I've been preparing for some time to write a long treatise on the evils of "partial-text" RSS feeds, and how I think everyone should switch to "full-text" feeds instead. I was going to point out that requiring people to actually come to your site to get the content is soooo 1999, and that the only conceivable reason for doing so was to improve your ad revenue. I'm not against ads per se, I just don't think they ought to inform your decisions on how your readers read your site.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there are peope who actually prefer to subscribe to feeds that don't contain the full text of articles. Presumably this is so they can more easily skim the content they don't want to read. It's not my cup of tea, but I now recognize that insisting that everyone use the type of feeds I like is pretty short-sighted. Now I'm going to argue that anyone providing RSS feeds of their content really ought to provide both a full-text and a partial-text feed, allowing the subscribers to make this decision.
With than in mind, I've now updated the site with new badges and new 'autodetected' feeds for browsers that can handle them. I'll also be updating the UI of the site to reflect the fact that pretty much anything can be read as an RSS feed, but in the meantime, any feed on the site can now be made a partial-text feed by simply tacking on "?partial" to the end of the url.
I did this by mucking around with the actual guts of my blog software, but for those of you who don't want to (or can't) engage in this type of haxoring, I suspect that there are 3rd-party feed services one could install. I know when I was looking into aggregating my feeds into the Nyquil Network feed, 95% of the different feed manipulator services I tried only generated partial-text feeds, so it ought to be a snap to get one of them to make you such a feed. Maybe Yahoo Pipes?
Will people subscribe to these partial-text feeds? I really doubt it, but they're there should someone want to. I'd hate to find out that someone who might otherwise be interested in my drivel was turned away because they couldn't subscribe the way they want. I know that I've sure unsubscribed from people for not using full-text feeds, so I think this is a wise step to have made.
Thoughts? Problems? (Oh, also: apologies to anyone whose feed reader caught me in the middle of haxoring. All sorts of crazy stuff was happening for a while there.)
The author lives in Vancouver, Washington, USA with his girlfriend and a menagerie of cats, rats, fish, birds, guinea pigs and robots.
Among other inanities, he strives to use investigative techniques to work young starlet breasts into every aspect of rational discourse -- focusing on the discourse, thus making it not perverted. Also, has recently begun a career as "Internet hairstylist."
He can be contacted via email and Jabber IM at 'email@example.com'. He likes to be contacted.
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