Shut Up, Dave

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The man's unbelievable. Over a year ago, Dave Winer got into one of his many hissy fits about RSS 1.0. See his idea was that his RSS, version 0.91, which was a descendent of RSS more in look than in purpose or function, should be the RSS. But others disagreed; they thought RSS should be based on RDF like RSS 0.9 was and RSS 0.91 was not, and that it should be logical, and extensible, and powerful. Dave just wanted it to be simple.

Oh, and he wanted to control it, but that's fairly self-evident, as you'll soon see.

So he jokingly proposed RSS 2.0 in June 2001. See, it was a joke, because he punctuated it with ;-> , and because leapfrogging versions was clearly stupid, to everyone, including Dave. What Dave proposed, which wasn't unreasonable, was a name change. The problem is that leaving "RSS" in the name of "RSS 1.0" was unacceptable to him. Rael Dornfest suggested RSS Simple and RSS Semantic. It was a great idea. Both kept the name RSS; both got a name representative of their purpose; both sounded good.

But Dave would have none of it, because he wanted RSS to himself, for his own purposes. You can't share -- despite the fact that RSS 1.0 has more of a claim to the RSS name than 0.91 did -- because sharing is anathema to Dave: "While sharing is a good thing in general, when it comes to naming things, well if they're different they should have different names. This is the source of the confusion." Um, yeah, sure. Even if that is a reasonable point of view to have, I can't fathom what kind of mind it would take to make this a dealbreaker. Both sides will not remove RSS from the name, so why not share the name and add a modifier?

Although he, as usual, faked legitimacy to his point by pointing to an open web poll (heh heh), one which didn't even prove anything related to his point. First, the poll talked of sharing the RSS name, but not of creating two new names both containing "RSS". Even if it did, of 49 respondents, 28 said No, or Yes But With Further Qualification. For the latter group, if required to fit into one bit, it would have to be a 0, not a 1, as logic dictates that "Yes If $x" means "No if not $x", and the proposal didn't have $x, for whatever $x may have been for each polled user.

The only good news in all this was that at the same time as the rest of these happenings, Winer promised to get out of RSS work.

Unfortunately, he lied.

RSS 2.0 is back, and it is not a joke this time. No, it is very serious stuff. He created and made it official unilaterally, without any sort of standards body or discussion from others. He posted a draft, and then said "OK, it is official now." Nice. Even if you favored Winer's non-joke RSS 2.0, it has serious problems with it that would be addressed, should he go through a reasonable standards procedure.

He is a dictator, he is unconcerned with logic, reason, discourse, or anything else that might get in the way of how he thinks things should be done, as though he were qualified to determine these things in any way.

Maybe you think I am just a whiner myself, maybe you think I am mean-spirited, or wasting my time and breath. But I don't care. I am just trying to help spread the word that this man should be actively ignored. The only problem is that if you ignore him entirely, he spreads, so you have to come back to him every once in awhile and put the smack down. I think now is one of those times. He couldn't take his ball and go home, because other people would keep playing, so he is trying to steal everyone else's ball.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on September 9, 2002 1:53 PM.

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