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Storm in a Soup Bowl

Posted by webmink on July 1, 2003 at 10:10 AM PDT

While totally invisible to the bulk of humanity, there's been a storm in a soup bowl of late as the Great and Good of blog-tech have been focussed into a Wiki to design a successor to RSS and the Blogger API - the name 'Echo' has been mooted as a placeholder. The choice of a Wiki is itself interesting, as Clay Shirkey notes, and from the messages its host has added to many pages the soup bowl has been straining at the seams. I've tried hard to keep up with the discussion, as has Norm, but the sheer pace of the hive mind is too much for anyone with a day job to cope with.

The reason for the storm? Well, As Clay hints, one or two of the well-known figures in blog-tech have taken the creation of a personality-reduced space as a personal affront. I really don't want to get into the personality side of things, although I have been surprised and saddened to see the venom that's been expressed in some postings by people I respect.

One issue that needs considering though is whether this project is there to offer an agreed unification of RSS 0.9x, 1.0 and 2.0 (and stop there) or whether it's there to go further. The project's motivation page says a lot on this, and comments moving towards each extreme have been popping up all over, but I think it's clear the answer lies between the extremities. I completely agree with Sam that seven elements is the magic number for things people can manage to agree about in one breath.

But when it comes to not inventing things, I'm not so sure. Mark Pilgrim is on the ball as usual, and the point here is that there are so many exciting things that will come from an agreed content format for this slice of web services. I don't just mean threading and other features for blogs either. If we don't co-operate now on defining the format, someone will inevitably come along and lock us in. So I still support 'Echo' and I hope you will too, preferably by actually joining in.

[Also posted to Webmink : the Blog]

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