Marc Canter posted a lengthy reply to my previous post about reblg. It's a great point-by-point answer, and has been clarified somewhat through conversation as well. He really has a grand vision of a microcontent mesh, and it's both aspirational and achievable, so I'm into it. There are still a few difficulties I'm having with it, though, mostly of the "metacrap" variety.
Overall I'm really into the possibilities here, because I think that microformats have great potential to pick up some of the sem-web slack in a way that's incrementally reachable.
Marc lists a few benefits for content creators in addition to the ones I mentioned. One is:
It's imperative that the structure of the microformat or micro-content be maintained. This is the 'challange' that RSS has put us into - services like UpComing.org enable subscription to one's personal events, but the structure of the event is lost. That's gotta stop. We NEED to maintain the structure of stuctured content!
Okay, yes. But right now I subscribe to an iCal version of my Upcoming.org events, and they appear in my calendar app along with all my other events and appointments. That's not just structure, it's structure in a format I can use directly. hCal isn't there just yet, and it's the easiest one of the microformats to render unambiguously. Imagine hReview butting up against straw man #7.
Something else he says, later:
Going back to the islands of functionality..... For us (as an industry) to equal Longhorn and whatever Apple comes up with - it's imperative that we come up with techniques to implement the mesh. A mesh that inter-connects tools togfether. That's the infrastructure we're proposing.
I'm curious why Google isn't on the list with Apple and Microsoft. I view them as being in the best possible position to provide the kinds of aggregation services that microformats need, and the least likely to cooperate openly. Just as tags are useless without a Del.icio.us or Flickr to provide a comparative context, semantic microcontent requires that like be compared with like for it to make any sense. A decent search engine that was microcontent-aware would certainly help, and this seems to be exactly what Marc's proposing.
I bet it would take Google a month tops to implement the expected response for a search like "format:hcal san francisco skinny puppy shows".
Marc pledges not to commericialize the data, which is a bit of a bummer to me. Having a plan for commercialization up-front means that you're prepared for the eventuality (because it always comes up), and you're talking about it from day one so nobody from the information-wants-to-be-free crowd freaks out down the line.
Anyway, it's a lot to digest. Especially as it relates to ReBlog, because there's so much overlap it's scary. He's right that we're converging on the same spot from different direction - ReBlg has the big picture with not a lot of proof-of-concept, while ReBlog has been working pretty well for a year now in the specific domain of RSS content curation. It's a few plug-ins and bookmarklets away from realizing half this stuff.