To the right of this blog’s front page, down a scroll or four, you’ll see a link in gray entitled “Syndicate this site (XML)“. Click on this link, and depending on your browser, you might see a hierarchical break-down of my most recent articles.
I’ve provided this file, not for human consumption, but for tools known as ‘aggregators.’ Hopefully they pick up my titles and abstracts, and publish them with links back to this site. In a sense, they’re advertising my site for free. This entire process is referred to as ‘syndication.’
However, after reading a current discussion over at BlogRoots entitled “Rethinking Syndication?” – it seems to me that if you provide TOO much information in your RSS/XML files, then you give opportunity for what is called stealing.
Such is the fuss raised on John H. Farr’s FarrFeed blog. Personally, I’m not sure if its an issue with the default RSS mechanism that comes ‘out-of-the-box’ with RadioUserLand’s excellent blog tool, or perhaps just to generous a template. The point is, if you consider the ‘heart of the law’ and not just the letter, then I think Señor Farr’s is right to complain when NuZee mirrored his articles in their entirety without his consent. Provided one doesn’t consider an RSS/XML file implied consent. Hence the swirling controversy.
Yeah, I know. Like we need yet another legal issue for the internet!
So my advice to those of you who prefer liturgical issues over legal, know your software, and figure out whether or not it syndicates. If you discover (or already know) that your system syndicates via an RSS/RDF/XML file, then take time to look a that file and make sure you’re saying enough, without saying too much.