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20060114 Saturday January 14, 2006

Distributed Conversations with Microformats

Last summer, Ryan King and Eran Globen blogged about citeVia and citeRel as a means of denoting conversation semantics between blog posts. A good summary and subsequent brainstorming is on the Microformats wiki. The blogosphere is currently rich with implicit distributed conversations. A little explicit microformat boost is, IMNSHO, exactly what's needed to nail the coffin in a lot of the crufty old centralized group systems (like Yahoo!'s and Google's). The future of virtual community is here and it is in conversing with blog posts.

There's a lot of discussion of primary citations and secondary props ("Via") but there's not as much on reply-to semantics except for in a few of Eran's posts. Isn't reply-to central to a conversation? Citations are more bibliographic (like when you're linking for a definition, a quote or to identify a source). On the other hand, conversations are about exchanged replies. This is as old as the Internet. Email clients put Reply-to headers in messages when you reply to them. RFC 850 defined it for NNTP over twenty years ago. Reply-to has been the binding for conversations for years, why stop now? That doesn't mean not to use cite and via, those are cool too but they're orthogonal to conversing and more pertinent to definition, quotation and source identification. I'm not entirely sure how I'd like to use via since it's kinda like citing a cite -- maybe it's not necessary at all. If you think of a via as a degenerative quote, then use quote. For instance, I think this makes sense (but then, I had a few glasses of wine earlier... I might not feel the same way in the morning):

I might agree that <a href="http://theryanking.com/blog/archives/2006/01/08/blogging-while-adult/" rel="reply-to">negative sarcasm</a>
happens (and worse) wherever there is <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymity" rel="cite">anonymity</a> it is one of an inductively provable 
aspect of human nature. Countless discussion boards have failed (and continue to) due to participant anonymity. However, it's also important to weigh 
in with the benefits of anonymity, would citizens of censored and oppressed societies be able to  engage in progressive debate without it? 
Take a look at the Global Voices' <blockquote cite="http://joi.ito.com/archives/2005/05/23/second_draft_of_anonymous_blogging_guide.html">
<a href="http://cyber.law.harvard.eduglobalvoices/?p=179" rel="cite">Anonymous Blogging Guide</a</blockquote>.
Wine bottle is corked now. Does that make sense?

( Jan 14 2006, 01:44:44 AM PST ) Permalink


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