IndieWebCamp 2015: July 11-12 in Portland, Oregon and Brighton, UK!

Semantics Of Article-Note Distinction

The distinction between what gets presented (and syndicated etc.) as an article and what gets presented (and syndicated etc.) as a note is not necessarily clear. This page is to collect various ideas about what that distinction means in reality.


Formal distinctions (in specifications)

TODO: list what specifications like ActivityStreams etc. say about the distinction between an article and a note.

Personal, subjective distinctions

  • Tom Morris: for me, it's "could I plausibly have written this on an iPad?" if yes, it's a note. if not, it's an article.
  • Tantek:
    biggest distinction between article/note is the presence/absence of a post name/title.
    the only useful distinction I've found between article and note is - does it have non-trivial structure and/or is it worth naming? if so, then article, else note
    also, is it just plain text? then likely a note. as soon as you start writing/pasting markup, even just an iframe, your post is now leaning towards being an article.
    implicit markup rather than explicit markup. implicit = autolinking/embedding when displaying a note rather than explicit <a href> / <iframe> / <img> markup in an article.
  • Brennan Novak: I agree with Tom, so long as "written... on an iPad" refers to the length of a an article, which "shorter" is more in the spirit of how I see Notes developing. I absolutely agree with Tantek about Notes not having a title. I also think a huge difference is that Articles embed HTML content (pictures, audio, or video) directly in the body of the Article whereas Notes (as on Twitter, Facebook, only ever have URL's, @useranmes, and #hashtags are inside the body of the Note they are not rendered as interactive HTML elements in the transport themselves. Thus, processing or parsing of a @username is up to the platform pub/sub'ing the Note, whereas with an Article, RSS transports raw HTML that's then rendered as such. I am leaning towards Notes (like email) having attachments which can be any type of custom HTML or Non HTML content. See example email style note attachment
  • Aaron Parecki: Notes are purely plaintext and have no title. Articles have a title and contain HTML. By sticking with plaintext notes, I can easily syndicate nice-looking content to Twitter or other IndieWeb sites, since I don't have to worry what they are going to do with my HTML.
  • Sandeep Shetty: There is no distinction for me. It's all just plain text (markdown) content and everything is syndicatable to Twitter/Facebook.
  • Ryan Barrett: I'm with Sandeep. I get the idea, and the motivation for safely syndicating to Twitter etc, but the question keeps coming up regularly and consuming a lot of brain cycles and code. I wonder if any value we get from trying to maintain a rough consensus is worth it.
  • Shane Hudson: I class notes as shortform and articles as longform. I tend to think of articles as taking more time/effort. Both can contain links and media. Notes syndicate and articles would have a link on Twitter/Facebook with perhaps an excerpt. I usually class posts about code to be articles rather than notes, I suppose it is a question of 'authority'... with notes being more spur of the moment and articles being more thoughtful. But perhaps that's just me!


See Also