[uf-discuss] Proposal: hArgument Microformat

Breton Slivka zen at zenpsycho.com
Sun May 20 15:32:30 PDT 2007

as stated before, proposals go on microformats-new, not this list.

Aside from that- microformats tend to be based on existing practice.  
Wouldn't it be nice if people stated their assumptions straight off?  
Microformats or no. Unfortunately, the persuasive power of many  
arguments depend on the assumptions being kept secret. If the  
assumptions were stated straight off, it would be so much easier to  
debunk the argument by simply showing an assumption to be false. In  
an ideal world, everyone would welcome this level of scrutiny and  
criticism. Unfortunately, this world is populated with humans rather  
than ideals, so we're stuck debunking arguments by sussing out the  
assumptions, or spotting fallacies ourselves. Not everyone is  
schooled in the nuances of logic.

On 21/05/2007, at 7:37 AM, Costello, Roger L. wrote:

> 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:
> hArgument
>    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
> assumption(s)
> Example: below is an example of an argument.  The argument can be
> immediately discredited because the assumptions can be shown to be
> fallacious:
> <p class="hArgument">
>    <span class="assumption">Microformats are a disruptive
> technology</span>
>    <span class="assumption">Microformats are attempting to supplant  
>        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>
> </p>
> 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.
> Comments?
> /Roger
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