A problem I have encountered fairly consistently in writing this site, and a significant part of why I had previously abstained from adding a feed, is because of a peculiar property of hypertext: I often find myself traversing into tangent after fascinating tangent as I write. The net effect is usually one of the following:

What I ultimately want to do, however, is publish only the ideas and arguments that do not depend on things that haven't been written yet, and separately publish entire linked clusters of documents at once. I maintain that this configuration is difficult to reconcile with the conventional understanding of publishing and syndicating content on the Web.

As I explore elsewhere, a syndication feed is a format for depicting distinct events that occur in and around a set of Web resources. The vast majority of feeds are produced and consumed as news items, to be processed and marked as read. A real scenario I encounter is that I revisit a document to move a footnote into its own space, flesh it out and link it from the original.

How do I treat my reader in this case? Do I send an event that the original document was updated and revive an item she so diligently checked off? Do I generate an entry for the new document which is actually derived from a paragraph in the original document, which she has likely already read? Do I really want to play Internet Whac-a-Mole with my readers?

I could syndicate only those paragraphs that are small enough to be completely saturated with links to existing documents, but I generate those so often I worry about reader fatigue. Moreover, I doubt the overall utility of my own stream of out-of-context blathering. In my opinion, feeds are an excellent way to notify and get notified about blog posts and updates to your favourite Wiki page, but past a certain frequency they become unfit for human consumption.

A syndication feed that I believe would capitalize much more thoroughly on the essential properties of hypertext is one that notifies of new links. Links can be inbound, harvested from trackbacks and access logs, outbound, harvested from the content, or from one point to another within the system. Each entry in the feed could manifest the source, target and type of link, as well as provide some context in which it was used. Whether implemented as a stop-gap or permanent solution, readers could experience this way how ideas become enriched, instead of just another mole to whac.