18 May 2005
A request to all bloggers out there with RSS feeds

This is a request to all of you out there with RSS feeds. Please ensure that they contain the full text of each posting.  Why’s that? Because, if, like me, you read blogs via aggregators such as Bloglines which in turn rely on RSS feeds then there are few things more frustrating than only being able to read the title and a couple of sentences of the entry.  Even if the entry looks good (and frankly, few do at that stage) there is a period of hesitancy while the reader weighs up the pros and cons: “...well, it looks good but then again I have to click and it opens up a new window and then I have to wait and then there’s the slightly disconcerting change of font, colour and background and after all that the entire article might only last five more words.”  It’s the sort of debate that often ends with: “Nah, can’t be bothered.”

Anyway, I guess there are some bloggers reading this who while pretty much accepting the argument are unsure of how to make this happen or even if this is a problem for them.  If you are one of them then to you I’ll make this rash promise: if you are prepared to give me a log-in with administrator privileges then (if I can) I will make the necessary adjustments, assuming they have to be made.  Can’t say fairer than that now, can you?

Update 22/05/05

Interesting comment from Phelps - he prefers extracts - and there I was thinking I was doing readers a favour.  Golly, hadn’t expected that (expect the unexpected, Ed).

So, that means I now have to produce two feeds.  Easier said than done - Expression Engine doesn’t do word-limited extracts - they have to be done manually.  Talk about being hoist by your own petard.

What we really need is aggregators that do the extracting for you though that would only work for web-based aggregators.  Maybe those clever people at Bloglines will come up with something.

Mind you, it does illustrate a general rule that (in a different context) I’ve remarked upon before: the web experience is very diverse.  Surfers use different operating systems, different resolutions, different browsers, different connection speeds and different chips.  In the context of RSS feeds, different aggregators.

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  1. I agree with you in generl, although I would make an exception for (e.g.) some of my own longer and more picture-filled entries.

    I used to read blogs using NetNewsWire - an offline Mac RSS reader - on the theory that I could load it up while I was having breakfast, then read on on the U-Bahn to work.  This made the incomplete entry people even more of a pain.

    But, might I suggest if you want to address a really serious blogospheric issue, you could usefully turn your attention to Brian Micklethwait’s lost archives?

    Posted by Alan Little on 18 May 2005 at 10:29am

  2. Frankly I hadn’t given it any thought. It was a simple enough fix. However, like Alan, some of my entries are essays of some length.

    Posted by Mark Ellott on 18 May 2005 at 10:35am

  3. As an offender, I restrict mine so that I get click-throughs. Maybe it’s counter-productive. I might change it.

    Posted by Andrew on 18 May 2005 at 05:58pm

  4. I’m with Andrew here. I know none of us britbloggers are anywhere close to making money out of this yet but the time will come when some are and it will be advertising driven. Got to get people to come to the actual site.

    Posted by Tim Worstall on 20 May 2005 at 03:55pm

  5. I offer both on my blog, but I prefer excerpts.  I use my aggro as a filter and notifier, not a reader, so I prefer to click through.  It is much easier in a tabbed browswer like Firefox, too.  Rather than open new windows, I use my browser based server-side aggro, and ctrl-click the links I want to read.  Each one loads in the back as a new tab, and then I go through the tabs, closing them as I read them.

    Posted by Phelps on 22 May 2005 at 09:07pm

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