Read the microformats discuss page first.
Then read the mailing list policies.
Then read the archives
Ok, now here are some additional notes of scope and topics for each list.
A mailing list for general discussion of microformats, with a strong leaning towards:
- starting out with microformats
- real-world content authoring
Good topics for discussion
Here is a list (certainly not definitive) of good topics which are appropriate for the microformats-discuss mailing list:
- general thoughts on the design and use of semantic XHTML markup
- how to use and write microformats in content
- how to use microformat design patterns in content
Good topics that belong somewhere else
Bad topics for discussion
AKA topics better discussed elsewhere (somewhere other than microformats.org).
Here is a list (also not definitive) of topics which are undesired and inappopriate for the microformats-discuss mailing list. In fact, they're not even worth the time to bother discussing, so please do not bring them up on the microformats-discuss mailing list. We'll add more topics as people come up with more off-topic or out-of-scope or rathole topics.
- How to make a "general purpose" (micro)format. Go read what microformats are not, actually, go read the entire principles page. Sometimes this may masquerade as a "format of formats". Either way, it is one of those boil the ocean ratholes which are far outside the focus of microformats. If you really want to work on such subjects, teach yourself DTD (SGML, XML), XML Schema, Relax NG, RDF Schema, and find the communities working on those technologies.
- Using namespaces and namespace prefixes. In short, namespaces are neither necessary (the Internet ran just fine without them for decades, go read some RFCs), nor desirable (prefixes make formats far uglier and more difficult to hand-code). See also namespaces considered harmful.
- Using non-English names for properties. This was briefly discussed on the microformats-discuss list most recently as "Language Maps" but has been raised before that. Some folks have raised the issue that microformats use English names for properties, and they would like alternate (non-English) names in other (natural) languages, and perhaps try to establish a mapping between them. As microformats property names are based on existing standards (see The microformats process, and Naming Principles), this is another problem that is far outside the scope of microformats. As Ryan King put it, this is a pre-existing (unsolved) "problem" with English-based HTML, the English-based CSS, the English-based HTTP and so on. Note that this is NOT about the internationalization (i18n) of the content and data itself - which is of course an excellent goal, advocated and promoted by microformats and the standards they are based on (e.g. W3C, IETF). This is purely about the names of the properties (and enumerated values) in the formats.
For discussion of microformats development, with a leaning towards:
- anything that involves writing code
- abstractions / models (in contrast to actual content)
Good topics for discussion
These tend to be topics that belong in microformats-dev instead of microformats-discuss. This list is also not definitive, but illustrates the general areas:
- microformat parsing
- microformat "(auto)-discovery"
- comparisons of microformats with other data abstractions or data representations (e.g. XML, RDF)
- compatibility/interoperability of microformats with other data abstractions or data representations
Formerly, the membership to this list was moderated and limited to people who had demonstrated public implementations of microformats. We've since relaxed this requirement, yet maintain the same expectations that people involved in the discussion are focused on concrete and pragmatic topics related to writing code using microformats.
For discussion of use of microformats with REST, in protocols, services, APIs etc.
How to search the mailing list archives
If your post to the list starts off "I'm new to the list and microformats so I don't know if you've discussed this already" READ THROUGH THE ARCHIVES!
The archives are getting larger, so here are a few simple ways you can search them. Most popular search engines imploy some sort of site based results filtering. Google does this in your initial search. Type "site:http://microformats.org/discuss/ <search terms here>" to limit the search results to only our discussion list. This will help you from asking a question that has already been posted, debated, and possibly resolved. It saves everyone time and energy!
New list proposals
Vote on and discuss our proposals for a new mailing list for discussing the research and creation of new microformats so that those discussions do not overwhelm microformats-discuss.