The turbulent waters of RSS

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I was pleased and rather surprised to see so many comments attached to my posting on RDF. As to be expected with recent discussions, the thread soon turned to issues of RDF/RSS. That’s cool.

What isn’t cool is something such as this by Morbus Iff and Dave Winer’s absolutely atrocious response. Saying something such as:

Anyone who works with Hemenway or Kearney should be aware that these people are nothing less than monsters, who will stoop to any level to get their way. Their perversion may even be the reason they’re involved.

Over the line. What I especially can’t understand with the essay is why Dave brought Ben Hammersley into this particular discussion. The reason looks to be because Ben didn’t include Radio in the RSS aggregators discussed in an article he wrote for The Guardian. Dave called Ben’s article tainted just because Radio — which is a weblogging tool, not a pure news aggregator — wasn’t mentioned.

Calling Morbus on inappropriate joking is one thing. Publishing Morbus’ name, attacking Ben, and calling Bill and Morbus ‘monsters’, is another.

The RSS discussion continues I gather over at Blogroots as well as RSS-Dev.

Time to move on. Let Userland have RSS if they wish. The folks involved with RDF/RSS should come up with a different name, as simplified a syntax as possible that is still valid RDF, and let folks use what they want. If some folks want to use XSLT to transform RDF/RSS to Userland RSS, or the reverse, fine. But this is a technical trick and kludge and shouldn’t even be considered as part of a specification.

I would also strongly recommend that the newly renamed and reformed RDF/RSS working group define the intent and focus of RDF/RSS so that it doesn’t become “one XML to rule them all”, in their interest of creating the perfect syndication format. And since the group would be in the process of many changes, I would also suggest that the RDF/RSS working group move their discussions to another venue other than Yahoo groups, with all its many annoying ads. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to follow the threads: the quotes from previous messages overwhelm the new content, the mix of discussions about spec minutia and group working matters with grand overall schema changes is perplexing and off putting to new people getting involved, and on and on.

It’s also past time for the RDF folks, other than just Dan Brickley, to start getting involved. In particular, I wouldn’t mind seeing the RDF working group folks with weblogs. I have found this to be an excellent format for opening conversations with one’s target audience.

As for myself, I’ll only support an RDF-based aggregation newsfeed at my web sites because I believe this is the better approach. If this means my feeds aren’t readable by some aggregators, okay, I can live with this. This will be an unfortunate side effect on not being able to pull reasonable people together to come up with a combined specification (and note that I don’t consider that a lot of the players in this little farce to be ‘reasonable’, a statement thereby pissing off all participants equally).

Personally, I think a widening of this particular rift is a positive rather than a negative event.

Postscript: You know, there are no women involved in the RDF/RSS working group or the RDF working group. I think this should change. Perhaps I should lurk less and talk more. Any other lady techs in the audience wish to join me?