Follow-ups

If I write, and someone trackbacks to it – and trackbacks usually help you to refine and reflect upon what you originally wrote, then where do I next write about that ?
If I write on the other site, I sort of lose my ‘work’, yet if I write here as a followup comment, that also could get lost, so instead, because I’m not sure what the format should be – is there a convention on this ? – I’ll write here, and trackback the entry concerned on the other blog and ping mine. That make sense ? Anyway, first …..

In my last post about RSS (listed below), Michel V (the author of b2 – of which WP grew from) wrote this: “I’m sorry, but I don’t see what your problem is. Is it people reading your website from inside an aggregator instead of reading it with an internet browser?”.
Yes, it is, that hits the nail on the head, and I’ll explain again just why.
I’ll use WordPress as an example, though equally I could use MT, Blogger, Pivot etc. Each tool has a set of styles that an individual can use in their initial attempt to create a blog that they feel reflects them, their interests, personality. And each tool has some sort of forum where people ask questions about how to this or that with their code. Most of these questions I would say revolve around the aesthetic presentation of the content – indeed there are some people (I do not count myself among them) who insist that CSS must be used for all matters of design and layout and we answer many many questions on this subject. So we are devoting a considerable amount if time and energy in assisting others – and by modifying our own sites – in making our sites look GOOD.
And what do people do ?
They wander along, and then choose to drag the feed only.
Why bother making it look nice for you ? Why sweat blood over placements that are pixels out of alignment when all you are going to do is read all the content remotely ?

I’ve said before that I believe RSS to be invaluable as a News tool, but I still say that it is not that good for a blog.
A blog is personal. RSS takes the personal, and strips that out, leaving only the ascii.

On argument that anders made was that given RSI, a feed made things easier. I can’t argue with that.

Something mwarden said “I don’t really see the point in forcing them to use it the way you want them to when it so obviously conflicts with how they want to use it.”. My take on this – and I could be wrong – is that now it’s a question of ownership. The owner surely, to an extent, determines use, and if the owner decides that he would like his work to be viewed in certain surroundings, then surely that right should be respected ? Do we not allow this right to many other forms of expression ? Online news outlets have terms and conditions – some including subscription – for their content, so why, if I choose to remove RSS feeds can that not be called one of my Terms and Conditions ? Or can I not have those being just a regular blog ?

Or is it the case that in this fast moving information age we are so used to just right-clicking and adding a feed ?

On your blog, would you like to look at your stats and see 1 site visitor and 99 RSS pullers ? If you would be happy, then why bother aesthetically ? Okay, so some of that is for you, but a lot of it is also for others to see, appreciate, critique.

You know what I’d like ? For someone to stop and at the very least make a comment when they take your feed. Just something short and polite – a courtesy call – not too much to ask is it ?
One problem I had was the anonymity. Read this here, and the tracker will store various stats, pull the feed and I have no clue. I’ve not been to Bloglines, but I’m led to believe that you can take their feeds – that others have subscribed too – from them. WHY would you do that for a blog ? Now okay, if you are Eric Meyer, or you work for M$, then maybe others will take an interest, but it’s the professional interest they are taking, not the personal.
This blog, like yours I guess, is personal.
Like I said in the entry that Photomatt linked to, you’ll not see any cutting edge entries here, nor any hot gaming news, or hardcore programming snippets. It’s just me, writing about whatever I want to.

I have no agenda here. I’m not trying to impress people by pretending to know everything net-related, I’m not using this to promote myself in any way, I’m not using it as an online diary, I don’t post great links on a daily basis. I just use it as an outlet for whatever is on my mind at the point I login. So part of me wants to know why you actually want the feed – I post something every day !

Having said all that …. the latest WordPress tracker from DElyMyth does track the RSS pullers, so I can see who is reading me – after all, if you are reading me, don’t you want me to visit you ?

Will I lose this position in the end ?
I don’t know, and I certainly do not see it as losing if the feeds are taken.
At the absolute least, I would expect someone who would call themself a ‘friend’ to visit this page, and not pull the feed. Would you not expect the same ?

Previous entries where I have discussed RSS and what I think;
XML Parse Error
Rss yet again
RSS pt2
Rapidly Scanned Scribings

3 thoughts on “Follow-ups

  1. Can’t say I’ve ever bothered with RSS, but isn’t just reading the latest text missing the rest of the experience? Half the point of reading yours is seeing how long it goes between re-designs :).

  2. I use your RSS feed the same way that I hope people use mine. As a way to know when content has become available on a site that I often enjoy, and decide based on an excerpt whether I should visit the page and read more (who am I kidding, I always go to the site and read more, I waste so much time on this thing). I only provide excerpts via RSS and atom, and so people who enjoy their things being aggregated will know exactly when and what I’ve posted. But to actually read it they have to come to the experience :)

  3. I have to say that I agree with you on your stand about what you have on your site, both design and content, belong to you, and that it is at the very least, polite for someone to come to the site here to read what you have written, and to enjoy (or not? :) ) the design of the site.

    Your site is Blog-rolled from mine. When I am informed of a change here, I come to see what it is.

    I agree also that just having excerpts in the RSS and Atom feeds is the best way to go. At least that way, if the person reading the RSS or Atom feed from here is interested, they will come here to read the entire posting.

    I have invested considerable time in the design and layout of my site, and I believe it is a good reflection of the person I am. Whether or not you would agree that you can tell anything about a person based on the design of their site, I cannot say. But as the old adage goes, First impressions count. This could be why serious web sites hire professional designers.

    In the end though, what really counts? The site, the content or both? Some people will argue that the site is the thing. Others will tell you that content is king. I personally believe that they are both important. But that is just my .02 worth!

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