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

Costello, Roger L. costello at mitre.org
Wed Mar 19 06:32:44 PST 2008

Thanks Paul.  Excellent comments.

I too am a big fan of "separation of concerns."  However, if there is
no way for a robot application to determine in some automated way "who"
is "friends with" xxx then the separation of concerns buys me nothing.

> a URI is a great way to identify someone:
> http://epeus.blogspot.com/2008/01/urls-are-people-too.html

I'm afraid that URL doesn't do much for me in terms of understanding
who that person is.  Here's a URL that's in a Flickr page that uses

/photos/24172116 at N08/

I think that you'll agree that URL's like this wouldn't be enough for a
robot application to create a social graph like this:

Alice is friends with Bob, who is a co-worker of Jim, who is neighbors
with Alice.

You make a very good point that we should not require hCard to be the
mechanism for identifying the source individual or the target
individual.  The individual could be identified through a FOAF document
or OpenID or some other (standard) means.

Somehow there must be a mechanism for a robot application to consume an
*arbitrary document* that contains XFN and be able to determine:

- who is the source individual
- who is the target individual

Earlier I thought that perhaps the hCard for the source individual
could connect/point to the XFN.  But now you have helped me realize
that the connection must come from the XFN: the XFN must connect/point
to the hCard or FOAF or OpenID that describes the source individual.

What do you think?


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