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Dave Winer's not happy
October 30, 2002 10:10 AM   Subscribe

Dave Winer's not happy about the fact that people are tweaking the orange XML icon used to link RSS/RDF feeds. You've seen that orange button saying XML at various sites, including MeFi. Milo just put up one saying RSS instead of XML, which was based on a point brought up by xiffix, "In hindsight, appropriating the global acronym XML for this narrow use was a mistake. The button should say RSS. Hopefully, people will take Dave’s suggestion to do something completely different to heart and abandon the Userland attempt at a standard icon"
posted by riffola (28 comments total)

 
"Dave Winer's not happy about"

Gee. There's a sentence that has any number of possible endings.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:17 AM on October 30, 2002


Winer:Please don't tweak the little white-on-orange XML icon. I'm seeing variations out there. That's not cool.

Oh boo-hoo. You want some cheese with that Winer?

A big orange button doesn't look on all sites. The point of the button is to be highly conspicuous, but is that really necessary? What percentage of users are going to care, or even to know what it means?

If people put forth and honest and sincere effort to promote feeds and make them generally recognizable and accessible, do we really need to smack them for changing the style of the button?

This reminds me of "pieces of flair" from Office Space....
posted by oissubke at 10:19 AM on October 30, 2002


Well, actually an icon that's so ORANGE is not cool.
posted by jeremias at 10:43 AM on October 30, 2002


I like the DNA louge one (and ScottAndrew used to have one that looked even better) because it's not an image, just a CSS trick. Why download an image when you can just display a tiny bit of HTML?
posted by mathowie at 10:43 AM on October 30, 2002


"i wasn't using buttons to link to my feeds, but now i'm gonna use yours just because i think dave is a douchebag." --nick in the comments on antipixel.

Every time Winer complains (or more likely, types a vicious screed against someone (cf here)), a thousand people go back to the drawing board to find more ways to annoy him. As it should be.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 10:43 AM on October 30, 2002


Since I first saw the orange icon button it struck me as a huge mistake to have the text read XML. Although I don't like the icon at all, and can't stand perfectly nice site designs with ugly and innappropriate icons pasted all over them, I wouldn't mind it quite so much if the icon itself was labeled correctly.
posted by filchyboy at 10:45 AM on October 30, 2002


Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.
posted by tommasz at 10:52 AM on October 30, 2002



posted by TacoConsumer at 10:53 AM on October 30, 2002


Does he have a patent on white text on an orange background?
posted by benjh at 10:54 AM on October 30, 2002


I believe his xml badge is actually an animated gif with a subliminal message to vote for tara sue grubb....
posted by mkelley at 10:57 AM on October 30, 2002


Yeah, but ironically enough Milo did exactly the thing Dave is wining about. Putting "RSS" on an orange button is not something "completely different," and does start to confuse the issue: two different but similar items linking to the same content.
Yeah, it's as easy as making it green, if that floats yer boat.
posted by teradome at 11:00 AM on October 30, 2002


A shiny nickel to the one who creates a spinning, flaming RSS icon...
posted by mkultra at 11:01 AM on October 30, 2002


And I didn't even have an RSS feed until a little over a month ago.... what have I gotten myself into? ;)
posted by milov at 11:29 AM on October 30, 2002


This whole thing is completely ass-backwards. These are feeds that are handled by software. People shouldn't know anything about what format is behind all of it. The "cotton" tag on your shirt is on the inside, hidden away, not stuck on your chest. If your software doesn't do what NetNewsWire and Newzcrawler do, automatically detecting such feeds for properly configured sites, then find a program that does.

The more people insist on arcane acronyms (RSS is not appreciably better than XML) the more these technologies are going to be marginalized.

I still offer up AllWrite as an open brand name for syndication technologies, either for authoring or reading, and invite anyone interested to make a campaign to mark software that creates or consumes RSS feeds as being AllWrite compatible.

Don't waste your time trying to pretty up a graphic that doesn't mean anything to the overwhelming majority of the people surfing the web, you're only relegating syndicated data sharing to a permanent niche.
posted by anildash at 11:43 AM on October 30, 2002


I still offer up AllWrite as an open brand name for syndication technologies, either for authoring or reading, and invite anyone interested to make a campaign to mark software that creates or consumes RSS feeds as being AllWrite compatible.


How does slapping a vague, arbitrary brand name on something improve it?

Everyone who uses it knows what RSS is. It's the de facto name for it.
posted by oissubke at 11:51 AM on October 30, 2002


Let me get this straight... Some guy is angry because people are using buttons other than the ones he likes. This conflict seems as engaging and as interesting as "The Life and Times of Sawdust". *shows himself out*
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:54 AM on October 30, 2002


But you just don't understand how important Dave thinks he is...
posted by websavvy at 12:00 PM on October 30, 2002


But you just don't understand how important Dave thinks he is...

That's probably not a bad thing, though. :)
posted by Dark Messiah at 12:02 PM on October 30, 2002


While I found most of this silly (I don't look for a button, I look for anything, text or image, that conveys "feed here!"), the link to the Berkeley study on appliance power buttons to be the most interesting thing I've read all day.

I had no idea all my computers were using the "Standby" icon for "Power." More significantly, I found myself wishing, like the study's authors, that power-conservation standby/sleep states for all electronic devices were more ubiquitous, and understood by consumers.
posted by pzarquon at 12:31 PM on October 30, 2002


That survey is interesting, and sufficiently geeky for me to appreciate. Thanks, and enjoy the end of the Universe.
posted by baylink at 1:16 PM on October 30, 2002


Pzarquon... funny: the study authors show a Mac "power" button (using the "standby" icon) as an example of mis-use... but mac's don't have a power-off button, per se.

You push the stand-by to power-up your machine from either an off state or a sleep state... and a single push puts the machine into a sleep state.

Only an extended (5-10 sec) push will force the machine to power down (not unlike the CNTL-ALT-DEL of yesteryear).
posted by silusGROK at 2:46 PM on October 30, 2002


Yay for autodiscovery. Boo for little orange buttons. Users shouldn't have to know about, or even consider, the exact location of RSS feeds let alone the icon used to represent them, or the initialism itself.
posted by digiboy at 4:34 AM on October 31, 2002


But the problem with autodiscovery is this: I'd still like to be told that a site does have an RSS feed, so that I know when I point my RSS reader at it, a feed will actually show up. So if a site is going announce an RSS feed with a line of text, why not throw a link to the feed while they're at it? And why the hell not an XML button? I've tried pointing NetNewsWire's autodiscovery abilities at several sites I desperately wish had feeds (with full use of Description tags, by the way, instead of lame-o headlines), and it's almost always a wasted effort.

What Dave Winer should be bitching about is the incredible number of RSS feeds which constitute single-word titles with no descriptions. What bloody use is a feed like that?
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:59 AM on October 31, 2002


---
So if a site is going announce an RSS feed with a line of text, why not throw a link to the feed while they're at it? And why the hell not an XML button?
---

Hmm... I suppose.
posted by digiboy at 6:22 AM on October 31, 2002


Marking a particular kind of XML document (i.e. RSS) with a button marked "XML" strikes me as about as informative as marking a certain kind of restaurant (e.g. a sandwich shop) with the label "restaurant".

Do I want to go into this restaurant? Does it have the kind of food my tummy can parse? What kind of restaurant is it, for crying out loud?
posted by iceberg273 at 8:05 AM on October 31, 2002


Winer: Please don't tweak the Charmin
posted by geist at 8:09 AM on October 31, 2002


Having an "XML" button to announce your RSS feed is like having a big sign out front of a car dealership that says, "STEEL".
posted by anildash at 10:55 AM on October 31, 2002


Sodesuyo ne. Which is why mine says "rss feed."
(Don't go looking for it, it's not live for another 12 hours.")

Now, who wants to complain about my custom XHTML/CSS validation icons?
posted by adamgreenfield at 12:53 AM on November 1, 2002


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