Otis Redding and Battle Over RSS

But the soft words
That are spoke so gently, yeah
It makes it easier, easier to bear…
-Otis Redding

I’ve been mildly following the great RSS debate, mostly via Mathew Ingram‘s posts. It seems Dave Winer and some other people involved in the development of RSS are fighting. I can’t tell who’s right, but it makes for some interesting reading.

I actually emailed Dave and asked for permission to email him a few short questions, like I do in preparation for many articles here. But he never responded (of course), so I’ll have to try to figure all of this out second hand.

On the one hand, Dave seems to share my skepticism about advisory boards. Put a check in his column.

On the other hand, either the other side is so off in left field that Dave has thrown up his hands or Mathew’s correct when he says Dave needs to take the Otis Redding approach and Try a Little Tenderness. Pending further review, I’m going to have to put a check in the other column for unnecessary fighting.

So the best I can tell, Dave says this Advisory Board doesn’t exist (which clearly it does, but its authority is in question), while the board keeps on doing its thing, taking votes and whatnot.

catboxingI’ve said before that I have no problem with people who are direct and speak their minds, even if it means they tell me I’m wrong about something. But extreme directness works a lot better in a dinner table conversation about current events than it does when you’re trying to get something done as part of a group. Whether that group is an advisory board or a board of directors or the human race, if you want or need people to be invested in the process, you simply can’t yell at them and call them stupid. Even if they deserve it.

I’m not interested enough in this squabble to try to figure out who’s right and who’s wrong.

But I will say this Dave. Sometimes you can be right and still be wrong.

If you’re not careful, the issue will become one about personalities as opposed to issues. Once that happens, all that will matter to the sides is attacking the other and absolutely nothing will get done.

So let’s all sing a little Otis, shall we?

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