[uf-discuss] hCard slowing adoption of microformats?

Tantek Celik tantek at cs.stanford.edu
Sun Nov 23 11:15:30 PST 2008

This is also a classic visible data (eg on HTML pages) vs invisible data (eg at URLs not linked to or at least not easily viewable in browsers in random/rare(r) XML formats) probem.

The more visible the data, the less likely users will be surprised by having data they may have thought was private (because they didn't see it on the web) be scraped, aggregated, indexed, republished.

When data *is* visible that users don't feel comfortable publishing, they take steps to remove or make it private.

Hence we discourage publishing of invisible data. It's user unfriendly, and leads to far more frequent violations of user expectations.


-----Original Message-----
From: Dan Brickley <danbri at danbri.org>

Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2008 19:59:58 
To: Microformats Discuss<microformats-discuss at microformats.org>
Subject: Re: [uf-discuss] hCard slowing adoption of microformats?

Samuel Richter wrote:
> I read some blog posts this morning on microformats and a common
> concern (and I feel a legitimate one) is the "scraping of hCard's from
> web sites for future generations of spammers."  I believe that fear,
> if left unaddressed, will kill the microformat effort.  Has there been
> any discussion of this?

This is certainly a problem we have encountered with FOAF, which shares 
a lot of characteristics with microformats. For example, the FOAF feeds 
on tribe.net were taken down, 'cos users didn't like having their data 
re-aggregated and published elsewhere (such as on explode.us). In this 
scenerio the user doesn't even need spammable info in their FOAF or 
hCard to be upset, they just don't want the suprise of seeing their data 
appear elsewhere without warning.

My take is that we need to create incentives that benefit users, such as 
the ability to say 'sure, re-post my stuff, but on the condition of x', 
for some plausible 'x'. Such as 'post this chunk of banner-ad html a 
fair % of the time too, perhaps.



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