Echo, Why the Grief?

June 30th, 2003

Okay, I asked why do people think RSS 1.0 is hard? Phil tells me it just kind of is. And I sort of see his point, there is some seemingly weird and arbitrary syntax in there; sort of like <body> tag in OPML. But I still think it is largely manufactured confusion, confusion that arises from something other then the spec.

Next question.

Why all the grief about Echo? I mean, why are all the spectators getting involved on this one? You have this huge out pouring of emotions, and grandstanding about whether the Echo project “is a good idea”. Good idea? Its a simple idea. A very simple project to re-create the successes of RSS with a new name. (or least that is how I understood the goals as originally state, there has been a more recent push for creativity, which I’m not as thrilled about.)

Why re-name it? Because people failed to rename RSS 1.0 several years ago, and a particularly active, volatile member of the community was so upset by that, and created so much disruption that everybody eventually gave up working on the project. A later effort to make peace eventually made some progress, but failed to address one of the primary concerns behind both the RSS 1.0 and the Echo project, that of a neutral format on which all parties can build.

So yeah, its an attempt to correct that past mistake. Yet hundreds and hundreds of blogs seem to have this outpouring of angst about it. Particularly misguided seems to be the outpouring of grief and anger at MoveableType and Blogger, who have been bit players, barely involved except as popularizers. (which MT has done very well) Defining XML formats is boring, really. Why are people turning it into this high stakes spectator sport?

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