On inauguration day, while the internet was atwitter about the switchover of whitehouse.gov, I subscribed to The White House Blog. I wasn’t sure if it would stick, honestly, because my patience for political PR is pretty darn thin. So far, though, I’ve found the posting frequency to be very manageable, and the rhetoric hasn’t gotten too hot and heavy.
But… Despite the fact that their own copyright page proclaims, “Pursuant to federal law, government-produced materials appearing on this site are not copyright protected,” the RSS feed for the blog does not contain the full text of the posts. To read them, you have to click over to the main site. Since I’m usually cruising through my feed reader pretty fast, I find this annoying.
If you have content you want to protect, then I can live with the fact that you don’t want to spew your writing into RSS format (which, demonstrably, makes it marginally easier to slurp and steal). If you think your website is too pretty to allow your content to appear unadorned in Google Reader, then I think you may be a design snot, but I can respect that and deal. (Even Daring Fireball puts his full content out in his RSS feed now, and I have trouble believing that you are more of a design snot, or auteur, if you will, than John Gruber.) It lowers the probability that I will continue reading you, but in many cases I will (if I like you and/or your content meets my absurdly high standards). But what possible reason is there for putting public domain White House Blog posts behind a click wall?
President Obama, tear down this wall!