When writing help pages and other documentation aimed at informing a user there are choices to be made about how much information is too much information and what exactly is the correct information to note. Dave Winer feels a bit slighted by not being recognized for his contributions to the community allowing blog and RSS services such as Technorati to index data in a more timely manner. I wrote Dave an e-mail about six months ago thanking him for his contributions and detailing some of the ways Technorati uses technologies he has dedicated time, effort, and money to produce, but maybe the message did not come through since it was e-mail and not RSS. I will publicly chat about some of the ways the work of Dave Winer has helped Technorati specifically, but there are many more companies being created as a result of the choices of openness made by Dave and others.
Why is this not on a help page on Technorati.com? I find it confusing to new users explaining how we might find out about their new or updated post via Weblogs.com, a direct ping, or a changefile output by the blog tool. I try to keep it simple and not overwhelm people with technical details. I believe users want to know what they can do to allow their content to be discovered, and I prefer to break out those steps unique to each blog tool.
Weblogs.com ping beacon
Weblogs.com is probably the popular ping beacon for weblogs. Dave decided to share the changefile for public consumption and this information is used by Technorati and many others projects and companies to monitor blog updates.
XML–RPC is commonly used to send information such as a ping to a server listening for a key-value pair. Many sites not only use XML-RPC, but also the Weblogs.com method and key-value pairs for their own ping beacons.
RSS is one way to deliver content such as weblog posts to news aggregators, indexers, and other consumers. I think RSS has grown in ways Dave never imagined, but there are definitely a lot of people using the format. I had dinner with Dave the day he decided to license the RSS 2.0 standard under a Creative Commons license and give it to Harvard to administer and I think that was a pivotal moment of openness.
I am sure there are more things, but Dave, your efforts are definitely noticed and appreciated. Thanks, and let’s keep building cool things and introduce even more people to the tools and services to empower the individual voice and methods of discovering those voices.