This page is for brainstorming about various uses and details of XFN - The XHTML Friends Network, as well as collecting input for potential extensions.
Before participating in any XFN brainstorming please read and understand the following:
Extending family relationships
The XFN: Background page says:
We considered adding "grandparent," but in the end dropped the term because it seemed unlikely to be used in the near future. It may appear in future versions of XFN.
Presumably the assumption is that a grandparent won't have a website, but:
- I think it's important in some situations to capture the age difference in a relationship in a way that @rel="kin" doesn't seem to.
- Even if they don't maintain it themselves (or are deceased) there might be a URL that does a good job of representing a person.
Consider a site about one's family tree. It might have something like:
I can trace my family back to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_I_of_England/"> William the conqueror. </a>
In these cases it would be useful to have @rel="ancestor", and perhaps a corresponding @rel="descendant". -CiaranMc
Simple Groups and Members
A very simple extension to XFN could enable decentralized group membership. E.g.
- rel="group". A person could link from their page to the page of a group that they belong to (e.g. their company, school, DJ collective etc.) and thus assert that they belong to that group.
- rel="member". The web pages of groups could link to who they consider members and thus assert that person's membership.
The relationships could be required bi-directional in order to confirm group membership, that is, both the individual must link to the group with rel="group" and the group must link to the individiual with rel="member" in order for the membership to be considered "true".
See also Group Brainstorming.
Fans and followers
It's becoming a common aspect of many social networks that you have unreciprocated and non-friend-based connections to people. These connections are particularly noteworthy where you don't really ever expect to have your connections reciprocated, but instead are similar to the idea of "rel-muse".
I would propose adding "rel-fan" or "rel-follower" to the collection of XFN values -- as being something like a "contact" or a "muse" but having a different purpose within the realm of social networking. Again, given that this is showing up in social networks like Pownce (fan), Twitter (follower), and that these words are becoming common, I wonder if it wouldn't make sense to even ditch rel-muse in favor of rel-follower and rel-fan (the former implying some kind of positive social stalking and the latter a kind of amiable appreciation for someone's work).
This fan/follower designation seems sorely lacking from Flickr where everyone falls into either contact, friend or family... but in many cases, you just like someone's photos and want to be able to check in on them every now and again, similar to the way that people "follow" or "subscribe" to blog feeds... Someone who reads my blog feed could be considered a "follower" -- as in, "someone who follows my blog".
- Chris Messina
Examples (sites that have the concept of "fan" or "follower")
- http://twitter.com/ (has followers vs friends)
- http://upcoming.org/ (has fans vs friends)
- http://pownce.com/ (has fans vs friends)
Tantek 02:34, 8 Jul 2007 (PDT)
Mentors and Mentees
Though seemingly rare, I personally have found use for
rel="mentor" and inverse
rel="mentee" (see wiktionary definitions: mentor, mentee). I don't have sufficient evidence to even consider proposing adding these to XFN, but I wanted to capture them here as a brainstorm while I look into using them personally and research examples in the wild.
Tantek 02:34, 8 Jul 2007 (PDT)