This particular bit of the debate is not about whether other standards
or communities are useful to data portability. It's about which logos
make it onto the home page. Close to the home page there really needs to
be 3 lists of things that support, and are supported by, DP.
- Open Standards eg. OpenID
- Open Communities eg. DiSo
- Open Organisations eg. MySpace (Ahem! Well, companies that have issued
a press release in support of DP then)
Putting all that on the home page is probably a mistake.
Julian Bond E&MSN: julian_bond at voidstar.com M: +44 (0)77 5907 2173
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Do Not Expose To Heat
I'm really uncomfortable with "Official Blog" on the home page linking
1) It's not a blog. It's a feed of bookmarks.
2) Only one person has control over it.
3) Official? What the hell does that mean?
Don't get me wrong, http://dataportability.tumblr.com/ is a great
personal initiative from Chris and it should be encouraged. But no way
is it an "Official Blog".
To me it also seems that some problems stem from some viewpoint of
some communities that we sort of do a land grab.
Like we come out of nothing but carry the mandate to solve the data
portability problem while others are already working
on it or related things. So I wonder if we should also think about
revising our mission a bit.
In the end IMHO the most important part is conversation. Be it with
web devs in a more grass roots effort or with companies.
I actually doubt that those companies really have given us a mandate
to solve the DP problem for them (by issueing a press release)
because then they need to be more active or they will do something
different anyway, like FB). Neither anybody else can give us
That being said I would like to see DP more as sort of a think tank
and an institution which raises the awareness of the problem
(which seems to be working quite well). That means that maybe having a
definite set of Best Practices is not such a good idea and
talking about trustmarks is neither. Maybe we should more talk about
proposals or recommendations which eventually will invite
more people to participare in the discussion instead of fighting us.
What will end in the end will probably be a mix of everything anyway
and only real life examples will show what will work and what won't.
So these are my $0.02 from a somewhat external perspecitive as I am
neither active in the other communities nor sitting in SF
or close to to experience that closely what actually happens there.
Yes, there's nothing wrong with running to the front of the parade, but it's
also good to embrace the small army behind you.
Just to pick one, as we all know lots of semweb folks have been working in
closely related areas for a long time. If DP was perceived more as a
conversational focal point and less as a set of technology blueprints, maybe
there'd be more engagement from them because they wouldn't think DP was
competing with them.
Then again, I could be wrong. It may be a question of bandwidth for any
existing group to mesh properly with their DP colleagues.
When one person tells you an ass, laugh.
When a second person tells you, shrug.
When a third tells you you're an ass, look for a tail.
Where are the hard truths in Messina's message?
First, we've been coming across as assholes. Arrogant, holier than thou, know it all assholes. Appropriating other's logos (faking endorsements).
Redefining well defined terms and ideas in our own language.
Ignoring prior art (look to the identity commons and IIW, for example).
Picking winners and losers as though we have the right.
Second, we lost whatever technical credibility we earned. It's one thing for Chris Messina to tell us this in a private conversation. It's another when he does it in public and at length and with a considered neutral tone. He's the least reactive and most tolerant of all the serious geeks I know. He's not alone in his opinions and wouldn't have gone to the trouble of spelling everything out if he didn't know he was speaking for many others.
Bad behaviour, at odds with our stated community values, creates cognitive dissonance and makes volunteers and partners lose faith and be unhappy.
But that's where we are right now.
This is a compound crisis.
It's a crisis of perception. A crisis of reality. A crisis of leadership.
How can we use this reality check to deal with it?
Or do we stop becoming a "we" and dissolve the organization?
It is very clear to me that we need an official DataPortability blog
on a wordpress/typepad (or similar) platform. It should be controlled
by a body of editors that together comprise a task-force.
Ok I'd seek to be brief.. I would like to see ATOM added. Atom is a good standard
(http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc4287) and already has widespread adoption, in particular
by google (long time) and microsoft (soon if not already)..
I don't mean to kick out newer standards like APML. It's purely ok (to me) to include
APML, even that appears too much self-serving to some, but that's ok and inevitable.
I do not mean that we need to rush ATOM onto the page now, but I'd like to
at least see it discussed, of whether to have it added, or remain dropped (from the
frontpage inclusion, should there continue to have such protocol/logo inclusions).
People (obviously me not alone) get annoyed if a discussion item was raised, but
resulted into any material decision, *while* some other items were never quite
discussed, yet decided by some to be of "official" status.. (apml being one, tumblr
issue being other).. not that they cannot be official. It's understood that in a group
like this, "whoever doing the job has the power", but should be willingly ready to
be subject to community challenges... it's more like running a private company vs.
running a public company.. you don't need to take a private company public, but
once it's taken public, there're "regulations" and "expectations" to cater for..
Not least, must say, these days, "data portability" is much like "web 2.0" or worse,
"web 3.0"... whereas the true definition, if any, no longer matters.. like web 2.0,
DP/dp more like a movement now (if not some marketing gimmick).. some phrases
made it big time (eg., "data portability").. while some are questionable ("social graph"),
and some simply failed (to date) to make it (eg., TBL's "giant global graph", or ggg,
obviously after www, despite TBL's coining).. and since data portability gained wide
acceptance, at least found love from members of the press, it's time to beef it up,
and my it solid, while also making it likable, and helpful, as Marc also said earlier.
I'd really strongly advise going back and reading the Wiki page on "What
is DataPortability?" http://wiki.dataportability.org/x/HgER
And do feel free to point critics at it as well. Much of the recent
criticism just falls away in the light of that page.
Contains Flammable Gas Under Pressure
about (Page Not Found)
The page you were trying to reach could not be found: it may have been renamed or moved to another space, or the name you requested
may be incomplete.
While it follows with a few boxed links for read-on's, it doesn't look too good... could someone curating that page help point it to
a more intelligent page, ie., either that http://wiki.dataportability.org/x/HgER page, or replace it with something "else"... :-)
My limited encounters with CS (before his "popularity" these days) gave me the impression
that CS is very choosy on who he responds to, or to be exact, he was then not returning my
early-January inquiry of how to join DP (despite the "Contact Us" link pointing to his mbox),
while day in and day out enjoyed mentioning things like Facebook joining, etc etc, and listing
industry-figurehead names (including Messina) on the dp frontpage.. so it's not surprising that
CS tends to value BigCo's much [much] more.. Ok that was January, mightbe things weren't
too ready. But then, as recently as in late April, CS did not seem like to even acknowledge
my email to him direct to his mbox, for my response to his asking publicly if there's any
announcements in support of DP..so, my feeling being, ok, we're too small and/or too new
to be worthy.. fair enough..
Why fair enough? because we have to understand that CS has been the "attention" guy.. recall
APML?.. so, attention is perhaps his better/best expertise..and Data Portability more like a tool?
In fact, still remember that long-standing-until-recently dp homepage? -- in that invent-nothing sq,
APML was spectacularly at 1st-row-1st-column, and next come OpenID, then microformats..
(point being, not simply due to alphabetical order reasons..) Any problem with that? honestly,
not much of a problem.. though it feels a bit strange that, having invented something (APML) not
too long ago, now calling for invent-nothing... (anyway, I'd still like to say I'd like to see ATOM!)..
CS, might be perhaps being too close to TC's Arrington(?), has become pretty subjective,
and seemingly pretty much of strong-arm mentality.. and emerging with me-the-winner attitude..
meaning, seemingly don't quite want to listen (even at times appearing to be overly-democratic)
but when decisions not in his (personal) favor, he'd seek ways to get around it and still presenting
himself as the-person, and like, marking pages with official labels.. ok we've discussed that..
But reality is, being modest with a person is one thing.. some growing untold dislikes are another,
obviously at it seems now..
That said, CS did succeed in bringing good attention to "the dataportability project", of which we've
become a part, and that's undeniable credit due to CS. In light of this, I'd tend to agree more with
CS, with respect to his "marketing methodology".. even though, as I said elsewhere, it was more of
Scoble's incident with facebook that gave the take-off attention and profile to the dataportability
project, and I'd assume CS "had done something good" in between.
That said, and having observed the dp project almost from day one, I did have the feeling that
the group "stole" some publicity from some bigco's announcements in Q1.. however, recently,
per listings on the wikipedia.org dp page, some recent bigco's announcements did explicitly mention
that they were "joining the dataportability.org project".. in light of that, things kind of become more
like some "coalition of the willing" - mutually so.. it's become interwoven and meshed up already,
and already hard to say "who's taking who's advantage", if any. And that's business world anyway.
Given that, and with all due respect to Messina's points (switching to lastname form just to
avoid the which-Chris confusion), I'd tend to differ on that this group should focus to use the
"fix the web" approach.. because the web could never be "fixed".. :-| and because, perhaps 2 or 3
years down the road or so, dp would no longer be a topic worthy of discussing, or any attention,
at all.. An analogy would be more like OpenID vs. SAML -- the latter being too perfect (to take
off, big time).
I'll reply in context and trim Chris Messina's original cause that's how I
roll, old school.
On 5/13/08 10:27 AM, "Chris Messina" <chris....@gmail.com> wrote:
> I thought I'd just contribute a few thoughts here, since I kind of
> kicked off this whole thread with my post.
I'm really glad you did.
> [omitted: a fact-based rant about DP's frequent press releases]
> So, I also felt like there weren't enough public criticisms about the
> group coming out, even though I've been told, plenty of times, in
> confidence, that they either 1) don't get what DP is trying to do 2)
> feel uncomfortably about the work or the message of the DP group or 3)
> really think that DP is just s fly flitting around that needs to be
> supported In Name Only, frankly, because it has a good name, and how
> could you *not* support people owning their data? [...]
> [omitted: a visually oriented analogy that a father of two didn't need]
I'll confess that I sat quieter than I should have. Partly, I've been trying
to help DP become a more productive entity from within; partly, I've got too
many irons in the fire to spend the time needed to offer clear, cogent
feedback on all the various threads.
I've often said that a technologist of any level should be able to come in,
understand how to value dp/DP and how to engage with it to contribute and
receive value. Given two hours, I should be able to do any of:
* Learn a lot about accessing distributed data/resources via
* Understand why, as an organization, I should embrace dp/DP on
more than a non-baby-stabbing level
* Elaborate a portion of a technical specification
* Write a sample implementation of some well-defined portion of a
That said, I've been spending less and less time on DP-the-group and more
and more time on dp-the-purpose. I reached a frustration point with my
inability to do any of the above through the noise. Some of this I attribute
to my oversubscribed, underinformed position; some of it, though, is the
group's distracted focus on how to run the group versus what to do and how
to facilitate it getting done.
> [omitted: a stipulation that most of the DP group are well-intentioned]
> [...] However, the biggest thing that this group needs to confront,
> existentially, is what you're about, and how you intend to go about
> bringing about the change that you want to see. Unfortunately, my
> baseline sense is that you're unclear about what the *results* of your
> goal actually look like [...] you're putting technicalities and social
> engineering as your top priorities, rather than leading with benefits.
> [omitted: Basecamp dumps as cowdung analogy]
Absolutely 100% agreed, as I mentioned above. We need to clearly explain the
value and make it easy -- seductive! -- to engage, or just STFU.
> [omitted: a well-reasoned dissection of conflicts between
> publically-stated intentions and public behavior on behalf of some
> individuals and the group as a whole which, while not entirely accurate
> in every detail*, is still cogent and on target]
> --> Ok, got that. Still, selection criteria is vague if non-existent.
> I've gone through a selection process with DiSo and we landed on
> microformats, OpenID, OAuth, ATOM and someday, XMPP.
> * Microformats because WordPress already supported XFN and there's
> lots of microformats in the wild already not being leveraged, plus
> they're compatible with ATOM and XMPP.
> * OpenID because we had a plugin for WordPress and because we like the
> idea of URL-based identifiers; they offer a rich endpoint on which
> services can be hung... And because many people use their blog address
> when they leave a comment, so why not turn that blog address into
> their OpenID?
> * OAuth because it's necessary for using OpenID on the desktop or on
> mobile devices, and because it provides a better method for doing
> permissioning and authorizing that doesn't require usernames and
> * ATOM because it's better spec'd than RSS, has wider adoption (read:
> Google) and because it can be used for push, etc.
> * XMPP because it scales well, handles addressable, secure messaging
> and federated buddy lists, and because it's already in wide use
> (Android, Google Talk).
> I'd love to see a similar set of rationales for the DP technology
Utterly agree. Originally, the website said that DP's mission was to create
and advocate a technical reference platform which enables users to own and
control their data while sharing it meaningfully (paraphrased, since the
original is now gone). That's what I signed up for. We discussed this at the
last face-to-face, and I was heartened by that discussion.
> [omitted: a correct recognition of the misstatement around consumer
> versus corporate facing intent]
> * We are not an organization that mandates single solutions. We
> recognize that there are multiple solutions and standards that can be
> used to create data portability.
> --> Well, this seems like you're going to end up confusing people.
> Should I use RDF or microformats? Both? What are the tradeoffs? Well,
> usually it's not that simple. It's not like, should I buy 87 or 89 at
> the pump, where, with either choice, your car will still run. If you
> don't make strong decisions on which technologies to choose, you're
> hurting the cause of data portability, since ultimately, while
> there're many ways to skin an API, the primary need is for interop. So
> if you're not planning on building the interop libraries between
> different technologies that do the same thing, how will you ever
> achieve true portability if everyone is doing their own thing (see
> MySpace or Bebo's implementations of OpenSocial).
Hmmm. I'm not sure I entirely agree here. I like the example of Pixar's
RenderMan specification; it completely specifies the behavior of a
successful rendering engine without constraining the implementation. There
have been, to date, three implementations that I'm aware of. They've been in
at least two different languages. As long as they delivered on the spec,
their (highly technical) audience could write tools which fed the renderers
properly formatted information which the renderers interpreted into pixels.
> Furthermore, I wonder what you would have proposed instead of OAuth,
> which was NEW technology, albeit based on prior art? Would you have
> just suggested to implement support for BBAuth, OpenAuth, AuthSub and
> all the other delegated authZ APIs? Really? If so, you have no idea
> what you're talking about and have no clothes. If not, you just broke
> your rule not to create anything new. Which will it be?
I'm unclear how choosing BBAuth over Oauth would have been inventing
something new; this likely means I have no clothes. It's okay. Summer's
coming. ;] Meanwhile, could you elaborate briefly?
> * We are not going to push approaches that force data into the public
> that shouldn't be. The owner of the data should control what parts are
> made publicly available, to whom, and how they are used.
> But you failed when you invited Scoble to the group and cheered his
> scuffle with Facebook. You should have vilified him. Instead, he
> became your poster child. This is exactly the kind of fishtailing
> thinking that I worry is going to lead to some major fuckup down the
> road that imperils all the work we've been doing.
I see your point. I can also see the other side -- Facebook should be
vilified for not allowing users to control their data and where it goes.
Further, I've got a third side that says something like "when I give you a
business card, you've got that info forever ... and that applies to info you
can get from Facebook" but that side devolves into the previous side --
Facebook (and LinkedIn, and others) should give you adequate controls to
manage how you share your data, with whom, and for what purpose.
> [omitted: a discussion of the legal entity which is personally
> uninteresting as it was when it sprang up. Either propose to become
> part of a larger org -- ACM comes to mind -- or form a 501(c)]
> But so far, I see all these trends with the DP group to centralize
> centralize centralize! And yet that's the wrong model for the web! And
> it's the wrong model for a group that espouses choice and
Agreed again. DP (the organization) should be about enabling and spreading.
> [omitted: a comparison of previous advocacy efforts with DP's progress
> and trends in social networks]
> My point in all this is to try to tease out some clarity, which, after
> months of debate and discussion, still seems lacking from the core.
> Yes, I get it that data portability is about moving/syncing/copying/
> streaming data around the web. Ok, fine. And I get that there are
> technologies that help you accomplish that, cool. I also get that
> raising the visibility of the story of the need for both more data
> portability and for more business models that are compatible with data
> portability is a worthy thing to pursue. What I don't get is how, with
> all this structure, and with a logo, and with technical best
> practices, and with a monthly message you're doing anything but
> amplifying what's already being done, and what's already going on, or
> that will happen, with or without you.
Structure: agreed; we've spent way to long on it. Logo: ditto; frankly I
think we should have pushed back on the last C&D as there was little to no
risk of confusion in the marketplace, but IANAL.
Practices and monthly messages, however, stand a chance of being useful
they're used to reflect the spotlight occasionally shined on DP to the
efforts of others *without claiming credit or even involvement*. That's
advocacy in its purest form.
> If you want my advice, and I started to provide this with my proposal
> for the video project, the central group needs to focus on providing
> simple tools and effective methods for individuals who are interested,
> to pick up the banner of data portability, and to articulate an
> expression of what is broken about the web today, and how they want it
> to be fixed. [omitted: elaboration of this]
I couldn't possibly agree more.
> If you wanted to do something super useful, [go] find the specific
> instances where things are breaking down[,] round up the host of
> problems that follow when people who just want to connect [...] are
> stymied by the way in which technologies works[...]. Start to array
> those into "problem:solution" sets, [and] clearly articulate the
> opportunity that you're presenting [...] this is simple, this is
> elegant, this is much needed, and it also focuses you on the real
> world, and gives anyone out there on the web the opportunity to
> contribute to helping ameliorate the problems that plague us because
> our technologies are not yet really working for us, in the ways that
> we desire, and the ways that we know are possible.
If we do this, I'll re-engage and spend time on this project. If we don't,
I'll lurk and spend time elsewhere.
Remember, there was no intention to insult nor hostility in this; if you
read it that way, please consider that it's been written in five minute
sprints between meetings, reread, and seek the non-mean meaning.
 For example, I witnessed an exchange between a member of W3C engaging
the group via the mailing list, ironing out all of the details mentioned in
the first paragraph in the "choice cuts" section, which starts "It is
unclear to me how you engage with, in particular, standards bodies..."
Picking this nit does not negate the value of later points made, nor the
On 5/13/08 5:17 PM, "Jim Meyer" <jme...@linkedin.com> wrote:
> Originally, the website said that DP's mission was to create
> and advocate a technical reference platform which enables users to
> own and control their data while sharing it meaningfully.
On 5/13/08 5:42 PM, "Chris Saad" <chris...@gmail.com> wrote:
> [...] this project, and it's goal to research, refine, document and
> advocate practices for data portability [...]
Are these two compatible goals? The same thing? Different? I'm unclear.
Thanks in advance!
On 5/13/08 5:55 PM, "Chris Saad" <chris...@gmail.com> wrote:
> As discussed in the last face to face meetup at LinkedIn - I dont remember
> ever writing (certainly never intended) for us to write a reference platform
> (as in running code) - The deliverables were once called 'technical
> blueprints' and were since renamed to 'technical best practices'.
> The intent was always to document, not to write code.
I should have been more clear about the distinction between a "reference
platform" or "reference specification", which is more commonly used
referring to software, and which I'll use from here out) and a "reference
A reference specification is a collection of very discrete statements which
explain in great detail valid behavior for a thing in one or more specific
circumstances; the HTML 4 spec is an excellent example. It is
documentation, not code.
A reference implementation is the same thing, written in valid,
executable code. It's not required that it be a rich implementation, just
that it answers the specification or standard completely and accurately.
I understand that we're not writing a reference implementation.
Are we writing a reference specification?
> Those of us who agree with our goals and can live with our evolving
> methods (particularly those with any engineering background) are
> encouraged to focus on the Technical Best Practices over in the
> Technical Action group. The group is looking for feedback and input.
Data portability is never more technical than political. Everyone knows. Thus the above is
equivalent to saying, you go do the donkey work, just accept me as your political leader :-)
Well, I'm never interested in politics, only in organizational efficiency (and dp specs)..
Three points, if I may suggest to:
a) remove the 8 third-party logos from the homepage, simply because they are not necessary and creating issues and confusions;
b) remove or reword or relink the "Official Blog" on the footer, or make that tumblr blog the official blog; because letting this
linger on will only stand to create further unnecessary complications;
c) put the FAQ textlink upfront, for the benefit of the new comers.
I don't mean whoever curating the homepage go make an immediate change now. I mean, please look into a), and b), and c).
And am sure other partipants have other suggestions for probable improvements?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Elias Bizannes" <elias.b...@gmail.com>
To: "DataPortability.Action.Steering" <dataportabilit...@googlegroups.com>
Sent: Wednesday, May 14, 2008 9:11 PM
Subject: [DP.AG.Steering] Re: Consistency, and Direction (Was: Re: [DP.AG.Steering] Re: Official Blog)
Oh, so, with all due respect and admirations, there's yet another DP group.. :-)
was hesitant to join, because of already joined too many.. but done, and cross
posted, presumably as a memo.. I'll browse through the chat threads.. but I'm
more of a reader than a contributor.. so probably not much additional opinion,