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Humans.txt File


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#1 DCrx

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 11:16 AM

Humanstxt.org is, like the now really defunct, not just seeming defunct Catalyze usability site, not a joke.

It should be. But it isn't. The site blends two powerful traits dominant in web development.

First, renaming a very standard convention from off the web for no good reason: The Colophon. Next, using that pointless new term in the wrong way -- often the opposite of what the term implies. There's a serviceable term for humans.txt. It's called content.

In the olden days, there used to be something called a Read Me First file. That would seem to give human readers something analogous to robots.txt for humans.

For some topics where a couple of intro paragraphs are not enough, a ReadMeFirst page could be a way to get visitors up to speed on the relevant issues, without leaving the site for research.

Some sites have pages on, for instance, window treatments. They influence shoppers coming to the site just to get a window blind to consider a wider array of products than their initial task calls for. Optional, such pages are different than, say, the idea behind the splash page.

Only in Terminator movies and real life web design does the world go topsy-turvy like this.

Edited by DCrx, 20 February 2011 - 11:41 AM.


#2 jonbey

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 11:39 AM

Don't get it. A file for humans but presented in the same way as you presnt the one for robots?

Got About and Credits pages that himans can find in the nav, do not need a file only pssoble to find in the source code. Besides, how do you show photos eh?

Very silly.

#3 DCrx

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 11:45 AM

Very silly.


And very fitting for the web. Totally misses every point, hence a candidate for best practice.

Welcome to my nightmare.

Edited by DCrx, 20 February 2011 - 11:47 AM.


#4 iamlost

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 12:30 PM

I will take your word that this is not a joke.
Although it reads more like the result of university late night intoxicated philosophical 'problem' solving.

Thank you for reminding me of the colophon. I had grown accustomed to the About. Mea culpa.

Given the meta tag 'author', the DC.meta tag 'creator', the aforementioned 'About' page, and similar existing insecure, unverifiable, self-identifying methods for claiming responsibility for a page's, a site's content I wonder: do we really need to reinvent what we already have?

Or do we need to read, to comprehend, to critique, to question, to be human?

Bah!
Humantxt is unnecessary for humans.

#5 DCrx

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 12:59 PM

do we really need to reinvent what we already have?


I find this consistent with, changing not one iota or tool of method, caling usability in turn ....engageability ...identity ... attunement ...user experience and (of course) progressive enhancement.

In other words "new and improved" but not changed in any way that matters. It's funny, but less amusing than in that way of "am I smelling something funny here or ...what IS that ?!"

Something stinks. While I am not yet sure what, the details will emerge shortly. Humans.txt is a misnomer in any case, and done without so much as a nod to the purpose robots.txt serves.

Edited by DCrx, 20 February 2011 - 01:07 PM.


#6 bwelford

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 01:13 PM

Well let me as usual take a contrary position. I think it's useful to be able to find key information in one standard place. The Colophon is fine by me.

I too tried some time back to suggest a way of attaching a physical location to a website with what I called the luri.html. That was greeted with a similar amount of indifference. :(

#7 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 01:42 PM

It looks to me like an attempt to ferret out autogenerated Websites, which don't currently have the ability to generate these kinds of text files.

If the convention becomes popular enough the files will be autopopulated (probably with the kinds of gibberish names that forum profile spammers use).

Only time will tell if it's a good idea but I think it's too early to conclude that it's a bad idea.

#8 jonbey

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 10:30 PM

Well, you are the sort of person that takes the approach "why not, cannot do any harm and may do some good" and also run a WP site, then there is a plugin to manage this info through the CMS - http://wordpress.org...ins/humans-txt/

(I still think it is a daft idea, why not just have "standards" on what appears in about pages?)



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