather have him
include the page from "wiki-info.org" or vice-versa.  So, I would like to be
able to define in the "software-info.org" page that the wiki-info.org page
is "content-duplicate" and "authoritative" over the existing page.
Microformats seem perfect for this, but I can see where website owners may
not want to make this type of information visible.

So, what if your take on this problem and use-case?

>> It doesn't matter how many you may have in mind.
>> The question remains - have you tried using *just* the existing
microformats to at least add some more semantics to your pages?

I'm confused. I have numerous use-cases where have a microformat would
either solve problems or create infrastructure to empower solutions that
currently cannot exist. How does my using existing microformat for use-cases
I don't currently have specific need for have any relevence?  Respectfully
speaking, that is like asking the guy who comes to you needing a wrench if
he has tried using a screwdriver yet for other needs (which he may not
currently have.)

P.S. I'm coming to this working group with a entire series of problems that
I experienced trying to run Xtras.Net as well as things I wanted to
implement but couldn't because the infrastructure didn't exist. When I ran
Xtras.Net I often tried to use technology to solve business problems. That's
the perspective with which I come to this, not being just a technologist and
thinking "wouldn't if be cool if...?" but instead a technically-saavy
business person envisioning things that could empower solutions with a keen
eye towards what will actually be used (because if it won't be used, it
won't be beneficial.)

-----Original Message-----
From: microformats-discuss-bounces at microformats.org
[mailto:microformats-discuss-bounces at microformats.org] On Behalf Of Tantek Ç
Sent: Monday, October 23, 2006 3:25 AM
To: microformats-discuss
Subject: Re: [uf-discuss] Visible Data...a Microformat requirement?

On 10/23/06 12:11 AM, "Mike Schinkel" <mikeschinkel at gmail.com> wrote:

>>> If it is not worth or appropriate to make the information visible, 
>>> then it is not worth trusting the information and certainly not 
>>> worth the time to make a microformat for it.
> But what if the website publisher (or graphic designer) does not want 
> that information to be visible on the page?

Then it is not worth trusting the information nor worth the time making a
microformat for it.

> Some may, but other's may not. I'm
> trying to follow the principle that Microformats should not require 
> the user to really "change" anything beyond adding Microformat

That's right.

> If they don't currently display this metadata, are you saying that a 
> Microformat should force them to do so?

No, I am saying that the microformat shouldn't bother representing it.

Keep microformats as simple and as minimal as possible.

That means invisible data and properties are left out of microformats.

>>> Have you tried using as many existing microformats as you can on 
>>> your current sites?
> Ohhhh Yeah!  I've been combing through even Microformat you have 
> listed and reading each in-depth.  Sad to say, but I've probaby got 
> more than twice as many in mind as you currently have listed...

It doesn't matter how many you may have in mind.

The question remains - have you tried using *just* the existing microformats
to at least add some more semantics to your pages?

> But I don't want to propose
> anything until I've got time to flesh them out otherwise I'll be in a 
> bloodbath of trying to justify them before I've done all the required 
> research.

By using existing microformats first, you will better understand what may
need to be created.

Postpone proposing any microformats until you have first made use of
existing ones.



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