Specification For HTML Meta Element with Name Value Pro


Section 1: Introduction

This is the specification for the HTML meta element with the name attribute value set to “pro”. 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-Auth, Specification For HTML Meta Element with Name Value Pro-Auth-Field, 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, except where otherwise required by the context, includes ‘purported expertise’.

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-auth”, “pro-auth-field”, 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”): An expert’s page/s would have this “pro” metatag, but the tag by itself would not prove that the page renders expertise. Somewhere on the Web, an authority would have to have a “pro-auth” metatag and a link to the page with the “pro” metatag. That would suggest a relationship of authority. Then, if a search engine agrees on the authority as deserving weight on the subject, the search engine could assume the expert is really an expert and deserves a higher position in search results. Because each party could unilaterally pull out of the relationship at any time, the search engine need not be stuck using stale information about an expired or changed relationship.

Sec. 2: Method

There may be an HTML meta element with the name attribute value set to “pro” (herein referred to as “such meta ‘pro’ element”). (Non-normatively, it is noted that this element would not ordinarily be added to every page of a website or to its home page, although exceptions are possible.) If such meta “pro” element is present, it shall have the content attribute value set to include a token identical to the partial URL (the token herein referred to as the “partial URL”) in the content attribute value of an HTML meta element with the name attribute value set to “pro-auth” on a page that could exist somewhere on the Internet (non-normatively, both the “pro” and “pro-auth” elements with the same partial URL do not have to exist simultaneously on the Web, thus it is possible to author either page first as long as the partial URL is known, although without both existing simultaneously there would be no relationship of authority between them).

There may be more than one such meta “pro” element, each with a different partial URL. If there are more than one such meta “pro” element with the same partial URL, all shall be determinative (non-normatively, this would be important if the elements functionally differ for another reason, generally the inclusion or omission of another token).

Any such partial URL may not include a wildcard but may include a question mark indicating a query component within the partial URL. Such partial URL in any such meta “pro” element shall not itself be a link. Such partial URL shall not depend on the presence of an HTML base element for a portion of the partial URL, regardless of the degree of similarity between the partial URL and the href attribute value (if any) of the base element.

The content attribute value may include the space-separated caseless token “true” or “false”. If it does:

  • — “true” affirms the relationship of authority indicated by the partial URL and has the same meaning as the absence of either the token “true” or the token “false” (non-normatively, it is noted that this token is generally trivial)

  • — “false” denies the relationship of authority indicated by the partial URL and has the same meaning as the omission of the element, with “false” being applicable to, if the partial URL is for an entire website, each directory, page, query component, and fragment identifier in the website, if the partial URL is for a directory in a website, each page, query component, and fragment identifier in the directory, if the partial URL is for a page in a website, each query component and fragment identifier in the page, and if the partial URL is for a query component, each fragment identifier in the page retrieved upon application of the query component (non-normatively, it is noted that a search engine could use this to prevent or terminate, essentially at the request of the creator of the page with this element with this token, a relationship of authority with the purported authority indicated by the partial URL)

Non-normatively, it is noted that these tokens, “true” and “false”, would be rare in this context but “false” would be useful for rejecting, and hopefully inducing search engines to prevent or terminate, an unwanted relationship of purported or dubious authority that might lead to expensive bandwidth consumption against the expert.

If the relationship of authority should be affirmed in part and denied in part or if it should be enlarged, or both, the creator of the page with such meta “pro” element may so signify or represent in the renderable content of the page. Non-normatively, this would be appropriate if the degree of expertise is more or less than that claimed for the creator by the authority or if the field of expertise is more or less than that for the authority. Non-normatively, an example would be if the content attribute value for the “pro-auth-field” meta tag is “medicine” but, within the relationship of authority, the creator of the page with a “pro” meta tag specializes only in certain areas of medicine.

If such meta “pro” element is on a page that is not to be exposed to the Internet, in the content attribute value a publicly-undefined token may be present instead of the partial URL provided that “private” as a caseless token is also present and all of the tokens are space-separated from each other. A creator may create or accept a private definition for the publicly-undefined token and an owner of an off-Internet intranet or single computer may, insofar as allowed by law other than this specification, require such acceptance of such a private definition. In the event that such meta “pro” element with such a content attribute value (including the token “private”) is exposed to the Internet, a user agent shall ignore the element.

Non-normatively, it is noted that authoring a page for exposure at one time to a user through the Internet and for exposure at another time to a user not through the Internet might be impracticable because it may be impossible or especially difficult for a user or a user agent to determine whether a request by a user agent for a file (or portion thereof) is transiting or will transit the Internet. Therefore, the balance of this paragraph is normative only if such determination can be made in an instance with respect to a file (or portion thereof) on which such meta “pro” element is present. If a page may be exposed to the Internet at one or more times but not at one or more other times, there may be on such page at least two such meta “pro” elements with at least one such meta “pro” element having the content attribute value set for exposure to the Internet and at least one other such meta “pro” element having the content attribute value set for no exposure to the Internet. If a user or user agent determines that the page (or portion thereof) was retrieved not through the Internet, the user agent shall not process any such meta “pro” element from which in the content attribute value the token “private” is absent. If a user or user agent determines that the page (or portion thereof) was retrieved possibly through the Internet, the user agent shall not process any such meta “pro” element in which in the content attribute value the token “private” is present.

If more than one such meta “pro” element with the content attribute value lacking the token “private” are present, all such meta “pro” elements shall be determinative and the content attribute values shall be processed as having no additional weight due to duplication of such meta “pro” element or of the content attribute value. Non-normatively, it is noted that someone may be considered an expert by two or more authorities, thus justifying two or more “pro” meta elements with different content attribute values.

Any such meta “pro” element with the content attribute value not including the token “private” may include the caseless token “public” space-separated from any other token in such content attribute value. The meaning of the token “public” is the same as the meaning of the absence of both of the tokens “private” and “public”. Both of the tokens “private” and “public” shall not be in the same such meta “pro” element and if both of the tokens “private” and “public” are present in the same such meta “pro” element then the two such tokens in such meta “pro” element shall have the same meaning as if the token “public” was absent. Non-normatively, it is noted that the token “public” is offered for stylistic consistency and for convenience in discussing any such meta “pro” element.

The absence of such meta “pro” element shall not have a meaning.

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 expertise and of claiming, providing, publishing, associating with, and promoting purported expertise and may disclaim to the extent permitted by law.

Anyone (this non-normatively includes search engines and Web directory editors) may use other means to evaluate the degree of expertise to provide or recognize for a page that purports to offer expertise and may decline so to evaluate.

Non-normatively, it is noted that, for the purpose of this specification and for a partial URL, a link element would be less conformant with HTML and not more useful than would be a meta element, because the partial URL in that element’s content value is not intended to be a link in itself and, if present in a link element, may not include a fragment identifier or be limited to a multi-page directory or website and the link element may not be sufficiently extensible as to the relationship the link element is to establish for a page to encompass the purpose intended by this specification; and fulfilling the purpose intended by this specification does not require proposing that an HTML specification be enhanced.

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 information about a relationship of authority, 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.

Prior to the publication of this specification, consideration was given to requiring entry of strings identifying entities (such as organizations and individuals) in lieu of URLs, but it was decided that such strings would need an expensive central database containing millions of the strings and needing maintenance and revenue and that some strings would simply be put into use without being entered into the database, leading to risks of inclarity, intellectual property infringement, and conflict through duplication; but this planned requirement was rejected in favor of partial URLs.

Version 1 of this specification was published on this page on . Version 1 was revised into version 1.0.1 on . 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 organization, 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.