Some RSS readers do an rss:author to email:from mapping, so we should think carefully before allowing anything other than one author. Some weblog entries are co-written, but usually this is clear from context or content. In journalism the common practice is to have one author and zero-or-more contributors. Similarly, we might want one person to take responsibility for a weblog entry (be the author) and have the rest be credited as contributors in the metadata and probably also in the content. Some weblog entries are generated automatically, but even these can be considered to have a program as an author.


Please don't limit your brainstorming with concerns that will break an existing tool.

Place your name by the option you like best: [OpenPoll]
Zero or more authors: CraigEwert, BruceLoebrich, KenMacLeod, ClayShirky, DannyAyers, MikeWarot, StephenFarrell
Exactly one author: SamRuby, BillKearney, MarkPilgrim, AaronSw, JoeMadia, GregReinacker, TimBray, JoeGregorio, TimothyAppnel, MishaDynin, JakeSutton, JeremyGray, TomasJogin
One or more authors: JamesSnell, NickChalko, KevinMcCurley
Define author first: ShelleyPowers, AsbjornUlsberg
Standing aside (see TrueConsensus):


[JamesSnell] Is there any reason why a WellFormedEntry couldn't have more than one author?

[TimothyAppnel] Is there any reason a WellFormedEntry wouldn't have an author -- such as an application or system? Or does a system count as an author?

[SamRuby]: [WWW]NewsGator presents RSS data in Outlook (a newsreader by MSFT). In the process, it maps author to From. I presume that [WWW]HEP does likewise. IMHO, we should think very carefully about what the benefits are to having multiple distinct authors are before we close down this natural mapping.

[BillKearney]: if you need more than one author then have none and use dc:contributor for each of them. Then the readers would have to pick one. Perhaps additionally including an author entity that expresses those members as a group. In RDF this would be trivial to properly express.

[JoeGregorio]: Multiple authors of the same entry seems like a pretty rare occurence. Any lessons from Journalism on this?

[CraigEwert]: A general format for logging interchange shouldn't impose stylistic norms (" persone should take responsibility...") and shouldn't be bound by current CMS capabilities ("...neither ... can handle the concept of multiple authors..."). I've made posts with two coequal authors [WWW] (note that it only lists me, because of software limits). Why not just let it be so; it's not so hard to specify or process (and the processor will have to be prepared for missing or duplicated 'author' anyhow, cause your feeds are untrustworthy).

[DonPark]: Does the number of authors matter when there are no means to count reliably?

[BryantDurrell]: Since email addresses aren't constrained to a 1:1 address:person mapping, I'm not entirely sure there's a dichotomy.

There are two separate issues here:

The same URI may addres both issues. The URI will often be a mailto: (or based on a unique hash from a mailto). But it can also be a personal web page, group web page, or even, as suggested in WikiPageAsEntry, the entry itself.

[ArveBersvendsen, RefactorOk] In a publishing system where the roles and workflow is important, you could for instance have one creator, multiple co-authors, and one person responsible for approving moving the entry from draft to publish.

[AsbjornUlsberg] We definately need multiple authors, but we first need to define what an author is. Also, we need to specify the mechanism and semantics of adding an author to both feeds and entries. I think <contributor> is the best name for the element, but if we must, we can possibly have an <author> element as well. An alternative is to specify what role the contributor had in the current entry with a "role" attribute on <contributor>. I think the latter is more clean.

[KevinMcCurley] I've put together three feeds for scientific literature. More than half of all scientific articles have multiple authors, so it's hardly a rare case. Without this functionality, Atom/RSS will be relegated to a very narrow class of written material, and to insist on a single author is simply unrealistic.

(comments regarding anonymous wiki authors and entries moved to WikiPageAsEntry)

See also Authors, AuthorElement, DefinitionOfAuthorDiscussion