Dave’s dark side returns to the forefront

Well, I guess the blog hiatus I mentioned yesterday didn’t last too long – my old friend Dave Winer has gone and done something outrageously stupid, even for Dave (and that’s saying something). After a couple of posts in which he made cryptic comments about someone stealing ideas from him, and how he was going to retire from blogging and disappear somewhere, now comes a bombshell from Dave’s long-time friend Rogers Cadenhead, who took over the RSS Advisory Board and so earned the everlasting Wrath of Winer. TM

According to what Rogers said in his post, he got a letter from an attorney acting for Dave, asking for money to be repaid and intellectual property of his – related to the OPML project – to be returned and any use of that property by Rogers Cadenhead to cease. As described by Rogers, this refers to development work that he did for Dave on scripting.com and Weblogs.com, and also some things he did related to the development of OPML, which according to Rogers is largely an open standard.

Of course, this whole affair stems from the RSS debacle, which gets weirder by the day. And let’s remember one thing: Rogers Cadenhead has supported Dave throughout the years, trying to work with him on RSS and other matters – and in fact, tried so hard to defend Dave that others have accused him of being a “Winer lackey” and “sycophant.” And this is what he gets for it. As he puts it:

“[Dave] has succeeded in making me sorry I took his invitation back in 2004 to get involved in RSS, a syndication format that will forever be mired in childish personal animus because of his mistaken belief that allowing other people to contribute to its success will rob him of credit.

Dave has a response here, but it does little to change the perception of a spoiled child who wants to hang on to what he feels is his toy, and not let anyone else have it. And as Shelley points out at Burningbird, very few people are talking about it (other than a few brave souls such as James Robertson), which in all likelihood is because they are Dave’s friends or because they are afraid of him, or because he is so toxic that they don’t want to get involved. And what sucks about that is it allows a beneficial technology to be held hostage by a single man.

10 thoughts on “Dave’s dark side returns to the forefront

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  3. It won’t last long – RSS is still an open standard, Dave is tired and cannot go on alone. It’s either lead (he did) follow (he is) or get out of the way (he’s in the process of doing). Just have to patient while the process works itself out.

    Peter

  4. You’ve given very short shrift to Dave’s side of the story, Mathew. I don’t think either side is spotless in this instance, especially if what Dave says it true about Rogers taking public what they had agreed would be a private matter between lawyers. Did you consider at any point that Rogers might not be a saint?

  5. Do we really believe Dave’s side of the story? That lawyer letter seemed to be a lot more tense than Dave’s story. So either the lawyer went over the top, or Dave’s lying — you pick.

  6. Thanks for the comment, Paul — I realize I’ve given Dave’s side the short end of the stick, and that was deliberate. I’m prepared to believe that Rogers isn’t a saint, but given what has happened in the past involving Dave, I would say that Rogers is a heck of lot closer to sainthood than Dave is.

    Mathew

  7. “,,, the RSS debacle, which gets weirder by the day …”

    Weirdness tends to follow the money 🙂

    Paul: I think you’re improperly implying a moral equivalence. Here’s a simple point: Dave had the option of saying “My lawyer was too aggressive, I apologize and withdraw any threat of litigation.” He didn’t. Or anything close to it. That’s just one profound asymmetry (that the target had been derided as a “lackey” and “sycophant” is to me another telling point as to why we are dealing with abuse and not equals).

  8. I don’t know either of these guys personally, but I do e-joy reading their posts now and then. I especially like the DaveNet archives.

    Get into any topical discussion out here in the wild, something strikes a chord and bam, the e-pinions hit the fan.
    I dont’ think Rogers should have posted the attorney’s letter. I do not think for a moment that Dave is above distortion by his virtual self.

    When the chord resonates, the virtual self can emotionally flog the keyboard and at that moment none of us is above distortion – that includes Rogers and the rest of us.

    It comes down to a matter of perception I think. I try to be fair, AND I ‘viturally’ do not perceive Dave to be as bad as his detractors do. I ‘virtually’ do not perceive Rogers to be as pure of heart as his supporters do.

    Virtually it is interesting. Personally does it really matter? Not much.

    Two important words here, communication and trust. Another two words – money and power often get in their way.

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