Re: Report on testing of the link relations registry

I feel I need to respond on this thread to clear up a number of
(theoretical) misconceptions that contrast with actual experience with
successfully introducing several rel values in the past decade.

On Mon, Aug 16, 2010 at 4:25 PM, Silvia Pfeiffer
<> wrote:
> Eventually all registries held by a standards organisation go the same way
> and become bureaucratic and difficult to use,

This has not yet happened to (with 5+
years of experience), nor is there any reason to expect that it will.

> because that is a way to
> protect against spam registrations (and other annoying stuff).

Employing scientific method and a requirement to gather use-cases and
conceptual uses in the wild has proven sufficient to filter out spam
and/or ill-conceived/amateur/duplicate registrations.

> I believe if
> we set up another registry, we will eventually run into the same problems -

I believe this is not only an unfounded supposition, but there is
evidence to the contrary.

I.e. so far that hasn't happened.

Two successful counter-examples:

* and in recent years the very thorough
documentation of rel values here:

* The WHATWG rel value registry

And even though they are not perfectly harmonized, so far, in
practice, that hasn't been a problem, and over time, I expect that
further harmonization will occur.

> not to speak of potential conflict with the existing IANA registry. So, what
> is the next generation of Web standards developers to do? Create a Google
> wave based registry on top of the then existing two registries? (yes, I
> know, Google wave is dead - I'm just using it as a placeholder for the "next
> big technology for document authoring on the Internet").

In this case placeholder == strawman.

There is no need to answer your rhetorical question of "what is the
next generation of Web standards developers to do?" with a strawman.

The next generation of Web standards developers have been developing
new rel values for 7+ years now using....

The Web.

2003 defined a set of 15 new rel values in XFN which
have been implemented in numerous publishing and indexing systems.

2004 I proposed rel-license in a presentation posted to the web and
blog posts. Subsequently it was posted on the microformats wiki.  And
later, incorporated/reused in Atom (in the IETF).

2005 rel-tag - also in a blog post and then


In fact many would say, despite the bumps along the way and somewhat
less than fully formal processes, the creation, deployment,
implementation, and even "registration" of rel-values on the
microformats wiki has worked just fine in practice. Sometimes
rel-values take a while to go from idea/proposal/experiment to actual
use, but that's the nature of standards.  Documentation (even as an
experiment/idea) should be easy.  Adoption is up to "the market", and
that sometimes just takes time.

I would expect a WHATWG wiki registry to also work just as well, given
lessons we've learned with doing so on

> Isn't there a better way where we can help IANA fix their registry to do
> what we need it to achieve?

Why bother fixing tool A, when tool B has been working fine (or at
least "good enough") for the past 7+ years?

If you want to go ahead and help IANA fix their registry, by all
means, invest your personal resources to do so, but I respectfully
submit that there is no need to obligate "we/us" with such a task.

> Also, I'm not suggesting that Ian should do this - in
> fact, I think this is totally the job of somebody in a different position to
> an editor in the W3C.

>From my understanding, W3C is strapped for resources.

In my experience, any time a process depends on a non-specific
"totally the job of somebody in a different position" it usually
results failure. YMMV.

>It's good to know where it's up - but I think now it's
> time to plan with IANA a new process that allows us all to move into the
> future.

I'm certainly not going to discourage you nor any other individual who
wishes to put their personal time and effort into planning a new
process with the IANA - if you think that's the best path forward, I
encourage you to do the legwork to figure out a way to make it work,
then go ahead and test it yourself, and *then* propose that to the

Meanwhile I will humbly suggest that until a comparably easy
process/procedure is proposed, that we (the HTMLWG) stick with what is
working today, and has worked for many years, that is,

1. permit any author to propose/experiment with new rel values on the
web (as HTML4 originally allowed, and successfully
took advantage of and deployed with XFN)

2. continue maintaining's registry of existing
rel-values (as that's been the source of the vast majority of
successful rel-values over the past 5+ years)

3. continue experimenting with the WHATWG wiki registry of rel-values

4. encourage those that have the patience to essentially document the
successes that come out of those aforementioned registries by creating
RFCs for them (i.e. as rel-license eventually made its way from a
microformat to an RFC).



-- - I made an HTML5 tutorial!

Received on Tuesday, 17 August 2010 08:57:26 UTC