[uf-discuss] Actual research regarding usage of rel-me, rel-contact, and friends. WAS: Social Networks that use XFN and Social Networks that use FOAF

Derrick Lyndon Pallas derrick at pallas.us
Wed Mar 19 08:08:46 PST 2008

André Luís wrote:
> What I interpreted from Chris' words was that contact and me was the
> only values _needed_ to achieve contact list portability. Not that the
> rest should be dropped altogether.
There isn't really any other way to interpret what he wrote:

    If you use Google’s new Social Graph API
    <http://code.google.com/apis/socialgraph/> and actually go looking
    for XFN data (for example, on Twitter or Flickr or others
    <http://microformats.org/wiki/xfn-implementations>), you’ll find
    that, by and large, the majority of XFN links on the web are using
    either |rel-contact| or |rel-me|.

    If you’re lucky, you might find some |rel-friend|s in there, but
    after rel-me and rel-contact, the use of the other 16 terms falls
    off considerably. Compound that fact with the minor semantic
    distinction between “contacts” and “friends” on different sites
    (sites like Dopplr dispense altogether with these terms, opting for
    “fellow travelers”) and you quickly begin to wonder if the “semantic
    richness” of XFN is really just “semantic deadweight”.

    And, in terms of evangelism and potential adoption, this is
    critical. If 16 of the 18 XFN terms are just cruft, how can we
    maintain our credibility [?] ...

    So, with that, I’m no longer going to both with advocating for the
    complete adoption of XFN. Instead, I’m going to advocate for
    supporting /Contact List Portability/ by implementing rel-me and
    rel-contact (a “subset” of XFN).

The above, taken from his post --- though his blog software appears to 
be having issues right now --- says that

1.) He positively asserts that if YOU look at Twitter, Flickr, and a 
handful of other sites, you will see that they do use rel-me and 
2.) He negatively asserts that you might find others XFN rels in the 
wild but probably not because they aren't used.
3.) Therefore, XFN sans rel-me and rel-contact is cruft and should be 
dropped in favor of just rel-me and rel-contact.

Statement #1 is flawed because the corpus is not representative; it's a 
look at sites that were already known to use those formats. My numbers 
(taken from a current, large web corpus) indicate that #2 is false 
across the web-at-large. Therefore, I find it hard to support his 
conclusion. ~D

More information about the microformats-discuss mailing list