[rdfweb-dev] Foaf-a matic (was: FOAF Website)

Bill Kearney wkearney at syndic8.com
Sat Nov 20 16:16:04 UTC 2004

> foaf-a-matic asks for properties such as "your email address",
> "homepage". it does not indicate in any way that both should be unique
> to the person using the tool. quite a number of people out there IRL
> share both homepage and email address with their partners/families, so i
> do believe that once my friends helga and martin and their daughter
> barbara will run across foaf-a-matic on foaf-project.org, they will
> happily create 3 FOAF-files, each with the very same email address: HMB
> at theirproviders.domain. and, no, they will not read the specs and
> learn about inverse functional properties.

Frankly, if people want to play along with being identified (online) as
individuals these days they really DO need to have their own e-mail
accounts.  While it'd be nice to accomodate all sorts of edge-cases one does
have to draw the line somewhere.

Many entry-level ISPs support multiple 'screen names' per household account.
Use one of those.

Or, if the mail account supports adding it then use
sharedaccount+user at example.com

The mail all gets delivered to the 'sharedaccount' mailbox but smarter
clients can look for the + suffix and use it.  Try sending a message to your
friend's account and see if that works.  Some support it, some don't.  This
would give them an identifier that's 'unique' but it wouldn't help if other
systems took the known mail address, hashed it and used it as a search key
among other foafspaces.

But fundamentally it's just a much more sensible idea to tell them to use
one account per-person.  Even if it's just a matter of using some freebie
service like hotmail.

-Bill Kearney

More information about the foaf-dev mailing list