(2003 to 2005)

Syndication and the Echo-Chamber

Mon Mar 22 19:48:00 UTC+1100 2004


Just a thought:

I reckon there should be a facility in news aggregators to filter or highlight messages that are 'echos'. So if someone blogs about news that someone else has already blogged about, then they can flag the URL of the message they are echoing, and perhaps the feed URL they read the item on. Perhaps even some very basic level of flags, such as 'this item is news' or 'this item is opinion', so I can guess if the author of the echo is actually telling me something more than the news. My news aggregator will already have knowledge of whether or not I read this news (because it knows all the feeds I receive and their 'read status') so I could 'grey out' or 'mark as read' items that are determined to be echos.

I guess it could get complicated and difficult to manage, but the echo-chamber is an observable reality, so it warrants inclusion in the syndication formats (in my view). Information overload is a pretty serious problem for me, and I'm guessing for everyone else too. In many ways RSS is making things worse. I like getting the echos though, because often I miss things, and I like the idea of humans working together to aggregate news and thoughts in addition to just software. :P

This way, in the UI of an aggregator I can choose to not read items that I can probably guess are just going to tell me something I heard about yesterday.

I see a lot of people try to include 'credits' for the person 'they heard it from' in various non-standard ways inside the content of the message. Basically at the end of the day it would be best if this was built in to the syndication format in some manner.. I know there are various things like track-backs etc. that I don't entirely grok, but there doesn't seem to be anything that is built in for managing the 'echo-chamber'..

I guess someone is already having a bitch-fight about this somewhere on the web, is this kind of feature going to pop up in syndication formats sometime soon?

I heard a rumour (not sure where) that the two major feed formats (RSS and ATOM) are planning to merge for their next versions.. is this true?


Copyright © 2003-2005 John Elliot