Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Online Events Daily

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Mar 28, 2010

Originally posted on Half an Hour, March 28, 2010.

Create Your Own Events

Though my system is not yet ready for prime time, it's up and running and ready for some live data. Not everything works, but almost everything works, and I'd really like to get people's feedback and opinions.

Here's the site: Online Events Daily

Here's the dynamic version of the front page. This site lists free and open live online events that are taking place now. You can have your events listed here, provided they are:
  • Live - they have to take place in real time, preferably with a live text or audio chat.
  • Open - they have to be accessible to anyone. Yes, you can require a registration, but no, you can't require pre-registration. Why? The whole idea is to allow people to see what's on now and go there, without planning.
  • Free - you cannot charge for admission.
OK, your event satisfies these conditions? Great. Here's how the system works:

You create RSS-Event feeds and post them on your website. I harvest these feeds and display the events here.

The idea is that I can harvest RSS-Event feeds from many places, bring them all together, organize them chronologically, and let people know what's happening right now.

RSS-Events is a format specific to this site (though I hope it will spread). So this site also gives you a way to create your own RSS-Events feed. Eventually, though, I hope you'll just create them yourself, from the template. Here's a sample RSS-Events file. The RSS-Events schema is available here.

First, create an use account on this website. Click here to create your account. Come back to this page when you're done. (Note, OLDaily registrations will not work here; you need to create a new account.)

Second, create a sample event. Use this form to create your first event. This is a detailed form intended to guide you through the process.
The form is intended to be used only once or twice. I don't want you to always use this form. There are more convenient forms further in, and as I stated above, I would rather you created your own RSS-Events file. One step at a time, though.

Third, once you've crearted an event you'll gain access to the event management services.
- List your events and edit them
- Create New Event

Fourth, when you look at your event list, you will be able to find out your person number (it will be stated near the top of the page, like this: "You are person number: 8808"). This person ID can be used to create three separate pages:
  • Event Listing -
    Use this listing to look at all your events, or copy the page and post it in your blog or on a web page.
  • Standard RSS Listing -
    This is ordinary RSS and can be used to create an RSS feed that will be aggregated by Google Reader or other RSS readers just like normal.
  • RSS-Events Listing-

    This feed lists your events in RSS-Events. Place this feed on your website and tell me where it is (email me at (eventually I'll just make a form). Then you can add events to the feed just by editing the feed, and they'll show up automatically.

    Note that for security purposes, your feed must be in the domain identified in owner_url. So use a general domain (like, say, ) as owner_url, then post your feed under it (like, say, )
You might wonder, why do I do it this way?

First and foremost, I want you to own your own data. By keeping the events feed on your site, you control it. Want to change the title, URL, date? Just change your feed.

Second, I don't want to monopolize event listings. Yes, I know, good business sense says that I should gather all the data and keep it for myself. Like Facebook. But I think we get a better system if everybody can aggregate events and create event listings.

Finally, yes, I will eventually harvest iCal and hevent, etc. And I'll produce ical and hevent, etc.
Why didn't I use those formats to begin with? Because, honestly, they are too limited. I wanted to include things like access URLs, online environments, hosts and presenters, etc., which you can't do in those other formats.

Also, I wanted to create complex events. More on that as I get more written.

Now again, note, it's not fully automated yet. I have to update the front page and do the harvests manually, which means you won't see stuff happen right away. But, have fun with it, and send me email at if you have any complaints or suggestions.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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