Empire of (white on orange) XML

I actually felt a brief and surprising flare of hope the other week, when Dave was saying that rather than the incomprehensible and unlocalizable white-on-orange “XML” button to indicate the presence of an RSS feed, people ought to use a white-on-orange “Subscribe” button. Sure, it’s problematic on newspaper sites, where they tend to use that word to mean “give us your credit card number, and we’ll ship sliced dead trees to your house,” but a step away from “XML” as button text is a step in the right direction.

Unfortunately, that was apparently a brief detour, and in reaction to the Microsoft RSS Team’s heretical use of a white on orange image with no text, now we’re back to:

Note to those who think the white-on-orange XML icon isn’t suitable for international use, consider that the People’s Daily, of the People’s Republic of China, uses the icon, as-is, without reinventing it. I figure if it’s good enough for the Chinese, it should be good enough for Microsoft.

Um. Dave? That’s the English edition of the People’s Daily. That’s why everything looks familiar to you: it’s supposed to. If instead you look at the GB-2312 Chinese edition, you’ll find that virtually nothing looks familiar, and the only things that do, URLs and email addresses and one lonely link reading RSS订阅, are the result of us insisting that the whole world use our character set. Try this on for size: how about if everyone around the world, no matter what language they speak, uses as the label on the submit button for every web form (picking a couple of characters at random, which I hope don’t say something like “dog puke”) “搜索” and for the reset button, “希索”?


Comment by Micah #
2005-10-16 02:34:50

”RSS订阅” is, interrestingly, a compromise: ”Subscribe to RSS”.

Comment by Richard #
2005-10-16 02:45:23

Can someone remind me, if something that’s good enough for a Communist dictatorship is good enough for a heartless multinational corporation, then why is that thing good for me?

Comment by Aristotle Pagaltzis #
2005-10-16 03:04:48

Why do we even need those damned buttons at all? Is there any use case that autodiscovery can’t handle? (And why does Winer think he is the arbiter of everything to do with syndication?)

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2005-10-16 16:27:38