Vote on this: rel="me self" to indicate an authoritative hCard{was: Re: [uf-discuss] Authoritative hCards [was RE: CanonicalhCards (was: Search on CSS element)]}

Joe Andrieu joe at
Wed Jan 31 07:52:18 PST 2007

Ara Pehlivanian wrote:
> Just to stir the pot a little, and maybe it's a good idea to 
> consider authenticity in the whole discussion of 
> authoritative cards. What guarantees that when someone 
> creates an hCard and puts rel="me self" that they are giving 
> the correct URL and that it isn't someone impersonating you?
> Would this be the place for a correlating hash to be included 
> in the hCard that the authoritative one has (which only the 
> owner can modify)?


The concept behind an "authoritative" hCard rather than "definitive" or
"canonical" one was that "authoritative" would explicitly be a /claim/
by the author of the hCard regarding its authority in describing the
subject of the hCard, i.e., use /this/ hCard as the one true source of
this individual's contact information.

The possibility for someone to impersonate another is a problem much
greater than the semantic html we use. Authentication and validation of
assertions ends up outside the scope of microformats, IMO. The
infrastructure simply isn't in place to guarantee /any/ semantic
information found online.  

Note also, the possibility for "authoritative" hCards to simply fall out
of date is a huge problem.  I for one, no longer have access to my
college account, but for years an old home page of mine would show up at
Google with suitably humorous results when colleagues and clients
discovered it.  It is easy to see how any hCard that I would have marked
as "authoritative" on that page could still be out in the wild, despite
it no longer being accurate and independent of my inability to correct

So, the inaccuracy of an hCard is its own challenge, whether from
impersonation, poor maintenance, or simply typos. But I think we can
create value by agreeing on a mechanism for expressing the concept of an
authoritative hCard.  Services will simply have to accept that
"authoritative" is a claim and could be invalid for any number of


Joe Andrieu
joe at
+1 (805) 705-8651

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