Sunday August 26, 2007 at 3:38am rss, website Comments (2) »

So I finally got a very bare-bones rss feed working for this site - at the request of Kevin. It can be referenced here:

This was fun to do in a 'just because i can' sort of way... ...but i really don't get the rss thing.

Perhaps I am not as cool as some of you, or maybe I just don't understand it enough, or maybe my feed's just too simplistic, or maybe i just enjoy visiting actual websites too much - but I don't see rss as being that cool in any way except for having all of your info in one place and being slightly easier to tell if there's anything new - basically, saving time at the expense of some site features.

I mean, I put a lot of work into the site, and i believe most (if not all) websites are more than the sum of their parts - that is, the information contained in them. The rss feed neatly skips all that.

...and generally if i'm really interested in something, i don't have to use such ruthless efficiency to get at it.

I also notice that the rss 'articles' are kind of 'fire and forget' That is, if I make changes to them later (even if i update the feed as such), most of the rss viewers that i've messed with say basically 'i already have that article' and don't look at it again. This is probably by necessity, but still - it makes things difficult for people like me who tend to do quite a bit of post editing.

And other streams like comments either have to have their own feeds (which seems a little silly to me), or just get left out (like they did in this case).

So - all of you rss fans out there, tell me what's so great about it and/or how i'm using it wrong, as i am as yet somewhat unconvinced.


The Evilest Penguin says...

Well, there are a couple of reasons. Consider three broad categories of site: 1) The site that gets new content regularly, on a predictable schedule, or pretty much constantly, you love to check, and a)is so popular that if everyone who visited actually VISITED their alloted bandwidth would be eaten up faster than a sausage pizza on game night. (i.e. BoingBoing) In which case you get a lovely, quick-to-browse Page 'O Goodies every time you open your feed reader. b) is image-intensive (i.e NotCot), and you get the same Page 'o Goodies c) is text-intensive and all you want is a quick blurb to see if it's anything worth reading in depth ((i.e. BBC news) d) you're not smart enough to actually leave comments on, so all you need/want/feel brave enough to do is to take a look at the content (i.e. Higgaion) ;) 2) The site that gets new content on a rare or less-than-predictable basis. In which case you don't have to hit the site every day hoping for something new only to be disappointed half the time. (i.e. OotS or Llama's blog) 3) The site that gets new content on a steady but relatively slow basis, such as many blogs do, or you're an active participant on. In which case you want an alert that something new popped up since you checked this morning. (i.e. I can have an rss feeder for comments from my blog) In this scenario, the feed actually encourages you to go to the site perhaps more often than normal since you know for certain that something new is present and may require a response from you. Granted, the rss feeder works best for people who have a lot of sites they like to keep up with (as Kevin does) and/or don't have time during their regular routines to traverse all the sites they enjoy (such as myself).

Penguinsushi says...

I mean, i know enough about how it works to realize those benefits. I guess I just don't feel drawn to enough sites to really warrant it. I do see how it could be beneficial for checking up on sites you're only passingly interested in, however, and as a quick way to see if there's any reason you should actually visit the site. ~PS

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