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RSS Feeds

In this case, I'm referring to the <strong>R</strong>eally <strong>S</strong>imple <strong>S</strong>cience of the feed. Feeding a baby, in particular. But I'll extrapolate futher, because like all good scientific principles, this one can also be applied in a myriad of different realms.
After spending the last hour and a half of trying to feed Anne, I decided to share the obscure science of the feed.
Back when Anne was younger, it didn't matter if her milk came in the form of a breast or a bottle. She'd even drink milk that came straight out of the refrigerator. Cold breastmilk, of course. Not cow's milk. Now three and a half months old, her taste has grown more sophisticated. The milk has to warmed up just right, and it better come in the right packaging or there'll be hell to pay.
So where feeding her was once
<img alt="Graph of Ease of Feed against Hunger, Anne when younger than 3 months" src="http://tribolum.com/archives/2005/07/25/feedgraph.gif" width="400" height="313" class="img-center img-noborder" />
it is now starting to look like
<img alt="Graph of Ease of Feed against Hunger, Anne at3 months" src="http://tribolum.com/archives/2005/07/25/feedgraph2.gif" width="400" height="313" class="img-center img-noborder" />
As you can see, it is becoming exceedingly hard to find the right time to feed her. Too early, and you're left with a 98% full milk bottle that's quickly cooling down to room temperature. Feed her too late, and you'll be spending the next hour or so on your feet placating the little bugger. Oh, and you'll be holding a 98% full milk bottle doing it.
<h4>Update:</h4>
<a href="http://tribolum.com/archives/2005/07/25/rss_feeds.php#comment1">CC wanted to know</a> why I didn't put Anne directly to the breast.
Since Faith's maternity leave ended yesterday, the graph for CC's suggestion would look like this.
<img alt="Graph of Ease of Feeding Against Hunger, Me breastfeeding Anne" src="http://tribolum.com/archives/2005/07/25/feedgraph3.gif" width="300" height="442" class="img-center img-noborder" />
<h4>Same for RSS</h4>
Now for the extrapolation unto the less milk-related form of RSS. Techical jargon ahead. Reader beware.
There has been <a href="http://www.kottke.org/04/12/blocking-rss-advertising">a lot of talk about <acronym title="Rich Site Summary">RSS</acronym></a> and the giving up of content, the losing of regular site visitors to newsreaders, and whether we should be putting ads in RSS feeds to "recoup our losses", so to speak.
Like Anne, users used to be easy to feed. A good excerpt of what promises to be great content would have them checking out your site. But users have evolved to become more picky and a sort of power struggle ensues during feeding time. The user, who is used to being the center of attention, now demands full feeds so that he doesn't even have to visit the site anymore. The content provider would like some revenue from clickthroughs to ads, so the activity of content creation doesn't have to be an all-out altruistic, self-sacrificial act.
A parallel to Anne's feeding habits, here's to the user: Grow up. Just as Anne eventually needs to realise that her parents need sleep, you have to realise that freebies, while they do exist, don't last forever.
It is hard work producing content. Don't muzzle the ox when it plows your grain.

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