[SPEC] Backwards-compatible metadata in Gemini

nothien at uber.space nothien at uber.space
Tue Feb 23 19:08:48 GMT 2021

I'm just going to quickly address everything about the metadata ideas /

    They're not necessary.

I'm going to split it into two groups: metadata affecting presentation,
and metadata about the document.

# Metadata for Presentation

Gemini is (in specification and in spirit) against any specification of
presentation.  Stuff like favicons or colors as a part of the document
are problematic because you're going above and beyond the /one/ thing
that Gemini is trying to do: provide content without presentation.
Instead of trying to introduce these, please work within the limits that
Gemini has already presented to you.

# Metadata for the Document

What's the /point/ of standardizing a format for providing metadata
about a document?  Seriously, I don't understand.  What's the benefit of
letting a client know who the author is?  If you, an author, want users
to know that you wrote something, just write "I wrote this".  These
kinds of proposals are unnecessary.  If you want it to be read properly
by a screen reader, just write in full sentences ('this was written on
the 23rd of February').  Keep it open, prevent it from turning into a
matter of convention, and think about how to solve problems /without/
extending the specification in any way.  Even if it's
"backward-compatible", you're creating a rift in Gemini - see "Problems
with Conventions" below.

# "It's Just A Suggestion/Idea"

The problem with 'just' posting ideas and suggestions and proposals like
these is that they waste everyone's time (including yours).  Instead of
trying to add new, unnecessary, and unwanted features to Gemini, start
creating content within it!  We (and I'm speaking for a lot of people
here) are tired of dealing with new ideas from eager new Geminiauts who
keep trying (consciously or unconsciously) to reinvent the Web.  Please
/stop/ thinking about Gemini like it's the Web, or a replacement, or
anything of the sort!  Come to Gemini with an open mind to what it's
trying to do.  Read the spec, read the FAQ, read the companion
documents, read the mailing list, and /understand/ the spirit of Gemini.

# The Problem with Conventions

Conventions are naturally difficult because you're politely asking
people to do something.  This separates the Gemini userbase into people
who have done that thing and people who haven't.  If you want to create
a new convention, /please/ think about the effect this can have,
particularly with conventions involving presentation.  As others have
pointed out, every new convention threatens to make a split in the user
base, and if anyone (user or site) can for any reason prefer one side
over the other, you've begun the process of separation.  Don't do that,
because we're just going to have to shoot your shit down.

# Compatibility

Another issue with conventions is the fact that we have over 200
individual pieces of software which use Gemini in its current state.
This makes Gemini /very/ resistant to change, because we don't have the
manpower to update all of that software.  This is why the spec is now in
a near-freeze state - all we want to do now is make clarifications to
the existing spec and to not add new things.

# Conclusion

Please stop.


~aravk | ~nothien

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