Home > Archive >  2009 >  October >  16

Techmeme curiosity

Friday, October 16, 2009 by Dave Winer.

A picture named tweetophone.jpgFirst a prediction -- some people are going to say I'm writing this because I want to be on Techmeme. They are entitled to say that, but they are wrong. I am neutral about it. If a story of mine belongs on Techmeme, it should be there, if not, it shouldn't. And it isn't up to me to decide, it's up to the people who run Techmeme.  Permalink to this paragraph

Also, please read this whole post before commenting, not just one paragraph or phrase, because it's complicated. Permalink to this paragraph

I've always believed that Techmeme was a combination of a bot and human judgement. This was confirmed a few months back when Gabe, the guy who runs the site, hired a human editorPermalink to this paragraph

I've disabled their bot by including a line in my robots.txt file that tells them not to crawl the site. But there is no such thing for the human beings, you can't make it so that a person can't read your site. So I always thought that if one of the humans at Techmeme thought something I wrote was interesting, they would publish a link to it. As far as I know this has never happened. (And I watch pretty carefully.) Permalink to this paragraph

Sometimes I take the block out of the robots.txt file to see what will happen. In those cases my pieces often turn up on Techmeme, almost never as a major item, rather as part of the "chorus" -- commenting on one of the major articles. I'm often in the chorus with the story everyone is reacting to, including the guy who got top billing. I don't know how this happens, but it's a large part of why I block their bot. I really dislike the chorus. It's what makes the blogosphere like a mail list. You end up with a lot of people chiming in with nothing to add, who just want the flow from being there. Permalink to this paragraph

Anyway, what made me think of it is that today Charles Arthur at the Guardian has a nice piece which is centered on my review of Twitter's lists. It's getting a good run on Techmeme. If Techmeme were doing their job well, they'd flip it around and present it as him commenting on the original piece. I'm saying this in case Gabe and Company think the bit in the robots.txt is a prohibition on their human editors. It is not. Read up on robots.txt if you don't believe me. It's all about robots. A picture named sidesmiley.gif Permalink to this paragraph

   Recent stories

A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.


Dave Winer Mailto icon

© Copyright 1994-2009 Dave Winer Mailto icon.

Last update: 10/16/2009; 12:16:19 PM Pacific. "It's even worse than it appears."

Click here to view blogs commenting on  RSS 2.0 feed.