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Want to comment on Tim Berners-Lee’s blog? Here’s how November 2, 2007

Posted by shahan in openid, semantic web.

It’s very easy. The Decentralized Information Group (DIG) is where you can find a bit of information on what’s being rolled out regarding the combined use of rdf and openid and is also host to several blogs. In order to comment, wise techniques have been implemented to block spammers through the use of openid, rdf, and a basic trust metric. Before someone can login to post, the person must be placed on a whitelist. You cannot create an account on the site; openid is used to login. To compute the basic trust metric of being known within 2 degrees of separation (a person at DIG knows someone who knows someone), you require a FOAF file. The following is a list of steps I took to get whitelisted:

1. WordPress provides an openid url for me, it’s the address of my blog; https://vannevarvision.wordpress.com

2. I generated a FOAF file through the FOAF-a-matic.

3. I copied and pasted the generated rdf from step-2 into a text file called foaf.rdf, and added the line

<foaf:openid rdf:resource="https://vannevarvision.wordpress.com/"/>

before the line


NOTE: this requirement may be removed in the future to use the homepage property instead of the openid property

4. I saved the file, uploaded it to my homepage, and to ensure that Apache Web Server would provide the correct content-type for the rdf file, I added the following line to my .htaccess file:

AddType application/rdf+xml rdf

5. I joined the Semantic Web Interest Group’s IRC channel, where I asked whether anyone would be kind enough to add me to their ‘knows’ list in their own FOAF properties.

6. Sean B. Palmer(sbp) and Dan Connolly (DanC) were kind enough to look at my blog to see that I don’t have spammer intentions so Sean added me to his FOAF, validated it, then reran the script on the blog server to add me to the whitelist.

7. I’m now able to login to the DIG site using my openid url

It was a very easy and quick process though I had the advantage of a blog dating from last year with a few posts on XML and microformats, not entirely out of scope from the semantic web community. Thanks to sbp and DanC for their help.

Recommended References:

FOAF and OpenID: two great tastes that taste great together by Dan Connolly

Whitelisting blog post by Sean B. Palmer



1. Mike Linksvayer » bar : sex :: social networking site : spam - November 23, 2007

[…] social networks could be used to fight spam and otherwise bootstrap reputation systems. I am mildly surprised that although trust is perhaps […]

2. monkinetic | Blog Archive » Making a list: Whitelisting with OpenId and XFN - November 26, 2007

[…] Sean Palmer has a deeper, very interesting description of the process that went into the system, and Shahan Khatchadourian describes how it works for a new user […]

3. Way To Go! » Blog Archive » Giant Global Graph - June 21, 2010

[…] In the short, what-can-I-code-up-this-afternoon-to-fix-this term, it is about other sites following the lead of my.opera.com, livejournal, advogato, and so on (list) also exporting a public RDF URI for their members, with what information the person would like to share.Right now, this blog re-uses the FOAF data linked to us to fight spam. […]

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