[Standards] XEP-107 and XEP-108: Empty Value?

Florian Zeitz florian.zeitz at gmx.de
Fri May 23 13:26:01 UTC 2008

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> It seems rather messy to delete the node and then re-create it all the
> time. For example, lots of geolocation services enable you to specify
> certain locations that are private. So when you move to a private
> location, you want to stop publishing temporarily. But you might start
> publishing again 20 minutes later or whatever. So why delete the node
> (along with all its subscriptions) only to re-create it so soon?
> Peter

Agreed. Deleting and recreating nodes probably creates (server) overhead
I didn't really think about. Probably retracting the node (which is what
Miranda, Psi and Gajim SVN do) is equally bad and has the added penalty
of not being required for PEP.
On the other hand defining empty states (or a <mu /> element as Dave
Cridland suggested) doesn't sound right to me either, because User
Tune/Nickname/Mood/Activity/Geolocation/Weather/Clothing as I understand
it mainly defines a generic XML format to express "things".
Outside the context of PEP lack of information in this XML is useless.
The XML just wouldn't be present in the first place. BUT in PEP this
requires deleting/retracting the node...

Another thought: Delete nodes, BUT make sure it's a rare case.
Normally, as you point out, people who published information will do it
again. The node should only be deleted if they really don't want to
publish any information.
When this is the case is different for every "User *", but I think the
XEPs can be defined in a way that it is a rare case that people don't
want to publish any information.

So let's look at this per XEP:

User Tune:
normally people will listen to music or not and publish the song or a
stopped state accordingly. The case that people are secretly listening
to a song is probably relatively rare.

User Mood:
This has the problem that not every possible mood is present. Adding a
"something else" option might be a solution here (Or is it valid to only
send <text />? I think clients don't allow it...). I personally wouldn't
publish my mood at all (maybe in rare cases) because I think it's to
personal. People who decide to publish it will probably do it all the time.

User Activity:
Same as User Mood IMHO. A "doing something else" state would help .

User Geolocation:
Defining a <private /> state would help. Admittedly this is very similar
to providing no information at all which is what I didn't want to
define, but IMHO this privacy statement is still a bit different from no

User Nickname:
People who don't want a nickname any more will probably not want one for
a longer period of time.

I think if this changes were made nodes wouldn't be deleted to often,
but still could be if no information is to be published, in which case
deleting the node is the "right thing" to do IMHO.
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