I'm a not a big fan of Wiki technology, mostly because I find the markup annoying and the random nature of Wiki changes difficult to follow. However, many Wiki software packages offer RSS feeds so that one can subscribe to a feed of changes in your favorite aggregator.
But they all suck.
At least all the ones I've tried do. Rather than take advantage of the fact that most people are reading RSS feeds in something capable of displaying HTML, nearly every Wiki RSS feed I've tried has been disappointing at best.
The most recent one I tried was the Channel9 Wiki Feed. (For a change, I'm not specifically bashing Microsoft here. This is simple the last one I tried.) Instead of providing much useful information (like *what* changed or even a snapshot of how it looks *now*), all I get is something like this:
WallopRequestList was changed 61 times by nathy, 000127A7BCBA48DF, blowdart, vivi734, Baretta, yydon, rocaliu, parachutist, selflex, Summer Maples, jackiebrent, HyLin312, cravingnigel, 00014A106DF3ED1B, plaptw, 0003000080E342B8, JThompson, erenhsiao, wek, Wek, nikanorov, huang.tseng, fdezjose, 00037FFE86C6ABFD, loadsgood, DigitalSnow, cnsoft, 00014A709211C50D, Aayush Puri, NetRyder
<sarcasm>Wow! That's soooo useful. Now I can build a script to figure out which nodes in the Wiki are changed the most often! ... or something</sarcasm>
Maybe my expectations are just wrong. Could these feeds be aimed at, not humans interested in actively participating in the evolution of an information space, but instead a piece of software somewhere that wishes to subscribe to a change notification feed for the purpose of mirroring the wiki?
That's all these seem to be: change notification feeds. "So and so change this node, but I'm not going to tell you how they changed it or even what it says no. You need to come back to me, the all powerful Wiki for that! (insert evil laugh)
Anyway, enough bitching. If anyone does know of a piece of Wiki software that produces RSS feeds that contain more than the absolute minimum of useful info, I'd love to hear about it.
Posted by jzawodn at January 02, 2005 10:40 AM