W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-xg-webid@w3.org > February 2011

Re: Question: User Story -- Bootstrapping Facebook

From: Nathan <nathan@webr3.org>
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 09:58:43 +0000
Message-ID: <4D53B6D3.2060202@webr3.org>
To: Melvin Carvalho <melvincarvalho@gmail.com>
CC: Henry Story <henry.story@bblfish.net>, WebID XG <public-xg-webid@w3.org>
Melvin Carvalho wrote:
> This is my question.  Is it a problem that they dont currently use
> fragments.  And can we easily can get around that?

It's probably the least significant of all the problems tbh, strictly 
for webid all we need to do is prove that somebody had/has write access 
to the "resource", so regardless of whether somebody uses /profile or 
/profile#me, in both cases you'll be looking to see if the persons 
public key is in /profile.

The /profile#me uri only comes in to play in RDF terms when you're 
looking for information about /profile#me, and since facebook provides 
next to no information about it's users, much less in full RDFa with the 
subject set, this isn't really a factor at the minute.

One could even suggest that if facebook ever did publish full RDFa and 
adopted fragment identifiers for people (they don't currently make 
distinctions between pages and the thing the page is about), that the 
information wouldn't be publicly available anyway, as in you'd have to 
be "signed in" to facebook to see it!

Another potential issue, is that sites like facebook don't have "one 
uri" for each person, each person can have several different ones, 
basically whatever is in the address bar when that person is looking at 
their own profile.

It could be worse though, look at twitters URIs for users.. 
http://twitter.com/#!/webr3 that would lead to a GET on 
http://twitter.com/ for every user on twitter.

Back to facebook, there are just so many questions - could a user ever 
add their own "webid information" (public key for instance) to their own 
profile page? publicly? in a machine readable consistent way? would 
facebook block it? would facebook add it? would they require open graph? 
would they only show it to identified / signed in sessions? etc.

Ultimately, there are three questions for facebook here:
  - would you ever allow users to sign in to facebook using webid(s)?
  - would you ever allow people to use their facebook uri as a webid?
  - would you publish users profile data (subject to their privacy 
settings) in a machine readable way, at the profile uri?

In the meantime though, we can identify what steps facebook would have 
to take to adopt and support WebID fully, without any input from them, 
and see just how easy it would be for them ("not very" would be my 
opinion on it!). Likewise for other sites, is it even possible for them 
to adopt without changing their platform and deployed systems? (Twitters 
URIs effectively means "probably not", likewise facebooks privacy and 
custom auth* solutions + various apis).

However..

> I cant comment on why they built their platform the way they did, what
> they will roll out in future, or in what time line.
> 
> But I'm interested in the short medium term, to see how easily
> compatible WebID is with their EXISTING setup?

If we ask the question "why would somebody want to use their facebook 
uri as a webid?", about the only answer I can come up with is so as to 
re-use their (public) profile information.

One potentially very fast way to do this is to create a quick service 
which dumps out foaf for each user, gives them a uri and let's them get 
a webid, say something like fbusers.foo/webr3 . Although a service which 
did this and imported info from any number of services (google profiles, 
yahoo profles, twitter, facebook, myspace etc) may be more useful for 
everyone, i dunno something like openprofile.com/webr3 would be sweet 
for this.. (.. ..... ... ... .!!)

> Right now everyone is developing for the FB platform due to the
> network effect.  If we can have a hybrid system that easily manages
> WebID and Facebook account, I can see people using it (I would at
> least).

Indeed, we make a hybrid system then :) Unsure if managing a facebook 
account it required, not simply import from the facebook account..?

>> Sorry, there are just too many hypotheticals in your question to make it possible to give any clear answer. There are many simple solutions to their problem. They could use redirects for example, if they don't like # urls.
>>
>> If they are interested in WebID, perhaps we should invite them directly, then we could answer their questions with more context....
> 
> I think they would be good people to talk to, yes, if it's possible to
> get them more interested.  It's the dominant social eco system on the
> web.  I know from SWXG telecons that David Recordan has at least heard
> of WebID, so that's a start...

Fully agree, we have to ask people what their requirements are from 
webid, and what restrictions they'd place on 
implementing/adopting/supporting webid. The people who the SWXG spoke 
to, like David Recordan, are the key people we need to be discussing 
things with.

Best,

Nathan
Received on Thursday, 10 February 2011 09:59:49 UTC

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