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RSS is supposed to be really simple
By Dave Winer on Sunday, September 04, 2011 at 7:55 PM.

A picture named girlclown.jpgI read yet-another article about how RSS readers do it wrong, and reward people for using Twitter as their feed reader. This pains me, because it's not RSS's fault, it's the fault of people who designed RSS readers to work like mail programs. RSS is not mail, and when you try to make it mail, you make something that doesn't work. #

First basic fact about RSS is that it's for news.  #

I don't think this comes as a surprise to anyone.  #

So when you make something for reading RSS, think about making something that works for news. #

If you miss five days of reading the news because you were on vacation (good for you!) the newspaper you read the first day back isn't five times as thick as the normal day's paper. And it doesn't have your name on the cover saying "Joe you haven't read 1,942,279 articles since this paper started." It doesn't put you on the hook for not reading everything anyone has ever written. The paper doesn't care, so why does your RSS reader? #

The reason readers work that way is that this is a "feature" they can implement, and they think it's neat (the programmers and marketers) so why not? Well, if you make your users wrong, they're eventually going to tell you to fuck off. Which gets you articles like the one on TechMeme today. #

Great. How about instead giving them what they want.  #

Which is this: An RSS reader that works like Twitter. #

Which is what I've been asking people to do since we started with RSS in 1999. #

I'll leave you with a pointer to my own RSS flow, something I decided to make public a couple of years ago so people could easily see how I think it should be done: #

http://daveriver.scripting.com/  #

That's it. Really simple. Like the name says. :-) #

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