Robin Sloan is always good to read (although I have not, yet, had enough downtime to read Sourdough). His proposal foris no exception and I decided to give it the “close consideration” he asked for. I’m not sure I have any “generous imagination” to offer.
“RSS is too stark”
Maybe I don’t follow quite the same range of different outputs that Robin does, but for me, RSS is not too stark. Yes, a lot depends on presentation, but in a reader like Newsblur, where I can choose to see the story as presented online or only the text of the story, I have enough. What I don’t like is people who are too insecure, or maybe cash-strapped, to put the entirety of an item on RSS. Share, or don’t share.
“A touch of chaos”
Yes! I'm all for the idea of a 2d display of individual boards, more dry stone than brick wall, although I do see problems with how the boards that publishers offer are sized, legibility and other nit-picky things.
“So ... who runs these servers”
As for the technology of the Spring ’83 protocol itself and the question of who runs the servers, I have no opinion. I’ll be happy to play when the playground opens, and maybe even pay for the privilege. It sounds like fun.
Webmentions allow conversations across the web, based on a web standard. They are a powerful building block for the decentralized social web.