Specification For HTML Meta Element with Name Value Pro-Auth-Field


Section 1: Introduction

This is the specification for the HTML meta element with the name attribute value set to “pro-auth-field”. This is version 1.0.2 of this specification. Non-normatively, there is an article about this specification and closely-related specifications include Specification For HTML Meta Element with Name Value Pro, Specification For HTML Meta Element with Name Value Pro-Auth, and Specification For HTML Meta Element with Name Value Pro-Auth-Fragment.

HTML is the HyperText Markup Language, which is a commonly used, perhaps the most commonly used, non-natural language for pages hosted on the World Wide Web. HTML is generally written approximately in accordance with specifications that have been revised several times. Two of those HTML specifications are the HTML Living Standard (as updated and (One-Page Version treated here as if authoritative) (<https://html.spec.whatwg.org/>, as accessed and )) and HTML 5.1 (version of ) (<http://www.w3.org/TR/html51/single-page.html>, as accessed before and on ). The HTML Living Standard is maintained by the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) and HTML 5.1 is maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Each of those HTML specifications specifies numerous elements and, in section 4.2.5 of each such HTML specification, one such element is the meta element. For that element, each of those HTML specifications specifies attributes including the name attribute, specifies some names that can be values for that attribute (limited to one such value per such attribute per such element), and provides, in section 4.2.5.2 of each such HTML specification, a means by which extensional or additional names may be proposed to be values for that attribute, each such proposal to include a link to a specification for that extensional or additional name. This specification may appropriately be linked to from such a proposal.

This specification, as published on this page and which, except as otherwise stated, is normative, shall also apply, insofar as compatible, to any specification of the HTML Living Standard or of HTML 5.1 other than those referenced above and of any version preceding or succeeding HTML 5.1; except that it shall not apply to any page authored before this specification was first published (the date of such first publication being stated below).

Sec. 1.1: Definitions and Construction

The words and phrases must, must not, required, shall, shall not, should, should not, recommended, may, and optional in this specification and regardless of capitalization are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 (also known as BCP 14).

Authority is as defined in the specification for the HTML meta element with the name attribute value set to “pro-auth”.

Expertise is as defined in the specification for the HTML meta element with the name attribute value set to “pro”.

The word field, as used in this specification, is a noun that means ‘subject’ or ‘topic’.

A partial URL is as defined in the specification for the HTML meta element with the name attribute value set to “pro-auth”.

In this specification, if a string, including a null string and a non-null string with no visible or displaying characters, is rendered (including being displayed) with or surrounded by single quotation marks which are curved when a font in which this specification may be displayed has single quotation marks as both straight and curved or is rendered (including being displayed) with or surrounded by double quotation marks which are curved when a font in which this specification may be displayed has double quotation marks as both straight and curved, then the quotation marks that may thus be curved are, unless otherwise stated in this specification, not part of the string. Thus, generally, the string represented by “example” is only seven characters long, not nine.

Sec. 1.2: Problem Being Solved

This specification, together with those for the HTML meta elements with the name attribute value set to “pro”, “pro-auth”, or “pro-auth-fragment”, is intended to aid search engines and directory compilers in evaluating the authority of World Wide Web sites that purport to offer expertise; and other uses are not forbidden by this specification.

The balance of this subsection is non-normative.

With respect to all four of the elements: Expertise can be difficult to evaluate except by authorities on the same subject. Without reliable evaluations, search engine results may elevate inexpert websites above expert websites because of unrelated factors. A solution is to consider the advice of known knowledgeable authorities, especially those generally recognized for their authority. A professional organization, government agency, scholar, journalist, publisher of peer-reviewed works, judging panel awarding widely-respected merit-based prizes, or other entity that recognizes expertise within a fragment may be an authority that may recognize some specific websites as having related expertise. A website and an authority may agree with each other that the website likely provides expert content. Meta elements could establish that relationship. A search engine’s management could then decide how much trust or weight to give the authority. Judging each website’s level of expertise would not be necessary for the search engine to do, because that would be left to the authority who has a list of experts. The search engine’s management would only have to evaluate how much weight the particular authority deserves. Judging a small number of authorities would be easier than judging a large number of experts, saving the search engine’s human staff time and allowing more reliance on automated algorithms.

With respect to the element under this specification (“pro-auth-field”): A relationship of authority is ordinarily within a field of expertise or several of them, but is never on everything. So that search engines can determine a subject field of expertise, this “pro-auth-field” tag would be added to a page that has the “pro-auth” tag. The “pro-auth-field” tag would state the field according to the party with authority. If more than one field of expertise applies, more than one “pro-auth-field” tag would be on the page. No controlled vocabulary is provided for this element’s content value, in order to encourage precision and accuracy by page authors relative to the authority’s specializations. (Authors could consider relying on a book library’s standard cataloguing system for a vocabulary, but it is not required.) With a statement about a field, the search engine’s algorithms and humans could make a judgment about its importance. For example, perhaps no one should be considered an authority on dragons at the center of Earth, no matter what a website says or who the authority is. (For example, one person was a professor of psychology and later wrote at length about reports of alien abductions, apparently agreeing with some of the reports; a search engine staff might consider him an authority on psychology but not on alien abductions.) Thus, proponents of subjects of little or no importance would get little encouragement to use this system, as they’d be unlikely to benefit.

Sec. 2: Method

If there is an HTML meta element with the name attribute value set to “pro-auth”, there shall be an HTML meta element with the name attribute value set to “pro-auth-field” and the content attribute value set to one name or description of one field of expertise claimed by the creator of the page (the element (with the name attribute value set to “pro-auth-field”) herein referred to, regardless of the content attribute value, as “such meta ‘pro-auth-field’ element”). The content attribute value for one such name or description may include spaces and commas. If the content attribute value for one such name or description includes one or mnore apostrophes or quotation marks, they must be curved. If the value is a description and if the description includes two or more descriptors, the order from beginning to end should be from general to specific (non-normatively, it is noted that it is not always possible to determine which descriptor is more general than another in the value) (a non-normative example is “France Paris”). Non-normatively, it is noted that anyone is free to agree or disagree in whole or in part and to any degree with respect to a claim of expertise in a field and to do so differently for a different field.

A creator or website owner must not claim to be an expert in every field and must not be treated or processed as an expert in every field. If such meta “pro-auth-field” element has its content attribute value set to be null or set to nothing except one or more asterisks, question marks, commas, and spaces, such meta “pro-auth-field” element shall be ignored.

There may be more than one such meta “pro-auth-field” element. If there are more than one such meta “pro-auth-field” element with identical content attribute values, all such meta “pro-auth-field” elements with identical content attribute values except one such element shall be ignored. Non-normatively, expertise in more than one field justifies having more than one such meta “pro-auth-field” element, each with a different content attribute value.

If there is no HTML meta element with the name attribute value set to “pro-auth”, there shall not be any such meta “pro-auth-field” element.

The absence of such meta “pro-auth-field” element shall not have a meaning other than possibly of nonconformance with this specification.

This specification does not require or recommend that any entity have any responsibility for any person, website, content, or usage not otherwise the responsibility of such entity. The duty of such entity to act in accordance with law is irrespective of this specification. Non-normatively, it is noted that such entity should consider the risks of authority and of claiming, providing, publishing, associating with, and promoting purported authority with respect to expertise and may disclaim to the extent permitted by law.

Whether such meta “pro-auth-field” element is absent or not, anyone (this non-normatively includes search engines and Web directory editors) may use other means to determine a field of expertise and may decline so to determine.

Sec. 3: Security, History, and Backwards Compatibility

This section is non-normative except as otherwise stated.

Sec. 3.1: Security

A creator or website owner may prefer privacy against disclosing to the public the field or fields of expertise claimed by the creator or owner, respectively or not, and thus by implication fields of less or no expertise, but use of this meta element may preclude such privacy. Otherwise, no security implication has been identified with respect to this specification.

Sec. 3.2: History

The original author and editor of this specification, except as otherwise stated, was Nick Levinson, who can be contacted through a link on this page.

Version 1 of this specification was published on this page on . Version 1 was revised into version 1.0.1, erroneously self-identified as version 1 and published on ; it should normatively be known as version 1.0.1. Version 1.0.1 was revised into this version.

Sec. 3.3: Backwards Compatibility

In a future version, backwards compatibility should be provided.

Sec. 4: Intellectual Property For This Specification

Sec. 4.1: Copyright Status

Insofar as lawful, with respect to the CC0 1.0 Universal legal tool (herein “CC0”) (summarized at https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) (both URLs as accessed ) of the Creative Commons Corporation, Nick Levinson, the original author and editor of this specification, has, upon first publication of this specification, hereby become the Affirmer under CC0 and hereby elected to apply CC0 to this specification, to publicly distribute this specification, and to make this specification available all as provided for in CC0 and hereby waived, abandoned, surrendered, granted, affirmed, offered, and disclaimed all as provided for in CC0 with respect to this specification.

Sec. 4.2: Trademarks, Endorsements, and Associations

“Creative Commons” is a trademark of Creative Commons Corporation; use of such trademark does not imply endorsement by or association with Creative Commons Corporation.

“CC0” is a trademark of Creative Commons Corporation; use of such trademark does not imply endorsement by or association with Creative Commons Corporation.

Sec. 4.3: Other Claims

Except as otherwise referenced, the original author and editor of this specification, Nick Levinson, is not aware of any claim by any other person or entity to intellectual property adversely affecting this specification.

Sec. 5: Section Titles Not Restrictive

Titles of sections, including subsections at all subsectional depths, are provided solely for convenience and do not restrict the meaning of the content of the respective sections. Titles of sections include headlines of sections.