Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

My.UserLand.Com, allow sysop to opt-out

Author:Dave Winer
Posted:3/27/1999; 10:15:30 AM
Topic:Problems registering?
Msg #:4597 (In response to 4204)
Prev/Next:4593 / 4598

I got an email from James McMurry, one of the sysops at PootyBBS.

There's a PootyBBS channel on your channel list. I run this little box with some friends. I used your RSS parser to check our XML. But I don't remember saying you should include it as a subscription channel for members at large.

We're not a news site, we're just some guys playing XML. There will not be *anything* of public value on this page for a while, possibly ever. Please remove the PootyBBS channel from your list. And please point me to the text on your RSS File Tester page which says that Userland will make your channel available on its website if you use the test parser.

Remember all the fuss that happened when frames came out and people started linking to other people's material, enclosing it within their own frames and their own ads? Hope RSS (a *really* cool thing) doesn't turn ugly like that.

He makes a good point. I played a little fast when switching over from RSS Tester to My.UserLand.Com. I was happy to honor James's request. We're also just experimenting with XML, although it may look like we're doing more. (I'm optimimistic, I think with some careful evolution, RSS can become an important format.)

From this point, I hope the intent is clear. When you register a RSS file, we will review your page, and if it looks reasonable, we'll add it to the list of available channels. BTW, this process is almost totally automatic. When a new RSS file is registered, I get an email that has a link to a preview page. I jump to that page. There's an Approve button on my screen. I just click on it if it looks OK. Finally we have an interface that makes it easy to add the human element to this kind of thing.

One thing anyone can do, since there's a human step in the approval process, is put a clear statement in the RSS file itself requesting that it not be pointed to by a RSS-aggregator. Something similar to the ROBOTS.TXT, but it can be human readable (in our case).

I said to James that these are public web pages, and I view adding a channel to our service as being equivalent to linking to it from Scripting News. If it doesn't change, the users will clue into that and opt-out. Perhaps we could even offer a way for people to rate the channels. Lots of possibilities, we have our data act pretty together on the server.

I suppose it's also a good time to say this, I can remove channels at any time, and you can opt-out at any time. (One good way to do this is to remove the file. Other suggestions?)

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