[whatwg] "Just create a Microformat for it" - thoughts on micro-data topic

Manu Sporny msporny at digitalbazaar.com
Wed May 6 08:22:57 PDT 2009

Ian Hickson wrote:
> On Tue, 5 May 2009, Manu Sporny wrote:
>> Creating a Microformat is a very time consuming prospect, including:
>> ... Microformats Due Diligence Rules ...
> Are you saying that RDF vocabularies can be created _without_ this due 
> diligence?

What I am saying is that the amount of due diligence that goes into a
particular vocabulary should be determined by the community that will
use the vocabulary.

Some of these will be large communities and will require an enormous
amount of due diligence, others will be very small communities, which
may not require as much due diligence as larger communities, or they may
have a completely different process to the Microformats process. The key
here is that a micro-data approach should allow them to have the
flexibility to create vocabularies in a distributed manner.

Ian Hickson wrote:
> On Tue, 5 May 2009, Ben Adida wrote:
>>> Ian Hickson wrote:
>>>>> Are you saying that RDF vocabularies can be created _without_ this
>>>>> due diligence?
>>> Who decides what the right due diligence is?
>The person writing the vocabulary, presumably.

Your stance is a bit more lax than mine on this. I'd say that it is the
community, not solely the vocabulary author, that determines the right
amount of due diligence. If the community does not see the proper amount
of due diligence going into vocabulary creation, or the vocabulary does
not solve their problem, then they should be free to develop a competing

This is especially true because the proper amount of due diligence can
easily become a philosophical argument - each community can have a
perfectly rational argument to do things differently when solving the
same problem.

Your position, that the vocabulary author decides the proper amount of
due diligence, is rejected in the Microformats community. In the
Microformats community, every vocabulary has the same amount of due
diligence applied to it.

I think that this is a good thing for that particular community, but it
does have a number of downsides - scalability being one of them. It
creates a bottleneck - we can only get so many vocabularies through our
centralized, community-based process and the barrier to creating a
vocabulary is very high. As a result, we don't support small community
vocabularies and only support widely established publishing behavior
(contact information, events, audio, recipes, etc).

So, maybe this requirement should be added to the micro-data
requirements list:

If micro-data is going to succeed, it needs to support a mechanism that
provides easy, distributed vocabulary development, publishing and re-use.

-- manu

Manu Sporny
President/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: A Collaborative Distribution Model for Music

More information about the whatwg mailing list