Dave Winer thinks it's all messed up that we have 15 RSS feeds and so now others think that too. I'm pretty sure we were one of the first sites to actively need and use multiple 2.0 enclosure feeds over a year ago and now that we have so many, I respectfully disagree that it's messed up; this method of having multiple RSS feeds is working just fine - it may actually work better than having all of the media data in one feed. Distribution platforms are extending RSS to automate getting content from their clients into their various systems, for example, and each require a different data set, naturally. Why leave it up to regular aggregators or the audience to figure out how to configure an extremely complex set of variables that will always be changing and evolving and specifically different for different content sources?
Yahoo produced their own update earlier this year, Media RSS, with allowance for multiple enclosures. Everyone I know seems to accept it, only when asked. No one I know seems to otherwise acknowledge it. And while I can incorporate it as as our 16th additional feed, at this point, I dont really foresee an industry standard there so what's the point of complicating things further unless I am required to have it in order to deal with Yahoo?
Apple added their own specs which are required to deal with Apple. As far as I can determine, the specs have been approved (it doesn't break anything else) yet the complaints have been more likely do to psychological "pollution", especially in terms of the aesthetic branding that surrounds the other transparent business (i.e. now all these playing xml pages have links to Apple and Apple's outstanding presence in the code). Some publishers considered the move by Apple to be rude because they felt it technically "messed" with their feed (<-singular).
Thus, Apple's implementation of iTunes specific requirements led to a perfect example of a need for a separate feed. Most people, however, simply added the Apple specs to their pre-existing feed. Being in the habit already, it made sense to me to simply create a new feed which was "designed" specifically for the iTunes user experience.
It was fair for Apple to create their own standard because they needed a specific layout with a more refined data-set to fit the design of iTunes (because Apple pays attention to design). Great, I want people who use iTunes to experience Rocketboom in a way that works well in iTunes too. As a publisher, I know how iTunes looks so I can put a different image up, a different description, a catered set of metadata in an order that better suits certain features regarding user experience on only their platform, etc. Extend this to the PSP, telephone enclosures and personal preferences with players and aggregators or even home spun PHP, it makes sense to keep it clean and organized as separate feeds.
Furthermore, it's easier to migrate or upgrade the people of one feed without effecting everyone else.
Also, we need separate feeds any way: we have private feeds that we use to distribute higher quality files to other platforms; tonight I'm taking a break here from working on a password protected subscription torrent feed with an option for HD h264 or wmv, for instance.
With multiple feeds, I feel like we may have more control over offering a simpler, more personalized experience for our audience because we know what we have, how it should be organized, how it looks, how people are using it and how to cut out all the extra packets that they are not using.
I didn't mean to imply that you were doing anything wrong, I just felt it indicated a failure on all of our part to work together to make it simple for the user, who must somehow know which of those feeds to choose. I was confused myself, and that's not a good sign, because I might know more about this stuff than anyone else. If I'm confused, imagine how confused a user would be.
It would be like arriving at an airport and seeing all kinds of signs directing you to go here or there based on criteria bout things you don't know anything about. What are the chances you'd make it on the plane and end up at the right destination?
So what if you could make some choices, could you make it simpler for the user? I think if you did you'd get more users, assuming that's your goal.
Thanks for the nice words about the show. I definitely could (and will) do a lot work on my end to help the situation on our feed page, making it clear what the choices are and why, especially for people who still don't know what RSS is.
Setting aside my particular case, am I correctly inferring from your comment (due to lack of refutation) that you would consider the plausibility of multiple feeds as the way to go for the various file "options" and to suit various platform designs? Or are you of the mindset that multiple options should be generally accounted for in one feed?