Tim Bray misses my point.

Tim Bray is a very smart man.  If I accomplish nearly so much as he has in my career, I’ll be proud of what I’ve done.

Yet I find myself in a disagreement with him.  The gist of it is whether personalities are the story in the “Great RSS War of 2003.”  I have no interest in prolonging said war, or in picking a fight with big, important figures doing good works for the people of the Net.  But my message on this matter has been mischaracterized.  (I think I’ve been called a Marxist?  Hrm.)  So, by way of reply:

* Of course people matter.  Of course it is people who get things done.  Big personalities have force and give life to great initiatives.  It’s what leadership is about.  It’s what management is about.  It’s how the world works.

* Things aren’t pre-ordained — most particularly in the context of the Net.  It’s one of several core teachings, as I read it, in Lawrence Lessig‘s first book, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace: the outcome of struggles for the future of the Net are not pre-determined by the architecture (the whole is-ism meme).  And we better fight for it, starting now (well, yesterday), if we care about the outcome.  Care, and fight, we must.  There are loads of great, worthy causes out there: just ask the EFF, Creative Commons, CDT, Public Knowledge, many others on the front lines. 

* Here’s what I mean, if I haven’t been clear: let’s not get hung up on who said what to whom or who’s annoyed at whom in the Great RSS War of 2003.  Everyone knows how much effort goes into flame wars like that.  That’s useful energy.  There’s so much to be done.  Let’s get on with the work of building out cyberspace according to a design that’s in the public interest. 

5 thoughts on “Tim Bray misses my point.

  1. I don’t know who you’re trying to convince, yourself maybe? Anyone who knows even a liiiittle bit about RSS is very acquainted to the fact that personalities, drama and politics is a huge chunk of a deal with RSS.

  2. “Here’s what I mean, if I haven’t been clear: let’s not get hung up on who said what to whom or who’s annoyed at whom in the Great RSS War of 2003. Everyone knows how much effort goes into flame wars like that. That’s useful energy. There’s so much to be done. Let’s get on with the work of building out cyberspace according to a design that’s in the public interest.”

    And that’s why the Great RSS War of 2003 took place in the first place. You have a developer who is consistently pissing in the pool, and people finally got fed up with it and decided to go swim in a healthier, more productive environment.

  3. Brian, in all seriousness, if it’s just about personalities, why are they reinventing RSD, which was created by Daniel Berlinger, a guy who everyone gets along with (as far as I know). Straight question.

  4. Dave,
    If you have a preference of RSD or the Introspection file
    please either leave a note on the wiki or responsd to my
    email on the atom-syntax mailing list. I appreciate
    any and all feedback people are willing to provide.

  5. Joe, I have tried to participate in the Wiki, but somehow the vote we took was ignored, so I’m not going back for more. I can’t be part of another mail list, already too busy. If you want my opinion use RSD, imho, because it’s already deployed and it works well. All the adages apply — if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, keep it simple Sam (heh), etc.

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