Due to my illness of the past month (I had mono), I’m extending the deadline of my Rename RSS contest.
NEW DEADLINE: I now will accept entries for this contest through Feb. 7, 2004. Online voting will begin Feb 8, 2004 and close Feb 21, 2004. After that, the panel of judges will make their final decision.
Some thoughts on the reaction this contest has gotten…
The reaction to this contest has certainly been interesting, and surprising. I understand why some people in the developer/programmer community have been offended by it.
The basic complaints raised by critics of this contest (often politely, occasionally savagely) have been as follows, with my responses:
- COMPLAINT: The acronym “RSS” already is in common usage, so it would be pointless, confusing, or divisive to try to come up with a vernacular equivalent.
– Amy: While the acronym “RSS” is indeed already commonly used among technophiles and geeks (and I agree that it’s entirely appropriate for that audience), there’s a MUCH wider universe of people who might enjoy, use, and benefit from RSS but who also get very turned off by acronyms. RSS will really only take off the way the Web has if it can attract a broad and diverse audience.
- COMPLAINT: By trying to find a vernacular term for RSS, I’m somehow trying to “hijack” or “steal credit for” RSS, or rename the technical standard.
Amy: My intent with this contest definitely was NOT to hijack or steal credit for RSS in any way. To be quite honest, this particular complaint has been delivered to me with the most ferocity, and I’m completely stunned and baffled by it. All I can say is: Sorry, no. That’s completely off-base, and in my estimation a significant overreaction to this contest. Chill, please.
- COMPLAINT: Vernacular terms should only spontaneously arise from the masses, so holding a deliberate contest is somehow perverting the natural path of linguistic evolution.
Amy: Yes, I realize vernacular terms usually do arise and get popularized spontaneously. Honestly, I don’t really expect that the winning name from this contest will catch on widely. I mean, it might but realistically it probably won’t. However, I do expect this contest to increase discussion of the issue of finding a less-geeky name for RSS, and that could increase the chance that a vernacular term for RSS would spontaneously arise and become popular. Or it could all flop, too. No worries. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the long run.
- COMPLAINT: Nobody is going to pay attention to the results of this contest, so it’s a waste of time to offer it.
Amy: Well, it’s very possible that the result of this contest will not end up being popularly adopted as vernacular. However, as I mentioned above, I think that the discussion sparked by this contest is rewarding and constructive. Also, I’m considering this contest as a sort of “whiteboard” for brainstorming to support the discussion of the future of RSS. So for those reasons, no, I don’t think this contest is a waste of time not my time, at least!
- COMPLAINT: I’m only offering this contest to attract attention to my weblog.
Amy: Well, every posting I make to this weblog is in part motivated for a desire to attract attention to CONTENTIOUS. So in that sense, this contest is no different. Every weblog publisher (indeed, every publisher) welcomes and seeks to attract attention. Personally, I don’t think that background undermines the goals of this contest.
…That said, I’d like to thank everyone who has shared their thoughts about this contest with me, even those people who have disagreed strongly with the premise of this contest or questioned my motives. More comments are welcome. And of course, if you haven’t yet entered this contest, you can enter today!
I’d especially like to thank my readers for waiting patiently for me to recover from my recent illness to resume this contest. It’s a lot of work, and I had to feel up to it.
Let’s see what happens!