[Standards] privacy lists, block lists, and invisibility

Peter Saint-Andre stpeter at jabber.org
Wed Jan 31 21:58:31 UTC 2007

It's important for us to admit when we are wrong. And I'm starting to 
think that we were wrong to develop block lists (XEP-0191). Are privacy 
lists (XEP-0016) really that complex? Perhaps not, because it seems that 
they are being added to more and more clients and servers. So do we 
really need a simplified front-end to privacy lists, i.e., do we really 
need block lists? Probably not -- especially because it is difficult to 
correctly specify the interaction between privacy lists and block lists. 
Furthermore, privacy lists give us flexibility that seems quite helpful 
in the context of our existing infrastructure, such as the ability to 
block all contacts who are not in one's roster. By contrast, block lists 
  only enable one to block based on JabberID, which seems pretty 
primitive by comparison. Perhaps privacy lists could be simplified a bit 
to make them easier to implement (suggestions are welcome), but I don't 
sense a lot of enthusiasm and consensus for XEP-0191, so I am thinking 
about retracting it.

However, I do think that XEP-0126 is a misuse of privacy lists for the 
purpose of invisibility. XEP-0186 feels a lot cleaner to me -- it's a 
simple "on/off" command and doesn't require complicated manipulation of 
privacy lists (which should be more stable) for a real-time mode like 
invisibility/visibility. So I would like to push forward with XEP-0186 
so we can finalize, implement, and deploy it.



Peter Saint-Andre
XMPP Standards Foundation

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