Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

WordPress, web development, and world domination.

Meme Roundup

There have been several new memes lately that I have thoughts on, but I just haven’t had the time to comment on them here. I still don’t have time to discuss them in as much depth as I’d like, but here’s a quick summary:

  • RSS 1.1:

    I have mixed feelings on this. It fixes one of my biggest complaints about RSS 1.0, which was the requirement for the rdf:Seq list, which seemed redundant with the content elements. But it still doesn’t address the biggest problem that all RSS flavors have: it doesn’t specify how to handle HTML content.

  • Universal Subscription Mechanism:

    It took me a few minutes to understand what problem this is addressing. Basically, the idea is that we want a more user-friendly experience when people click on RSS feeds in their web browsers. The problem is that if you set up an application to handle certain MIME types under Windows, the application only gets the content, not the URL that the content came from. So, there’s not an easy way to add a feed to your RSS aggregator application by simply clicking the feed’s link. But by adding a self-link to your feed, as suggested by USM, we get a standard way for a feed to specify a canonical URL for itself, thus allowing applications to handle the URL as needed.

    Just to offer other viewpoints on this, I’ll also point you to RevJim’s ideas on Feed Playlists.

  • rel=”nofollow”:

    Excellent. Google (and other search engines say they’ll be on-board, as well) provides us a simple way to link to things without suggesting that the link is an endorsement. Which means that we can suck the Googlejuice out of links from comment spammers. There’s still lots fo discussion going on about the implications, both pro and con. But for folks who actively manage their blogs, the general consensus is that this is a good thing. Eric Meyer has some good thoughts on the subject.

  • Technorati Tags:

    After all the work we put into the heirarchical categories for WordPress, the hot new thing is tags. I have to admit, the freeform nature of tags has me hooked. Between and Flickr, there was already a lot of good taggy metadata synergy going on. Technorati’s support for tags has finally pushed me over the edge, and I’m going to be implementing a tags system here, using a tags4wp plugin created by Kellan, and improved by Sam Angove. c.f. A more scholarly paper on folksonomies, by Adam Mathes.

More when I have time!

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
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12 Responses to Meme Roundup

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  4. Earle says:

    The great thing about Technorati tags is that it recognizes your WordPress hierarchical categories. For instance, and only because I know this works for my site and my blog categories and I have not applied any technorati tags to any of the posts on my site, I have a category called “cell phone”. If I run this technorati tag query,, it recognizes the categories on my site. Nice, right?

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  6. Anne says:

    Actually, it does specify how to handle HTML content. (Not, you need to use the XHTML module if you want to use HTML semantics in your posts.)

  7. Alex says:

    I don’t understand why WP cats can’t be used as tags. Don’t create a hierarchy (keep everything at the top level) and apply the cats like tags…

  8. Earle: Yes, Technorati can recognize your existing categories as tags by picking them up from your RSS feeds. No plugins required! 🙂

    Anne: you’re right. I was thinking of the other versions of RSS. But RSS 1.0 does have some shortcomings. However, Atom seems to cover the bases pretty well. I really don’t know why we need a new version of RSS.

    Alex: WP categories can be used as tags. However, unless you modify the base system (like with the plugin I’m using), you must define your categories ahead of time. The difference between “tags” and “categories” in this case is that you can create tags on the fly, without any forethought, whereas you must create categories before you publish your post.

  9. Emanuele says:

    @Alex,Dougal: I’m actually using a plugin to support tagging in WP 1.5 without impacting cats.

    This plug-in comes from R.B.Boyer ( and i’ve modified it adding tag intersection (i.e ia+folsonomies style). You can have a look on my blog.

    It uses WP custom fields and permits tag creation on the fly, hierarchical listings of current used tags (with a lot of options), list of tags for the current post but it lacks a real “suggest the best/related tag” feature based on Javascript or Ajax.


  10. Cade says:

    This sounds ignorant, but what would you say is the definition of a meme and what is it’s purpose?

  11. Dougal says:

    This sounds ignorant, but what would you say is the definition of a meme and what is it’s purpose?

    That’s a good question. The Wikipedia page for Meme has a good description if you want more details. But basically, a meme is an idea that spreads quickly through culture (or at least through some subset of a culture).

    Some pop-culture examples of memes are catch phrases like “Show me the money!”, or music videos like the treadmill choreography for that “Okay Go” song, “Here We Go Again“.

    Blogger culture often has its own memes that people outside of blogging probably wouldn’t understand, such as the ones I mentioned above, or odd things like I’M IN UR [noun] [verb]ING UR [noun] and I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?.

  12. Super Nerd says:

    RSS 1.1 was a joke, I totally agree with you. I’m glad things have gotten better with age.

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