[uf-discuss] human readable date parsing

Tantek Ç elik tantek at cs.stanford.edu
Fri May 4 07:53:33 PDT 2007

(apologies for top posting but this is in response to Al's entire message,
not to any specific point in particular)


VERY well written.  That's perhaps the clearest explanation I have seen of
why it is important to have visible information, even somewhat visible
rather than invisible.

May I quote what you wrote in part or in full on microformats wiki?



On 5/3/07 6:18 PM, "Al Gilman" <Alfred.S.Gilman at ieee.org> wrote:

> At 12:24 AM +0100 4 05 2007, Patrick H. Lauke wrote:
>> Tantek Çelik wrote:
>>> 2. Keep both copies of the data at least somewhat visible to humans so that
>>> at least *some* human eyes/ears can easily inspect both copies and ensure
>>> that they have not diverged.
>> For the sake of argument, though: assuming that those human
>> eyes/ears use a microformat-consuming tool/extension/etc, this can
>> still happen. If I have a page with, say, contact details marked as
>> a hcard, and human users export it to Outlook,  they'll be able to
>> see (and ensure) whether or not the generated vcard details in the
>> "add to address book" dialog match the page's visible details or not.
>> After all, isn't that what microformats are there for? Being
>> consumed by "machines" that can make something useful with them?
> Almost.
> They are there so that people and machines can share info.
> If the machineable info is not routinely passing through the
> consciousness of the communicating principals (that is, people), then
> it must be expected that the machine and the person will frequently
> have different values for the same datum. Not a good thing.
> The old saw is, "out of sight, out of mind."  In this case it is "use
> it or lose it (it's validity)" for data.
> Microformats are to eliminate the mumbo-jumbo quality of the data
> the machines deal with; rather to give them the same many-eyeballs
> 'bazaar' checking support as the virally-maintained meanings of plain
> English (Chinese, Arabic or what have you...).
> That's a little overstated, but the devil is in the details.
> If in some community of communication, the data is routinely
> extracted into view often enough so that bad data tend to get weeded
> out, then the storage or transmission form doesn't have to be
> directly comprehensible by people. But one of the virtues of markup
> languages is just how much of the info is directly under the quality
> control of people; expressed in as little-encoded form as can be
> gotten away with.
> Al

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