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.