[uf-discuss] Proposal: Mandatory connection of a XFN to a "source" hCard and a "target" hCard

Dan Brickley danbri at danbri.org
Wed Mar 19 05:20:08 PST 2008

On 19 Mar 2008, at 12:36, Costello, Roger L. wrote:

> Hi Folks,
> Below is a proposal.  The proposal is based on the following  
> assertion.
> An expression of a relationship is useful only if you know who is the
> source and who is the target of the relationship.

I agree there are issues here, but I doubt you'll get very far trying  
to mandate things, especially if you're after changes at *both* ends  
of the hyperlink. On the Web, I don't want standards geeks (even my  
friends!) telling me just how much or how little I must say about  
myself in my own pages. Even if I don't say much about myself in http://danbri.org/ 
  it is still my homepage, and people are free to point rel=friend  
links at it. There's value in connectivity, even without the extra  
profile fields. It could be used to identify common friends, RSS feeds  

In other words, it's not place of microformats, or of FOAF or of W3C  
or of Web site owners to instruct folk on how much they have to say  
about themselves online. We simply provide vocabulary and formats and  
leave it to best practice and convention and users and toolmakers and  
publishers. As far as I understand the microformat approach, from  
talking with Tantek and others, it shares this characteristic with the  
FOAF/RDF design: very little is mandatory. Unlike some XML formats  
which are full of 'must' requirements, both microformats and FOAF/RDF  
live in a Webby world where 'missing isn't broken' and apps have to  
make sense of (and aggregate across) partial information.

You should also btw note that rel=me is a special case, and in fact an  
exception to your main argument. For example I could reciprocally  
assert <https://identoo.com/danbri/> xfn:me <http://friendfeed.com/danbri 
 > . If this was in both pages, any self-description in the one page  
would apply to the other, reducing need for further duplication  
(whether in hcard or FOAF or whatever format).




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