Re: [link-relations] NEW RELATION REQUEST - pingback

Ian Hickson <> Wed, 11 August 2010 04:49 UTC

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Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2010 04:50:07 +0000 (UTC)
From: Ian Hickson <>
To: Mark Nottingham <>
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Subject: Re: [link-relations] NEW RELATION REQUEST - pingback
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On Wed, 11 Aug 2010, Mark Nottingham wrote:
> > 
> > The draft is frozen. Is there no way to register a link relation for 
> > old drafts? The HTML4 relations were registered without modifying 
> > HTML4, no?
> Yes - they were registered in an RFC.

I see.

> > I'm not especially interested in publishing this document through the 
> > IETF process (it would appear to be entirely busywork with no upside); 
> > does that mean that it isn't possible to register this relation?
> If you meet the "RFC or Open Standard" test, it's possible to register 
> it.

But there's no way to meet it that doesn't involve lots of busy work?

> Note that publishing on the independent submission Informational RFC 
> track isn't really "through the IETF process" -- it's at the discretion 
> of the RFC Editor, which is a separate entity. See:
> While I can't say that it's necessarily a quick process, the amount of 
> work involved (beyond draft formatting) is relatively low

Draft formatting is plenty of work already. All I'm trying to do here is 
make people who are interested in knowing what "pingback" means be able to 
find out, and make people who might be tempted to use that name aware of 
the existence of the keyword's existing use. Having to republish an eight 
year old spec seems like a lot of overhead.

> and there are a few upsides, including:
> 1) RFCs are institutionally guaranteed not to change over time; you say 
> that the spec is frozen, but there aren't checks or balances, nor 
> conventions in place, to prevent future changes.

True, but presumably that's actually a good thing -- it means that if 
reality changes, and the spec is updated accordingly, the registration 
will still track it. It would seem that preventing changes is a bug, not a 
feature. (The spec is only currently frozen because Stuart and I don't 
think it needs changing at the moment and don't want to ramp up the 
process of changing it.)

> 2) When you die and your Web site disappears, an RFC will have a better 
> chance of persisting in an unambiguous state.

I don't think there's any risk of the pingback spec's state becoming 
ambiguous. If goes down, and people still care about the spec, 
someone can put up a copy elsewhere and update the registration. That 
doesn't seem like a problem of any practical importance.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'