May 31, 2004

That Mark Pilgrim guy is some kind of asshole. The best kind.

While cooler heads like Sam Ruby and Rogers Cadenhead are trying to bring a level of civility to the the Syndication Wars -- they're like the Browser Wars, only much more boring and with far less at stake -- Pilgrim is firing sniper shots at the peace conference. Only an asshole would avoid the larger issue in a post about coexistence to drive home a divisive technical point. And good for him.

The truth is an ugly thing and there will always be people who are willing to ignore it for the sake of getting along. But declaring a detente* doesn't change the fact that RSS 2.0 is a steaming pile of crap. Its spec reads more like a half-assed homework assignment by a C-minus-level comp-sci student than the foundation of an important data protocol. But anybody who doesn't realize that at this point is either naive, stupid, driven by something other than technical merit or all three. Not to name names, Dave.

So mocking RSS and its supporters is the rough moral equivalent of mocking the retarded guy who brings you your food at Carl's Jr. It's too easy, more than a little cruel, and something that only an asshole would do. Isn't it easier to ignore the uncomfortable facts, shake hands and treat everybody as an equal, even if one of the parties is a drooling mongoloid?

Yes, it is. And so, by God, we desperately need the people who won't let us do it. We need the people who can look an uncomfortable reality in the face, declare it an uncomfortable reality and mercilessly taunt those who can't or won't tell the difference. Oh, sure, they may be assholes. But they're the kind of assholes that the Internet cannot do without.

* Accent omitted intentionally, for the sake of poor, stupid RSS 2.0.

I prefer to think of myself more as the singing Burger King Christmas simpleton of RSS 2.0.

Damn that silent data loss!

Here's the link stripped out of my post:

http://www.pileofcrap.org/Eh/swf.php?swf=burgerking.swf

blp added:

Great, you've made Pilgrim's head even bigger than it was. Must get tiring being so fucking right all the time. As long as you're praising him, you might as well praise Dave Winer too. They're running neck and neck in the Great Asshole Derby of 2004.

Regarding your "naive, stupid, driven by something other than technical merit or all three." quip.

Taking your points out of order.

First, Dave is *not* stupid. Whatever faults you wish to ascribe to him, that just isn't true.

He has stated many times that he's driven by something other than technical merit (although he is not entirely blind to it).

So, what is it that he's driven by? He's made this pretty clear too: He's driven by the vision of enabling anybody anywhere to be a publisher.

Now, I think he's been letting (for the past two or three years)his personal attachment to RSS interfere with accomplishing this vision, but that's really a separate issue.

Finally, while Dave is in many ways an idealist (as am I, we just have different ideals), he is *not* naive. Thinking that will just lead you to underestimating him.

RSS 2.0 is so bad, that it's only the #1 Web service on the Internet. In fact, the only other Web services in the game are RSS 1.0, a fork of the RSS standard and Atom, an attempt to replace RSS 2.0.

Suggesting RSS doesn't have merrit, means that you are too biased to form a reasonable opinion.

Ponyboy added:

What's "merrit"? Is it the idea that being popular makes something good?

You know what, Randy? RSS 2.0 is HTML 1.0. Good enough to get the job started, and bad enough to hold the whole industry back. So rather than dicking around for the next five years bumping into every undocumented or under-documented nightmare lurking in the -- and I'm using the term liberally here -- "spec," how about we just skip all that and go with something that's not going to make the people of 2009 wonder what we were smoking?

Mark added:

> Great, you've made Pilgrim's head even bigger than it was.

That is exceedingly unlikely.

Can't you see what's going on here? Site relaunch, trying to garner attention (the most scarce resource online), starts off with a bang by linking to a series of A-listers and insulting them. Then opens up comments so idiots like you who don't get it can establish this as a flame- and troll-worthy lightning rod and forever secure glassdog's place in the blogosphere.

I'm just playing my part here, same as everyone else.

Nice design, BTW. Welcome back.

Michael added:

> RSS 2.0 is so bad, that it's only the #1 Web
> service on the Internet. In fact, the only other
> Web services in the game are RSS 1.0, a fork of
> the RSS standard and Atom, an attempt to replace
> RSS 2.0.

Indeed. Netscape does not get the praise it deserves for inventing it.

Ponyboy added:

> Can't you see what's going on here? Site relaunch,
> trying to garner attention (the most scarce
> resource online), starts off with a bang by linking
> to a series of A-listers and insulting them.

What an asshole thing to say! Also, correct.

Thanks for the link, Mark.

I should probably flame the shit out of someone in making this point, in the spirit of détente, but one of the things that is clearly specified about RSS 2.0 is that it is an XML 1.0 dialect. There's nothing about poor, stupid RSS that would cause problems sending or receiving an accented "é".

Tomas added:

"In fact, the only other Web services in the game are RSS 1.0, a fork of the RSS standard and Atom, an attempt to replace RSS 2.0."

RSS 1.0 tried to replace RSS 2.0? How, RSS 2.0 didn't even exist at that time yet?

RSS 1.0 tried to replace RSS 2.0 back when RSS 2.0 was known as RSS 0.91.

We really missed an opportunity by not calling Atom RSS 3.0.

Mark added:

http://www.aaronsw.com/2002/rss30

Thomas, you misread my post. I didn't say "RSS 1.0 tried to replace RSS 2.0" I said RSS 1.0 is a fork of the standard. I said Atom is an attempt to replace it. I'll give you a do-over, but only this once :)

Ponnyboy, I got one word for you. Detente :)
Netscape, I got one word for you. Thanks!

Dave Winer added:

FYI, I have a Masters in Computer Science, and I was an A student.

Being an asshole is over-rated. Many years ago in the 80s I started The Silicon Valley Asshole Society. Ask me about it someday. In the 90s I realized it's harder to be thoughtful. Mark causes a lot of damage, there's nothing funny about what he's doing. Thankfully, most people who care about RSS now understand that.

FYI, I'm a high schoool drop out, w/ a D average. I guess RSS appeals to both extremes ;)

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