How to define stories. How to define news.

Peter Harbeson
Mon, 3 Sep 2001 22:04:02 -0400

I can take a shot at question 2...

RSS stands for either RDF Site Summary or Rich Site Summary (or, for 
that matter Rich Site Syndication, Really Simple Syndication, or Rich 
Syndication Standard). It's an XML format used for sharing headlines 
among an arbitrary number of websites. The website originating the 
headline "syndicates" it by offering the headline in RSS format. An 
other site can "aggregate" this and other headlines (from an arbitrary 
number of sites) by reading the RSS-formatted data.

You can find the RSS 0.91 specification, as well as a great deal of 
other information, here:

As for question 3, the Skull icon, it represents "jump to the discussion 
group for this object." I've found that the skull icon has some 
usability problems, as it doesn't suggest to new users any particular 
function or task, and it's a pretty small target to "hit" with the 
pointer (see Fitts Law, ). Finally, I'm 
designing for a multinational audience, and while the skull seems to 
have a metaphoric suggestion for US natives, other people (in my limited 
test group) didn't associate it with anything, and were generally 
mystified. (I mention this point because there's some evidence that 
people are better at remembering things for which they already have some 
"mental map", even if that map doesn't fit perfectly.)

Personally, while the skull seems to be derived from the "desert" theme 
of graphics used on the Userland sites, I don't really understand what 
it has to do with discussions. On my sites, I've replaced the skull icon 
with the word "Discuss".

Hope this helps,
Pete Harbeson
Nokia Research Center, XML Knowledge Center, Boston

On Monday, September 3, 2001, at 08:07 PM, Don Saklad wrote:

> Thank you for the definitions Eric Soroos!
> 1. How would all these stores be converted to news?...
> 2. a. Exactly what is RSS 0.91 ?...
>    b. What is the form?...
> 3. What is the definition for the skull link?...
> 4. It would be great to compile in a glossary format terms,
>    definitions, examples, links to other guide links, etc.
> I remain, as always, one of many big fans of the weblogs
>  templates and most grateful for the people who make it
>  all possible!
> Cheers! and kind regards,
> oo__ dWs