[uf-discuss] Inline style conflict?

Chris Messina chris.messina at gmail.com
Sun Jan 14 17:06:09 PST 2007

I'm not sure about the degree to which Google actually uses meta tags
anymore, but if someone has a definitive reference to shed some light
on this, it might be useful from an anecdotal standpoint, only.

We know that most meta tags, being invisible to humans, have been
routinely spammed. We also know that search engines also have learned
to ignoe such behavior, in the case of ignoring text that's the same
color as the background or 1 or 2px tall. Both are efforts to overload
a page's relevance by including data that is effectively invisible to
humans but shows up in the computer-friendly data.

So, IMO, people can use invisible microformatted html all they want,
but in my advocacy with browser makers, it's likely that I will be
confronted by the view that only indivisible data will be considered
for microformat parsing -- that is, data who's calculated style is to
be visible to humans at the point of rendering, and that all other
data should be summarily ignored. This is safer, leads to less
encouragement to spammers and also reflects a consistent user
experience -- if the data can't be included on the selfsame page, for
whatever reason, point to a location where the data *does* exist (like
the venue hcards on Upcoming).

Communities can choose to parse hidden or concealed microformats as
they like -- in smaller, closed cases, this might even make sense. But
in terms of best practice or practice likely to be embraced by
safety-aware tools like browsers, expect that visible data will take

For now, though, we'll have to wait to see what support really looks
like, and what hidden dangers may lie in wait given their decisions.


On 1/13/07, Andy Mabbett <andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk> wrote:
> In message <E602E830-EDC6-4DB6-8FA7-326490A685E1 at westciv.com>, John
> Allsopp <john at westciv.com> writes
> >> **Why** is it considered harmful to hide elements?
> >
> >I think the fate of the meta element (unused by any search engine)
> Google uses <meta name="Description" [...] >
> --
> Andy Mabbett
>         <http://www.pigsonthewing.org.uk/uFsig/>
> _______________________________________________
> microformats-discuss mailing list
> microformats-discuss at microformats.org
> http://microformats.org/mailman/listinfo/microformats-discuss

Chris Messina
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