authorship is a claim about who the author(s) of a post are.
How to determine authorship of a post on a page - AKA the Authorship discovery algorithm / processing model for implementations.
- start with a particular
h-entryto determine authorship for, and no
author. if no
h-entry, then there's no post to find authorship for, abort.
- parse the
- if the
authorproperty, use that
- otherwise if the h-entry has a parent
authorproperty, use that
- if an
authorproperty was found
- if it has an h-card, use it, exit.
- otherwise if
authorproperty is an
http(s)URL, let the author-page have that URL
- otherwise use the
authorproperty as the author name, exit
- if there is no author-page and the
h-entry's page is a permalink page, then
- if there is an author-page URL
- get the author-page from that URL and parse it for microformats2
- if author-page has 1+
uid== author-page's URL, then use first such
- else if author-page has 1+
urlproperty which matches the
hrefof a rel-me link on the author-page (perhaps the same hyperlink element as the u-url, though not required to be), use first such
- if the
h-entry's page has 1+
url== author-page URL, use first such
- otherwise no deterministic author can be found. Implementations are encouraged to document additional heuristics below for consideration for incorporation in to the authorship algorithm.
Note: the steps of checking for "url == uid == page's URL" and "url that's also a rel-me" were incorporated inline from the steps for parsing a representative h-card. Some improvements have been made here due to feedback from implementations in practice, and those improvements should be incorporated into an iteration of representative h-card.
- In step 7, "if author-page has 1+ h-card...", can you clarify the meaning of "has"? In my implementation, I was checking for the presence of this h-card by iterating through all top-level "items" on the page and checking those. However, I believe I found an example where this fails. When the home page h-card is actually the "author" property of the top-level h-feed, my consuming code doesn't find this h-card. Is this sentence intended to match this case? If so, clarification on what it means to say a page "has" an h-card would be helpful. Parsing the HTML for h-card will easily find this h-card, but once you're working with the mf2 parsed result, it is buried a little deeper in the data structure. Aaron Parecki 06:45, 24 February 2017 (PST)
- sknebel 2017-05-13: "if there is no author-page and the h-entry's page is a permalink page": What makes a page a permalink page? url == u-url? only one root h-entry on the page (and no feed)?
- HTML files for testing out the above Authorship Algorithm (replace raw.github.com with rawgithub.com to serve the pages with text/html):
Authorship can potentially be spoofed, as the current algorithm may only look at the markup within an arbitrary page to determine the author.
- http://waterpigs.co.uk/notes/4QbH5C/ (search for "Whose articles are these")
was not actually written by aaronpk, but posted on a debian pastebin site and linked via a webmention.
- http://aaronparecki.com/notes/2013/10/12/2/indieweb (search for "How does parsing work")
is similarly spoofed.
http://checkmention.appspot.com allows you to test receiving a spoofed webmention from Jonathan Ive.
Does not implement standards
The algorithm described above does only rely on new markup, but does not consider the page's head meta and link tags with rel="author". They have been used since HTML 3.02 and are still defined in HTML5:
A lot of steps could be expanded (have discovery steps check for a list of authors, do "enrichment" steps for each of them individually) for dealing with multiple authors. Do we have examples of posts published with multiple authors?
Theoretical issues are grouped here for capturing purposes. If you find a real world example of one of these, feel free to promote it to an actual issue with its own === subhead.
- string-only author: What to do if page h-entry has an author property which is not an h-card, but a string? Treat as empty and continue to fallback methods?
- Algorithm updated for handling a string-only author that is a URL. See 5.2.
- This probably isn’t worth discussing much as I can’t find a single example of this in the wild, but as it’s supported in the h-entry spec (“optionally embedded h-card(s)) it might be worth considering/specifying for when it does happen --Barnaby Walters 15:26, 17 January 2014 (PST)
- Aaron Parecki's new site is now an example in the wild, e.g. https://aaronparecki.com/2016/04/06/15/ Kylewm.com 14:04, 7 April 2016 (PDT)
Name avatar display in comments
In comments-presentation, it describes how a site that accepts indieweb reply posts via webmention can retrieve those replies and display them as full-fledged comments on a post, including name and icon/avatar of commenter.
Name avatar display in a reader
In a reader (feature of an IndieWeb site), it's nice to show the name and icon/avatar of the person whose posts you're reading from their indieweb home page h-feed.
Typically this name/icon information is found via the authorship algorithm.
In some (many?) cases, an indieweb h-feed of h-entry elements does not have explicit author information for a couple of reasons:
- No author information inside each h-entry, because it would be redundant, since all the entries (the entire h-feed) are from the same author.
- No rel=author link, because the page itself is likely the home page and thus page representing the author.
- Tantek Çelik's home page at http://tantek.com/
<a class="u-author" href="/"></a>inside
h-entrybut there doesn't seem to be much interest in handling that. Also am leaning against having to include such seemingly empty / non-visible markup just to work around algorithm limitations.
Fallback to page representative h-card
Proposal: we could add one more fallback to lack of author h-card, or lack of rel-author, and that is to use the page being processed as the author-page if no other author page has yet been found.
I.e. change "7. if there is an author-page URL " to "7. if there is no author-page URL, use the page itself as the author-page URL" and then continue processing the rest of the algorithm accordingly.
This would handle the examples from above:
Fallback to icon for photo
Proposal: if the author doesn't have a photo in their entry h-card, and they also don't have a photo on their representative h-card, but you still want to display a photo as an avatar, how about looking for an icon in the head of the document?
If a rel="icon" value exists that is using type="image/jpg" (or maybe type="image/png", but *not* type="image/ico"), then that image could be used an avatar. If a sizes attribute exists, a parser can look for the most appropriate size for display as an avatar.
This could be used as a last resort if every other photo discovery mechanism fails to return an image.
(idea by Loic)
Examples of sites with icons, but without photos in h-cards:
Algorithm Design Notes
Why do we parse for the authorship details in the order that we do?
First, we prefer the p-author of the h-entry first because that is the most direct way of specifying the information, visibly, on the page. There's also established practice among indieweb sites of publishing a mini h-card with photo, name (sometimes as the alt text of the photo img), and URL to the person's indieweb site root / home page. Also, it may be possible that the post is a guest post, in which case we really want the post-specific authorship information rather than anything general to the site.
Only if the post itself lacks direct authorship information do we fall back to checking for a rel-author link, which is a fairly well established practice for linking from posts to pages representing authors.
On such sites that use rel-author, they almost always point to a page that has a much richer h-card about the author than the post page itself, including a much higher likelihood of having a good photo / avatar image as part of that h-card. Thus we next prefer to go retrieve that rel-author destination, and look for a representative h-card there (per the "url == uid == page's URL" and "url that's also a rel-me" steps noted above).
Only if the rel-author page lacks an h-card do we then fallback to looking for a likely smaller (if present) h-card on the post page itself that has a u-url of the same value as the destination of the rel-author, thus indicating that it is an h-card for the author.
php mf2 getAuthor
barnabywalters/mf-cleaner getAuthor() implements several extra steps whilst missing out the steps above which require fetching another URL — at the moment getAuthor completely lacks side effects:
- If the given h-entry has an author or reviewer (for compat. with h-review if it doesn’t become more consistent with h-entry) property:
- if the found value is a string, search all the h-cards on the page for one with a name property equal to the found value, and return it
- If the found value is a microformat, return it
- Look for page-scoped rel-author, search all the h-cards on the page for one with a url property equal to the first rel-author value — if found, return it
- If a page URL is given, or the h-entry has a url property, search all h-cards on the page for one where the domain of their url property is the same as the domain of the found url — if found return that
- Otherwise return the first found h-card on the page, or null
- First pass at the authorship algo: get_h_card() (announcement: http://www.sandeep.io/116)
- Should be extracting it into an independent lib soon -Www.sandeep.io 01:23, 24 July 2013 (PDT)
- The XRay API implements the authorship algorithm
- The ProcessWire Webmention plugin handles the authorship algorithm as of 2016-04-10 with the exception of step 4
- gRegor Morrill runs this on gregorlove.com. I'm skipping step 4 for now because it's undecided what the desired behavior would be if an h-feed page sent a webmention.
- dobrado implements the authorship algorithm in it's Post module ReceiveWebmention function: https://gitlab.com/dobrado/dobrado/blob/master/install/Post.php#L841
- SimplePie implements the authorship algorithm in it's Parser class: https://github.com/simplepie/simplepie/blob/master/library/SimplePie/Parser.php#L440
- Implements authorship in getEntryFromUrl(): https://github.com/notenoughneon/mf-obj#getentryfromurl
Support dropped 2014-08-28
- if there's
rel=authorlink on a page