Re: [apps-discuss] The acct: scheme question

"Paul E. Jones" <> Thu, 24 May 2012 02:44 UTC

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From: "Paul E. Jones" <>
To: 'William Mills' <>, 'Melvin Carvalho' <>, 'John Bradley' <>
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Date: Wed, 23 May 2012 22:44:02 -0400
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Subject: Re: [apps-discuss] The acct: scheme question
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You're correct, though WebFinger could accept any URI, including "mailto".
The question is "what should a WF server return for such a URI?"  The same
information as for a user account ("acct")?  Something related to the user's
mail server or services?  Something else?


The use of "mailto:" is one of convenience since it's defined, but not the
right solution, IMO.


I mentioned before that "acct" was felt necessary after much debate (like
we're having now) since there are user accounts on domains for which there
is no associated email ID or where it just does not make sense.  I've
provided some examples before (twitter, photo sharing site, file sharing
site, etc.).


At the end of the day, we have the option to define an account URI for use
with WebFinger or to overload another to query for information related to a
user account.  The problem is that there are no others that are really
appropriate to overload.  Overloading "http:" using something like is not a good choice since there just
might be some domains already that use URLs of this form for other reasons
and querying those via WebFinger might return an XRD or JRD related to that
existing URL.  Mailto is not right, though it could be used for sites that
have email IDs.  But, arguing for use of "mailto:" is on par with arguing
for the use of "sip:".  Why do we propose using "mailto" but not "sip" or
"xmpp" or "h323"?  They could all be hacked for our purpose ;-)


The "acct" URI scheme has a narrow scope, well-defined application, no
conflicts with other URIs (that could also be used with WF for some
applications), does not overload / hack existing schemes, etc.  Thus, as
I've said before, I think it's a reasonable solution, even if it's not
necessarily the most appreciated URI scheme out there.  I suspect
appreciation for that URI scheme will grow with wider deployment of
WebFinger, though.




From: []
On Behalf Of William Mills
Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 2:37 PM
To: Melvin Carvalho; John Bradley
Subject: Re: [apps-discuss] The acct: scheme question


I would argue that discovery for mailto: is covered by MX records in DNS,



From: Melvin Carvalho <>
To: John Bradley <> 
Cc: "" <> 
Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 9:03 AM
Subject: Re: [apps-discuss] The acct: scheme question



On 22 May 2012 22:35, John Bradley <> wrote:

While minimizing work is valuable.  Minimizing risk is also.

WF should work with any URI.

While I dont mind whether WF works with any URI or not.  It should be noted:

http already has discovery (follow your nose)

xmpp i believe already has discovery

mailto: is the gap that it would be good to close

were there any alternate schemes that there is a use case for, other than
the 3 above?

It should not be dependant on acct:


acct: will undergo more scrutiny than WF to get approved as a scheme.


John B.

On 2012-05-22, at 3:54 PM, Peter Saint-Andre wrote:

> On 5/22/12 1:22 PM, William Mills wrote:
>> I say leave acct: in the current spec.  While I don't think it's
>> strictly necessary for the purposes of WF I don't think it's a
>> significant flaw either.  I also think breaking it out into a separate
>> spec at this point is just extra work.
> Probably, yes. Minimizing the work is valuable.
> /psa

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