It’s just data

Social Engineering

RSS 2.0: In all cases, it’s recommended that you provide the guid, and if possible make it a permalink.

While this clearly falls far short of RFC 2119 terminology, for nearly three weeks now, the Feed Validator has issued a warning when it encounters an item in an RSS 2.0 feed that does not contain a guid.

Despite this warning being exposed to a large number of people during these weeks, today it received its first serious complaint.

This caused me to dig deeper.  Yesterday (Sunday, March 19th), this message was fetched a total of 404 times. Some were Google searches, some were references from my own weblog.  Ignoring all referers other than from the Feed Validator's check.cgi page left a total of 123 unique referers.  Attempting to re-validate those same 123 feeds results in:

My read is that three out of every eight people who saw this message added guids to their items within 24 hours of seeing the message.

To me, this message appears to be doing more good than harm.