[uf-new] Comments proposals - the issue of rel="in-reply-to"

Toby A Inkster mail at tobyinkster.co.uk
Sun Nov 16 22:51:23 PST 2008

David Janes wrote:

> In both cases, consider a blog post A identified by URL-A, and a
> comment B (on A) identified by URL-B.
> We add to B:
> <a rel="in-reply-to" href="URL-A">my parent</a>
> This semantically correct, but 0% of the examples given on the Wiki
> have elements that you can add this to (though Slashdot has been
> mentioned in the mailing list).

Actually, that is not the case.

I have gone through the list of examples and found that two of the  
example pages don't actually contain any comments, and two of the  
example URIs point to different portions of the same page (only one  
portion of which contains comments). Thus I have eliminated three  
pages from the list of examples and replaced them with slashdot,  
reddit and twitter to keep the list a nice round 25 pages long  
(easier for percentage calculations).

Also, I've gone back over the examples Martin analysed, looking for  
interesting things he might have missed. For example, four of his  
examples include pagination links (comments are spread over multiple  
pages), but he didn't note that down. Two of the examples I added  
also include pagination links, bringing the total to 24%.

On analysis, 16% of the examples *do* contain links suitable for  
hanging a rel="in-reply-to" link onto.

> this has presentation impact and thus becomes un-microformatty  
> because:
> - it is prescriptive

My proposal (that authors are free to use class="hfeed replies" and/ 
or rel="in-reply-to") is non-prescriptive. Authors have a choice over  
whether to use rel="in-reply-to". If they don't want to, class="hfeed  
replies" will often be sufficient.

> B has an existing hyperlink :
> <a href="URL-B">this comment</a>
> This happens in 40% of comments in the examples. It has been posited
> that if URL-B is substantially similar to URL-A -- i.e. URL-B differs
> by adding "#ID" to URL-A -- then we can do this in B
> <a href="URL-B" rel="in-reply-to">this comment</a>
> or as we'd see this "in the real world":
> <a href="URL-A#ID" rel="in-reply-to">this comment</a>

This is a horrible idea and I don't think anybody has suggested we go  
down this route. Clearly a blog comment cannot be in reply to itself.  
Now I understand what you meant when you were going on about URL  
hacking. But you seem to be arguing against a monstrous idea that  
nobody had proposed.

Take a look at what I'm actually proposing, and it's nothing anywhere  
near as ugly as what you're arguing against there.

My proposal is that all three of the following are allowed:

http://buzzword.org.uk/2008/hatom-threading-1.html (class="hfeed  
http://buzzword.org.uk/2008/hatom-threading-2.html (both)
http://buzzword.org.uk/2008/hatom-threading-3.html (rel="in-reply-to")

Authors may pick whichever is most appropriate for their page.

Toby A Inkster
<mailto:mail at tobyinkster.co.uk>

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