Re: Report on testing of the link relations registry

On Sep 3, 2010, at 1:04 PM, Aryeh Gregor wrote:

> On Thu, Sep 2, 2010 at 6:27 PM, David Singer <> wrote:
>> The idea that registries should trawl the world looking for usages, guess what they are and what they mean, invent definitions and specifications to back up those guesses, is, if you think about it, rather bizarre.  But I can't think what else you are suggesting (well, maybe telepathy) if the registry is to be criticized for not containing things that no-one has tried to register.
> It's not the operators of the registry who will be looking for changes
> -- it will be its *users*.  On a wiki, any user who sees anything
> wrong can fix it with almost no effort.  That's how wikis work, and it
> works really well.  You put an "edit" link on every single page, maybe
> an "add an entry" link at prominent points on your list, and your
> *viewers* will keep it up to date.  Again, if reliability is a problem
> in practice, a separate stable version can be maintained that a
> largish group of trusted people sync to the untrusted version
> regularly after review (e.g., daily).
> We are not evaluating the effectiveness of the IANA's registry in a
> vacuum.  We are comparing it to a well-tested alternative, namely, a
> wiki.  Evidence suggests that the wiki-based registry
> is much more up-to-date than most IANA registries, so in that sense,
> it works much better.  At this point, I'm not clear what your concrete
> objections are to using a wiki.  The incredulity at the idea that web
> pages can be kept up to date without anyone following some formal
> submission process is hard for me to understand, given the success of
> wikis in the last several years, but as a MediaWiki developer, maybe
> I'm biased.  :)

The page

defines relation names in terms of recent HTML practice and specs,
mostly microformat specs.

Relation names, however, are not media-type specific, and they have
been around a lot longer than the source documents being used for
that page.  For example, XFN foolishly redefines many common
relations (e.g., "child") and that page incorrectly treats
XFN as authoritative (as opposed to listing all of the specifications
that have defined "child").  It should be no surprise, therefore, that
people outside of the microformats community do not consider it a valid
registry of names for the Internet in general.

Ian's "tests" were contrived to be rejected by the IANA registry
just so that we could have this discussion again.  It would be nice
if we could quit playing games with the future of the Web.

In fact, the registry at

is already more complete and accurate than the microformats page,
even though it is painfully ugly (what happened to the XHTML format?).
What that evidence shows me is that the IANA registry is better for
registering relation names than a wiki.  I can only hope that they
will fix the format issue soon.  Meanwhile, I am sure that someone
else here can manage to register any remaining (valid) relation names
long before we resolve all the other problems with HTML5.


p.s. the XHTML version is supposed to look something like

Received on Saturday, 4 September 2010 01:23:48 UTC