[uf-discuss] XFN for email addresses?

Chris Messina chris.messina at gmail.com
Wed Jun 13 16:25:35 PDT 2007

On 6/13/07, Ryan King <ryan at technorati.com> wrote:
> On Jun 12, 2007, at 8:15 PM, Chris Messina wrote:
> > Clearly the biggest issue I see with this scheme is the inability to
> > link out *from* the email address. However, I'm not sure that this
> > case nullifies the utility of such links.
> And this is a quite large issue. It effectively removes the N in XFN.
> It's hard to build a network where some nodes can only by sinks[1].
> -ryan
> 1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degree_(graph_theory)#Sink

[Trying again....]

And while that is a valid concern to be noted, I don't think that it
precludes using non-URL based indicators as person identifiers.

I mean, I'm a huge proponent of OpenID and URLs for identity; at the
same time, that vision doesn't match with reality and I don't think
it's going to change immediately; therefore, XFN should not be able to
deal with the established convention even while things are (hopefully)
moving in the direction of URL-based identifiers.

In any case, consider mailing list subscriptions -- the fact that a
message is sent to the identifier (aka your email address) and you
respond by clicking a confirmation link proving that you can receive
messages sent to that email address is no different than Technorati's
current Javascript-based URL-claiming mechanism, whereby, instead of
clicking a link, you insert a script that Technorati expects to find
at the destination URL. The same argument can be made for IM links,
since a bot could ping you and ask you for some data that only you
would know, and if you're able to respond accurately, then you've
similarly proven "ownership" of that destination.


Chris Messina
Citizen Provocateur &
  Open Source Advocate-at-Large
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