Dear Mr. Winer,
I hope you won’t mind me being so forward as to write to you. I know that we have never talked before, although I have followed your site for some time and I have especially paid attention to your trip to Boston and your work now at Harvard.
On your site recently, you have talked many times about Creative Commons licenses and integrating them in to Radio weblogs. It is a good thing to see a developer who cares about implementing things to benefit the users of the end product.
To that point though, I’ve discovered something that I find somewhat distressing over at Weblogs.com. I appreciate the fact that you allow me, someone that doesn’t use Radio, to ping the site. I use the XML feed that you offer in my news reader software to find new sites on a regular basis. But it wasn’t until recent discussions on the use of Weblogs.com for populating Blogshares that I took the time to dig through all the pages of the Weblogs.com site.
With all of the other documentation provided in your other projects being so well written, I found it interesting that there is NO mention of what the data from Weblogs.com can or might be used for. There is no terms, no policy, not even a blurb stating that the data is wide open to the public and can be used for anything under the sun. This is the reality of the matter – anyone can parse the feed that you offer there – but it’s not stated anywhere on the site.
Perhaps this was simply an oversight. I know when I am deep in a project I don’t always see little details like this. However, for the blog novice who is pinging Weblogs.com with no understanding of what that ping truly means, what XML or RSS is, and what can be done with the data, I think the time has come to post a disclaimer or additional information of some sort to make them aware.
Mr. Winer, I feel this is your responsibility as a leader in the Internet community, a software developer, and the owner of the Weblogs.com site. So, will you do it? At least warn people that their data is up for grabs once they ping your site, and that you have no control over who uses the data or for what purpose once the ping occurs.
I look forward to your response.