Hiding in Plain Sight

This is a technical nit I’d like to pick. It’s true that when someone chooses to put their work on the internet, they don’t owe anything to anyone, but one thing that bothers me is when people who write things I enjoy on a regular basis don’t see fit to make that content available via syndication (a feed that can be read by a common newsreader that contains links and text of the latest content additions to the site). There may be commercial reasons for not providing this, like a site that has a lot of ads and needs people to actually visit the page, but they usually losing my eyeballs for good by not providing a feed at all. There might also be technical challenges, especially for those who don’t use a common blogging tool and have to roll their own, but RSS has been around since the late 90’s I think, so there are probably plenty of quick fixes floating around on the interwebs.

Larry Dierker – I loved listening to Milo and the Wrangler on the radio growing up, I thought he did a good job as a manager and didn’t deserve to get fired when he did (probably true of most managers). I have a signed copy of his first book. He wrote a blog for the Chronicle last year, but now he has his own site and every so often writes a short baseball essay that is usually very interesting. Check out the one about Morgan Ensberg today. However, since he doesn’t have a syndicated feed on his site, I don’t have any way to tell when he writes something new and I don’t remember to check every day, which often means I go weeks without visiting.

Lileks – The Daily Bleat is almost always worth a read, and since it’s daily you would think I would remember to check it, but I don’t. My daily web reading revolves around what shows up in Google Reader, so a lot of times I forget to check it.

Mark Steyn – Steynonline.com gets an incomplete, because he does offer a feed, but it’s confusing because it doesn’t seem to offer everything that’s posted on the site. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that a lot of what he writes are columns and features that are syndicated on dead tree in various newspapers and magazines, but it’s an annoyance.

ESPN – The “Worldwide Leader” has had feeds for a few years now, but they’re funky. You would think with the resources available to them they could produce feeds that consistently update, that don’t randomly change or drop content and that reliably point you to the correct location on the internet. But they don’t. Not to mention the whole Insider debacle. Sadly, like Sportscenter and BBTN, ESPN web content is largely a few nuggets of entertaining and informative analysis concealed in a bewildering amalgam of advertising, hype and banality.

Rotowire – the latest culprit. Rotowire is fun, especially around the trading deadline because they are a constantly updating source of rumors. They have good stats and interesting features. Their recent site update added some blogs, covering various sports, but no feeds. That a media site would add a blog without a feed today is incomprehensible and reflects a lack of understanding of the internet today.

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