[whatwg] Creative Commons Rights Expression Language
hsivonen at iki.fi
Fri Aug 29 07:04:19 PDT 2008
On Aug 28, 2008, at 15:31, Paul Prescod wrote:
> I don't really understand why there is any debate about the utility of
> metadata in general. Are you also against microformats? Title
> elements? The meta element?
> It seems obvious to me that a) metadata has been a huge success on the
> web (the success of other techniques like NLP and PageRank
> notwithstanding) and b) we haven't yet invented every metadata tag we
> need. I think it is worthwhile to debate whether RDFa is the right
> solution but do we really want to go back to a debate over whether
> metadata is valuable or not?
> This is useful stuff, right?
Some metadata may be useful. A lot of it isn't. Strugeon's Revelation
I don't know what the right way to find the useful bits is, but just
telling people out there to publish metadata and expecting use cases
to emerge later isn't a good way, since that approach wastes a lot of
people's effort. (I'm not suggesting that you are telling people to
just go publish a lot of stuff. However, the upwards-scalable RDF
naming approach and the approach of ignoring triples the consumer
doesn't know about seem to be designed for erring on the side of
publishing too much whereas the Microformats Process and the WHATWG
approach ask for use cases first.)
One example of useless metadata evangelism that I myself fell for 8
years ago was embedding Dublin Core metadata in HTML. It wasn't nice
to realize that I had been tricked into something totally pointless.
(The data was redundant with HTML and HTTP native data.)
Also, having more metadata leads to UI clutter and data entry fatigue
that alienates users. In the past, I worked on a content repository
project that failed because (among other things) the content upload UI
asked for an insane amount (a couple of screenfuls back then; probably
a screenful today) of metadata when it didn't occur to system
specifiers to invest in full text search. More metadata isn't better.
Instead, systems should ask for the least amount of metadata that can
possibly work (when the metadata must be entered by humans as opposed
to being captured by machines like EXIF data). See also
hsivonen at iki.fi
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