[uf-discuss] Proposal: hArgument Microformat

Costello, Roger L. costello at mitre.org
Sun May 20 14:37:56 PDT 2007

Hi Folks,
Michael Crichton says: "The greatest challenge facing mankind is the
challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from
propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to
mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the
disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance." 
One of the keys to distinguishing information from disinformation is to
have a clear understanding of the assumptions an author is making.
Typically, it takes a great deal of effort to distill an author's
assumptions.  Bring clearly to light the assumptions being made would
go a long way towards facilitating a web of trust.

I propose an hArgument Microformat with two properties:

   assumption (repeatable): a statement of what the author assumes to
be true, 
       and upon which his/her conclusion follows. [If it can be
demonstrated that
       the assumption is false, then the conclusion is invalid]

   conclusion (repeatable): a statement that derives from the

Example: below is an example of an argument.  The argument can be
immediately discredited because the assumptions can be shown to be

<p class="hArgument">

   <span class="assumption">Microformats are a disruptive

   <span class="assumption">Microformats are attempting to supplant XML

       documents with HTML and XHTML documents</span>

   <span class="assumption">The main benefit of Microformats is that it

       allows graceful degradation</span>

   <span class="conclusion">Microformats go too far.</span>

   <span class="conclusion">It's almost better to use a more suited 
       format in such cases</span>

The advantage of this is that there is no need to "guess" what are the
author's assumptions.  They are clearly identified.

Use Cases: any web page that tries to convince you of something.  The
examples are endless.



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