RSS Advisory Board

Vote: Support the Common Feed Icon

The proposal to support the common feed icon has passed 5-0, with RSS Advisory Board members Meg Hourihan, Jenny Levine, Eric Lunt, Randy Charles Morin and myself voting in favor.

In an effort to make the concept of syndication easier for mainstream users, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera will all identify RSS and Atom feeds with the same icon:

The board has adopted the symbol on this site and encourages its use on web sites, browsers, and syndication software.

Additionally, the board encourages web publishers to use the icon on any feed, regardless of whether it employs Atom or the two formats that call themselves RSS: RDF Site Summary and Really Simple Syndication.

If you've added the icon to a site published with Movable Type, WordPress or another weblog publishing system, your tips on implementing the icon are welcomed on the RSS-Public mailing list.

Proposal: Support the Common Feed Icon

The following RSS Advisory Board proposal has been made by Rogers Cadenhead and seconded by Meg Hourihan.

Under the board charter, this begins a seven-day discussion period so any interested parties can comment on the proposal. (The best place to comment is on the mailing list RSS-Public.)

When that ends, the board will have seven days to vote on it.

Proposal

A recent Yahoo study reported that four percent of Internet users have jumped on the RSS bandwagon and begun subscribing to syndicated feeds.

Considering the number of ways that web publishers show their readers they offer feeds, it's amazing we've gotten that many:

RSS icons, buttons and badges

In an effort to make the concept of syndication easier for mainstream users, the next versions of the Internet Explorer and Opera browsers will identify RSS and Atom feeds with the same icon used in Mozilla Firefox. Since the market share of these browsers tops 95 percent, the icon will become the de facto standard for syndication overnight when the next version of Microsoft Windows comes out later this year.

The common feed icon has been adopted by hundreds of web sites in the last 60 days. I've been experimenting with it on Workbench and like the results.

In October, Jane Kim of Microsoft's Internet Explorer team explained what they were looking for when selecting a feed icon for the browser:

  1. It conveys the important attributes of feeds: newness, activity, subscription, and continual information.
  2. It builds on the most consistent and identifiable element used to represent feeds today: the orange rectangle.
  3. It avoids the use of text. Icons that have text do not generally work well for a global audience. For example, an icon with the text "FEED" may be cryptic to users whose primary language is non-Latin based. Text is very important to support an icon (in tool-tips or accompanying text). In English, we will be using the verb "subscribe" fairly widely whenever text is appropriate.

Microsoft ultimately chose Stephan Horlander's Firefox icon -- with permission -- and will use it in all of its software.

The RSS Advisory Board should officially support the common feed icon, adopting the symbol on its own site and encouraging its use on web sites, browsers, and syndication software.

Additionally, the board should encourage web publishers to use the icon on any feed, regardless of whether it employs Atom or the two formats that call themselves RSS: RDF Site Summary and Really Simple Syndication.

As technology reaches mass adoption, the technical details fade into the background. This is already beginning to happen with syndication, in spite of several years of "tastes great/less filling" between advocates of different formats.

In Internet Explorer 7, two words are completely absent from all places where Microsoft tells users how to read their favorite web sites using syndication -- RSS and Atom:

The benefits of syndication are still a hard sell for non-technical people, seven years after Dan Libby of Netscape published the first format called RSS. The use of a common icon and jargon-free language like "subscribe to a feed" have the potential to make things considerably easier.

RSS Board Launches Socialtext Wiki

The RSS Advisory Board now has a wiki provided by member Ross Mayfield and Socialtext.

The impetus behind the launch of the workspace is to support efforts on the RSS-Public mailing list, such as software tests like one that I've been conducting to see how well aggregators can display a diaresis character.

Anyone can create an account and edit pages, as long as it's related in some form to what we're doing on the advisory board. The wiki can be used to collectively draft etiquette policies and other guidelines as they become necessary.

Please feel free to experiment with its collaboration tools.

Thanks, Ross!

Proposal: Add Two New Board Members

The following RSS Advisory Board proposal has been made by Randy Charles Morin and seconded by Rogers Cadenhead.

Under the board charter, this begins a seven-day discussion period so any interested parties can comment on the proposal. (The best place to comment is on the mailing list RSS-Public.)

When that ends, the board will have seven days to vote on it.

Proposal

I propose that we change the charter to expand the RSS Advisory Board to 11 members and that the two new members be Scott Johnson and Greg Smith.

Scott is a founder of both Ookles and Feedster.

Greg is the author of the FeederReader RSS aggregator for mobile Windows devices.

Update: This proposal has been tabled.

Proposal: Expand the Board to 15 Members

Update: This proposal was withdrawn on Feb. 24.

The following RSS Advisory Board proposal has been made by member Rogers Cadenhead and seconded by Randy Charles Morin.

Under the board charter, this begins a seven-day discussion period so any interested parties can comment on the proposal. (The best place to comment is on the mailing list RSS-Public.)

When that ends, the board will have seven days to vote on it.

Proposal

There's been a lot of public discussion about the RSS Advisory Board this past weekend, and some of it has been about whether the group's truly representative of the RSS development community.

Some of the comments are making me uncomfortable, because I know there's absolutely no desire among members of the board to control RSS, own RSS, or get an advantage for a particular company. People joined because they thought it was a way to pitch in and help.

I'd like the board to expand to 15 members so we can bring on more people who have a stake in Really Simple Syndication and a desire to help out with matters such as the spec proposal and other ways to make it easier to implement.

I've received a few requests to join from people who'd be good to have on board.

The following procedure would be used to choose new members:

  1. As board chair, I'll take e-mail requests to join for a week and put up a list of everyone who asks in, with a sentence describing their background.
  2. Applicants will be asked to post on RSS-Public about why they'd like to help.
  3. Board members will each choose three people from the list.
  4. The six applicants chosen most often will be invited.
RSS News

Advisory board member Jenny Levine offers her thoughts on RSS icons.

Voting has begun on a proposal to add Greg Smith, the developer of the FeederReader PocketPC RSS client, to the RSS Advisory Board.

RSS Advisory Board voting began today on the proposal to support the Common Feed Icon.

Efforts to create a best practices profile for RSS have begun on the RSS-Public mailing list.

Mark Woodman wants to know: Do you suffer from RSS Anxiety Disorder?