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hNews issues

These are externally raised issues about hNews with broadly varying degrees of merit. Thus some issues are REJECTED for a number of obvious reasons (but still documented here in case they are re-raised), and others contain longer discussions. Some issues may be ACCEPTED and perhaps cause changes or improved explanations in the draft.

IMPORTANT: Please read the hNews FAQ before giving any feedback or raising any issues as your feedback/issues may already be resolved/answered.

Submitted issues may (and probably will) be edited and rewritten for better terseness, clarity, calmness, rationality, and as neutral a point of view as possible. Write your issues well. — Tantek

Please add new issues to the top of the list. Please follow-up to resolved/rejected issues with new information rather than resubmitting such issues. Duplicate issue additions will be reverted.

See related hatom-issues and hcard-issues.


Consider using this format (copy and paste this to the end of the list to add your issues; replace ~~~ with an external link if preferred) to report issues or feedback, so that issues can show up in hAtom subscriptions of this issues page. If open issues lack this markup, please add it.

Please post one issue per entry, to make them easier to manage. Avoid combining multiple issues into single reports, as this can confuse or muddle feedback, and puts a burden of separating the discrete issues onto someone else who 1. may not have the time, and 2. may not understand the issue in the same way as the original reporter.

<div class="hentry">
<span class="entry-summary author vcard">
 <span class="published">2011-MM-DD</span> 
 raised by <span class="fn">~~~</span>
<div class="entry-content discussion issues">
* <strong class="entry-title">«Short title of issue»</strong>. «Description of Issue»
** Follow-up comment #1
** Follow-up comment #2


Open Issues

open issue! 2010-03-29 raised by Trond Husø

  • Add lead class/tag. An article consists of a title, lead and the body content. I would very much like to see the lead attribute/tag being added. I see two possible usages: 1) In a world of AJAX you could show the content related to the lead-part + Click here for more. When you click the link the rest of the article becomes visible. Or it can be used in parts where you load to a title/lead carousel. 2) In RSS/Atom the Lead-part is what you would like to see in the description part of the feed.
    • Trond, I really like the idea. I suggest taking a look at using hAtom entry-summary for this purpose. I feel the lead paragraph of the typical upside-pyramid-style news story is an ideal value for the atom:summary element. And, by re-using the hAtom conventions in this way, your news item will be semantically available to software focusing on both hAtom and hNews. The Associated Press interpreted Atom in this way, as illustrated by one of AP's public Atom feeds. Guthrie Collin 14:25, 01 April 2010 (UTC)

open issue! 2009-11-16 raised by Guthrie Collin

  • Allowable number of item-licenses?. In the news world, different news companies sometimes share the copyright on specific works, and this arrangement results in two copyright statements appearing for one piece of content. Modeling this relationship in the hNews world would result in two or more "item-license" elements, with each item-license element potentially linking to a separate license for each news company. Hence, I think the hNews format should explicitly allow more than one item-license for each "hnews hentry" container. Thoughts?
    • If as you say "In the news world, different news companies sometimes share the copyright on specific works, and this arrangement results in two copyright statements appearing for one piece of content" then please provide URLs to real world examples that demonstrate as such. Absent any such examples, we must not change hNews for an otherwise assumed to be theoretical example, per microformats process and principles. Tantek 23:51, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
    • Some examples are:

      Capitals-Devils Preview on Yahoo! which was created under a joint arrangement between AP and STATS, Inc (scroll to page bottom).

      Colo. medical pot & taxes on KCBD 11 in Lubbock, TX which was an AP story but since AP and some of its customers have special copyright arrangements, KCBD and its parent company also share copyright on the content (see bottom of page).

      As you can see, it's somewhat inefficient to have the license separate from the content in this way, and I think the hNews schema should permit multiple item-license elements for these situations. Guthrie Collin 16:21, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

open issue! 2009-10-20 raised by Miles De Feyter

  • News, Commentary, and Opinion pieces as they relate to hNews. An interesting comment came up today when looking at how to use hNews on other AOL properties outside of our main news site, and that is, some of our sites are both news and commentary. Let's take our sports site for example

This site reports on sports news with article headlines such as: Big Ben tops pass rankings

But also has some obvious opinion pieces such as: Fail to the Redskins: Worst-Run Franchise on the Planet

Currently we have one publishing system for all of our content within Fanhouse whether it be feed driven, in house publisher, news content, or commentary. So at the moment if one thing gets hNews it all does.

Have you given this situation thought? My initial thinking is that perhaps this is where a principles statement specific to Fanhouse could account for the different types of content being labeled hNews.

    • Very glad you brought this up. We've given this alot of thought. I think your initial thinking is right. Right now the place to distinguish differences such as these (e.g. reporting from opinion) is within the principles statement. But this is something I think would benefit significantly from further development (i.e. the development of additional hNews criteria) Martin Moore
    • I believe that hNews is applicable to many types of news, ranging from reporting facts, to analysis pieces, opinion and columns. It is not unusual for a given piece of news to be a mix of two or three "types". Really, the purpose of hNews is allow for the common structural components of news to be more clearly marked up. The exact content is less important than the form. However, I also see that there is also value for a publisher of hNews to be able to self-classify the "type" of content. One way to do this would be to use rel-tag to indicate how the publisher would like to describe the hNews-encoded content (as commentary, opinion, analysis, interview, satire or whatever). Stuart Myles

Resolved Issues

resolved issue 2010-11-14 raised by TobyInk

  • Meaning of rel=principles. It's currently defined as "represents the statement of principles and ethics used by the news organization that produced the news story" - but are those the principles the ones used by the organisation at the time the article was written, or are they the principles that are being used by the organisation currently? If the latter, this property might be better as an extension to hCard. Either way, I think it should be clarified.
    • An interesting distinction, and not one I think that was discussed at any point, as far as I can see in my notes. I agree, clarification is needed. I have a feeling that the second option (the principles that are being used by the organization currently) is much simpler, and so more likely to be used. I also agree in part with your point about extending hCard in that case, as the principles apply to the source-org, rather than to the article itself. However, what about those cases where the source organization applies different principles for different types of content? For instance, an opinion piece? JonathanMalek 04:45, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
    • Good question Toby. The underlying basis of rel-principles has always been 'the principles that apply to this article'. Therefore if the article was written and published under certain principles then it should link to those principles even if the principles of the organisation subsequently change. The purpose of this is so that the reader can always tell under what principles a particular item of news was produced. Therefore rel-principles has to remain flexible by article rather than by author. For this reason I think it is better that it remain part of hNews rather than as an extension to hCard Martin Moore 16 November 2010
      • This was the interpretation I'd always assumed, and hoped was the case as it seems most useful. Could somebody update the hnews page on the wiki to clarify the definition? TobyInk 10:34, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
      • So the proposal as it stands is to change:

        * principles represents the statement of principles and ethics used by the news organization that produced the news story.


        * principles represents the statement of principles and ethics adhered to by the news organization and/or individual that produced the news story at the time of writing.

        I will let this sit for a bit, and if there are no objections, I will update the hnews page. JonathanMalek 15:23, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
      • +1 on JonathanMalek's proposed resolution and changes. - Tantek 22:23, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
    • ACCEPTED SPEC UPDATE. CLARIFIED: principles represents the statement of principles and ethics adhered to by the news organization and/or individual that produced the news story at the time of writing. JonathanMalek 21:33, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

resolved issue 2009-10-14 raised by MarkNg

  • adr for dateline. From Andy Mabbett on Twitter : hNews microformat spec "dateline. optional. Using text or hCard" should read "dateline. optional. Using text, adr or hCard".
    • Seems like a useful extra to me, any objections ? MarkNg
    • Agreed, makes sense. --JonathanMalek 00:57, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
    • +1 to addition of optional "adr" markup of "dateline", but should also allow "geo" markup of "dateline" as well. i.e. change:

      * a dateline element MAY be encoded in an hCard.


      * a dateline element MAY be encoded with an adr, geo, or hCard on the same element.

      Tantek 19:57, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
    • ACCEPTED SPEC UPDATE. ADDED: Tantek's recommendation from 15 October 2009. JonathanMalek 21:33, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

resolved issue 2009-10-15 raised by TobyInk

  • XMDP defines 'principles' incorrectly. The XMDP for hNews defines 'principles' as a class, whereas the rest of the draft refers to it as a link type (i.e. 'rel' value).
    • ACCEPTED SPEC UPDATE. FIXED: thanks for pointing that out. I believe the updated profile reflects that correctly now. --JonathanMalek 15:37, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

resolved issue 2009-11-13 raised by Guthrie Collin

  • The item-license element is incorrectly described as a class. The XMDP profile and element description for item-license in hNews describes the element as a class attribute value, however, the Licensing Brainstorming proposal describes this field as a link type. In addition, the hNews examples purport item-license as a link type. Which item-license description is correct?
    • ACCEPTED SPEC UPDATE. FIXED: the correct description is as a link (rel). The profile has been updated to reflect that correctly. --JonathanMalek 18:44, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Closed Issues

closed issue 2009-10-09 raised by Miles De Feyter

  • Implementation of item-license as it relates to hNews. Reading through the item-license brainstorm it seems to indicate that "item-license" would need to be nested within something with the class of "item". So as this relates to hNews is the suggestion to then have an articles containing div have the three class names of "hnews hentry item"?
    • At this point, Miles, that is correct (following the licensing-brainstorming concept and guidance). I expect we'll see changes around item-license (it's still just brainstorming), but for the time being, the third class name "item" is needed. --JonathanMalek 16:25, 12 October 2009 (UTC)
    • Added to hnews-faq --JonathanMalek 02:19, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

closed issue 2009-09-28 raised by Miles De Feyter

  • Principles as a requirement. Working for a publishing company that owns and operates a large number of different organizations I'd love to incorporate hNews within our publishing system. The hNews requirement for a principles statement could pose a problem though or at least make rolling out hNews a more involved process then it would be otherwise. The issue is, I would now have to go to each product owner and ask then to provide this principles statement to link to. So my concern is now rather then just making a change to the publishing system to support hNews there is this requirement for some supporting content. And due to the nature of the content I can only assume our legal dep. would need to sign off as well, further complicating the adoption of hNews.
    • +1 I agree that the "principles" property (and probably all other others) should be optional. Tantek 18:29, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
      • I think it's important to explain why principles is a requirement. hnews is essentially a specialization of hAtom. Its purpose is to distinguish news on the web. Hence the description of source organisation, license and principles. Of these, principles is the only one which consistently distinguishes news on the web from other content (eg. commercial, government). In the future it should be distinguished further by making the principles themselves machine readable (but that is for a later date). Most professional news organisations adhere to a Statement of Principles (e.g. see and If a site wants to mark up its content but does not want to distinguish it as news, then wouldn't it be easiest to use hAtom? Martin Moore 9:00, 20 September 2009 (UTC)
      • Having discussed this issue at length outside this brainstorming, we understand some of the concerns of the microformat community regarding 'must', but are still convinced of the criticality of principles to hNews - therefore recommend downgrading from 'must' to 'should'. Martin Moore 14:00, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
        • Accepted and implemented in 0.1. In keeping with the general direction here, we've changed item-license as well, and would consider adopting the same with source-org as well, if it proves to present the same problems. --JonathanMalek 00:53, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

closed issue 18:32, 24 August 2009 (UTC) raised by Kevin Marks

  • hCalendar instead of dateline? Would an hCalendar event (which can contain an hCard location) make sense for a dateline, or is the 'date' part more often omitted?
    • Confusingly, the journalistic term "dateline" isn't anything to do with a date or time. It is the location from which a report is filed and is generally the main location associated with a story. Generally, a dateline consists of a city (e.g. "Rome") but could be the name of a ship at sea or even a space station. Stuart Myles 21:12, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

closed issue 18:32, 24 August 2009 (UTC) raised by Kevin Marks

  • hCard instead of geo? Is geo really in use here, or would using an hCard (that can contain geo) be a better way of representing locations referred to in the story, as more human readable?
    • The reason for geo being highlighted (as an optional field) is to promote at least one location identifier in the story--preferably the most appropriate single location on a map for that particular story. Geo does not have to be related to dateline, but in some examples we've worked on, we show the two collapsed into a single field. --JonathanMalek 23:53, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
    • For locations referred to in the story, I agree--publishers should be using hCard with the contained geo to markup the locations themselves. One of the concepts I've struggled with is drawing an admittedly arbitrary line between the metadata about a story from the metadata within a story. For the former, we've focused on simplicity and minimalism, primarily as a means to encourage adoption. That has meant preferring rel-tag over in-line entity extraction and markup using compound microformats. For the latter, we feel that the field is open: use whatever microformat fits your purpose, however you can--the more, the better. This lets publishers with minimal technology capabilities at least get started by tweaking a few templates in their CMS, while those more technically inclined aren't limited by the simplicity of the format to a paucity of data. --JonathanMalek 23:53, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
    • Also, dateline can be text or hCard, as noted in the Common News Fields section. --JonathanMalek 18:17, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

closed issue 18:32, 24 August 2009 (UTC) raised by Kevin Marks

  • What is item-license? Using rel-license presumably?
    • We're working off the licensing-brainstorming discussions for this. Our concern with rel-license was its definition as applying to an entire page, rather than an item within a page. The current discussions around licensing definitely address that. --JonathanMalek 00:02, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
      • +1 using item-license for news-brainstorming makes sense. Tantek 22:32, 27 August 2009 (UTC)