[uf-discuss] hCard slowing adoption of microformats?

Dan Brickley danbri at danbri.org
Sun Nov 23 11:47:31 PST 2008

Hi Tantek,

Tantek Celik wrote:
> 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.

I generally agree. We discourage people from exposing anything in FOAF 
that isn't otherwise available in textual form in public HTML. While it 
seems (I never got the details confirmed before it was switched off) 
that Tribe may have exposed more in the RDF/XML than in the HTML, from 
reading through the many user comments it was the wholesale-ness of the 
thing that really upset people. It looked like their entire profile 
*and* those of their buddies had been copied/cloned. This could have 
equally well have been accomplished through use of curl/wget and some 
scraping tools, and most users wouldn't have been any the wiser, or any 
the happier.

You can make your own mind up here,

The initial post is pretty indicative of the tone,
	"Can someone please tell me why my bio and all of my tribe friends are 
listed on a site I have never been to or heard of? I didn't think this 
was Tribes style. I feel cheated and betrayed. If I wanted my profile to 
be farmed out, I would join Facebook."

Short of keeping all public profile data buried inside hard-to-parse 
GIFs, any markup describing profiles and linking to buddies is at risk 
of being 'exploited' in just this way.

I think the main reason we haven't seen many complaints (about FOAF or 
hCard+XFN) is not the visible/invisible issue, but simply that there 
aren't many sites who have taken a "download the entire set of people 
descriptions and re-assemble them on another site" approach. Thankfully.




More information about the microformats-discuss mailing list