Aaron Swartz observes that enforcing well-formed and valid RSS won’t work. It’s a prisoners’ dilemma. Anyone making tools which consume RSS have an incentive to defect, and write something forgiving. Of course, you know where that leads: an aggregator war.
You don’t want war. You don’t want to produce a broken feed. It’s not that hard. Tim Bray explains why you at least want to produce a well-formed feed, because RSS isn’t just about weblogs:
[W]hen I’m reading a feed describing my credit-card transactions, if a charge comes through without a date-stamp I want the aggregator to scream loudly and let me know; something here is gravely amiss, either with the credit card, the bank, or the software.
That’s the difference. We can afford to be forgiving about markup ment to be read by humans. Our minds can work around errors introduced by parsers attempting to guess at the author’s intent.
Update: and of course, in the process of cutting and pasting a quote from Tim’s weblog, I broke my feeds. hubris: -1
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