Response to Brad Feld

Brad Feld of Mobius Venture Capital recently made public an e-mail he sent me with suggestions for the RSS Advisory Board.

Here's my response, which I also e-mailed to Feld, with some relevant hyperlinks added:

From my perspective, the purpose of the RSS Advisory Board is always open to reconsideration. This is a three-year-old organization that has been operating in public for one month. We've just begun hearing from RSS developers, publishers and executives in significant number.

I think the best way forward for the board is to keep doing exactly what the organization did under Dave Winer's leadership -- support developers, publish supplementary documentation, and clarify the RSS specification without changing the format.

Other members may decide to support his current position, which if I understand it correctly, calls for the existing RSS specification never to be edited again.

Changing the focus of the board from RSS to syndication might ease some contentious debate in the RSS community, but it wouldn't address long-standing questions for developers implementing the current specification.

There are significant aspects of RSS that lack clarity in the specification. How many podcasts can an item contain? What RSS elements can carry HTML? How does an RSS aggregator turn relative URLs into full URLs?

The proposed specification currently under draft at the RSS board's site is an effort to resolve questions like these, not change the format or create a new format that would raise the implementation cost of syndication for everyone.

If the spec reaches a vote at some future date and is rejected by the board -- or the board votes at any time to cease work on it -- I'd remove the spec from publication and pursue a "best practices" document or another method to address the situation.


Thank for you the clarification.

I am very surprised and somewhat suspicious that this post didn't generate more comments/response. Did I get this right? Dave Winer talks to Brad Feld. Winer asks all board members to resign. And so far, the only ones to resign are the ones affilliated with the companies that Feld backs financially? Yeah, Winer doesn't believe in working through backchannels at all does he?

The advisory board is a small island of public deliberation in a sea of private deals and discussions regarding RSS.

The amount of stuff going on behind the scenes is incredible. I could have grilled hamburgers on my inbox last week.

I have to fight the urge to blog about some of the backchannel back-stabbing, because it would just contribute to the atmosphere that makes positive forward steps in RSS difficult if not utterly impossible.

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