rel-in-reply-to

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rel=in-reply-to is proposed method for linking from a comment to the original post that the comment is a reply to.

Contents

Publishers

In a post that is a reply/response/comment to some other original post on the web, the hyperlink from the reply to the original should be marked up with the rel value in-reply-to.

Limitations

Publishers must only use this rel value on a post's permalink page, thereby indicating that the permalink page is a reply to the destination of the hyperlink with rel=in-reply-to

Posts that are aggregated in other pages, e.g. an archive page, or home/updates page, must not use rel=in-reply-to on links because those aggregate pages (e.g. archive, home, updates) are not replies themselves, even though they may contain replies.

Consumers

WebMention

If your site implements receiving webmentions, implement the WebMention ping verification using rel="in-reply-to" as documented in the WebMention specification.

When your site receives a verified webmention with an "in-reply-to" link, provide a display of the webmention source on your webmention target page, e.g. as suggested in: IndieWebCamp: comment presentation (uses the h-entry at the source page to construct a comment on the target page with author, comment contents, date posted, etc.).

Issues

Replying To Multiple Original Posts

What if a post is a reply/response/comment to multiple other original posts on the web?

Should the reply put rel="in-reply-to" on the hyperlinks to all of the other original posts? Or should the reply only use rel="in-reply-to" on the first or most important original post that it's a reply to?

Nature of a “reply”

How exactly do we define “reply” so that in-reply-to is used in suitable contexts? What factors differentiate a reply from, say, a comment or mention?

For example, a “reply” could cover almost anything from a short, two word comment (F1R5T P0ST) to a long essay, or even a video (e.g. youtube video responses). Handling all of these concurrently (e.g. trying to build a facebook/twitter-like chronological conversation UI) is likely to be a nightmare.

Previous Formats

Atom in-reply-to extension

Atom Threading Extensions (RFC4685) has an in-reply-to Extension Element.

No idea if anyone is consuming it.

Gdata in-reply-to

YouTube uses a URL-qualified version of in-reply-to:

in their Atom API, e.g.:

<link rel="http://gdata.youtube.com/schemas/2007#in-reply-to"
  type="application/atom+xml" 
  href="https://gdata.youtube.com/feeds/api/videos/2cd.../comments/978..."/>

Alternatives

u-in-reply-to

Alternatively, or in addition, there is the suggestion to use:

on hyperlinks from comment posts marked up with h-entry to original posts.

Advantage:

Whereas rel=in-reply-to MUST ONLY be used on post permalink page, which is harder to get right.

History

See Also

rel-in-reply-to was last modified: Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

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