Joho the Blog » How much to RSS?

How much to RSS?

A reader at my new Corante blog complains that the RSS feed only contains about the first two lines.

Any thoughts about the wisdom of making the whole blog entry available via RSS? I’m inclined to do it.

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27 Responses to “How much to RSS?”

  1. I’ll be interested to see what others say, but my experience is that there are two camps (uses) of RSS, one that wants short summaries and one that wants full contents. So, I think it is best to offer both and let the reader decide.

  2. In order to see the entry’s summary, you need to have a feed written to RSS 2.0 specifications. There’s plenty more info about RSS here: http://rss.lockergnome.com/

  3. I would much rather have the whole article appear in my RSS syndicator than have to click a link and wait for the server.

  4. Please include the full text. I hate summary-only feeds.

  5. Yes — please include the full text. BTW I have no idea what fatdawg is on about — all RSSes > 0.91 have no problem with this, in my experience.

  6. I wonder about the wisdom of not making the whole blog entry available via RSS… And even with whole feeds I do visit the blog to read comments for interesting posts.

    Please follow your inclination ;-)

  7. I rarely read JoHo via the website anymore. I find it more convenient to use Bloglines.

  8. Hi David,
    I prefer full entries in RSS and it’s easy to do by changing one small line of code in Movable Type. (I’m not sure if you’re look for *how* to do it, but you can find out here.)

  9. Another benefit of a full-text RSS feed–you show up better in Feedster search results. Any word that isn’t in your RSS won’t be indexed by RSS-search engines like Feedster. Two weeks later, Google and Google Alertswill tell the world about what was in your HTML, if that’s any consolation.

  10. Do it.

  11. FWIW, I seem to do most reading within Bloglines these days, and while I can scan through and click on entries that aren’t fully contained in the RSS feed (and indeed, for my own RSS feed only have short descriptions– but hey, who reads my blog?– but I digress), I really like the whole entry thing. It’s one less thing to do when I find an interesting article.

  12. Me too! Full text all the way!

    (Ok, so I’ve just been reading Small Pieces and thought the “Me too!” thing was funny because you say that people online don’t do that, it just clutters up the conversation. So yeah, now that I’ve explained myself its not funny, hu?)

  13. I think “full contents” in RSS feeds defeats the RSS concept. RSS is meant for “Site Summary” or “Syndication” and NOT for “Content Management”. You don’t always have to listen to the users requests!

  14. Full entries. Makes offline reading possible (laptop on the train)…

  15. Shantanu Oak-

    To me syndication means full text. To syndicate something is to provide multiple copies of something all at once, in different venues. A partial copy is not a copy at all, a summary of a blog post is not a copy of that blog post, and there for the blog post cannot be syndicated.

    The only reason to have summaries of your blog posts in your RSS feed is to get people to your site. And then the question must be, why do you care if I come to your site or not? What added benefit do you get by me showing up and placing my eyeballs on your page? For most blogs there is not benefit to the author. Some blogs, and many commercial sites, get a benefit by selling ads.

    So what is the benefit to the reader for only providing summaries within an RSS feed? What benefit does the reader gain by placing their eyeball on the site? Most of the time there is not. And here, at the Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization, I don’t think I need to point out that only thing that really matters is reader benefit. Another site, one that is just as interesting and entertaining, is only one click away. Try to force me to be eyeballs for your ads and I will go elsewhere. I might read your summaries, but I will not go to the site to see what else you had, I do not have that sort of time. If you want me to show up and harvest my eyeballs, you better provide me with some sort of incentive. And having interesting content is no longer good enough, not when you should be providing that content in your RSS feed for me to download at my choosing, to read online or off.

  16. Another vote for fulltext.

  17. full text forever :)

  18. Just this small sampling of comments here should make it clear that any attempt for a hard and fast rule fails. I am in the camp of “it depends on what you are writing”.

    I lean a bit away from stuffing all full content into all feeds, it would be only a matter of time to it gets very cluttered, and stuffed with junk (witness what used to be nice compact e-mail content in the 80s with the bloated HTML crap that comes these days).

    For “Seth” who sez “I would much rather have the whole article appear in my RSS syndicator than have to click a link and wait for the server.”- if you are concerned about bandwidth and server time, this seems silly since your RSS reader is then pulling all of the content from every site (there is the wait there too) and you are likely waiting for some content that you will not read. They had a stupid term for this in the 90s- “push” ;-)

    On the olther hand, I have seen alot of 2 sentence feeds that do not give nearly enough of summary to give me a clue or incentive to click more.

    But since this blog here is MovableType, you have control if you modify your RSS templates to use the “Entry Body” portion of your posts…. when I blog in MT, I put everything I want to appear on my front page and my feed in this field of the editor, and if it is a long entry, the remainder goes in the “extended entry” field.

    This way *I* am defining how much of the content is relevant enough to be “fed” to RSS, not some arbitrary word/character count. Sometimes I may get to the point in the first 2 sentences, but often not.

    The content varies as should the amount that gets syndicated.

  19. David, this is a frequently asked question, and the wide consensus is to include full posts in RSS. If you don’t you penalize readers who are interested in your writing, exactly the people you probably don’t want to penalize. It’s much-discussed. If you do a search on Google you’ll find lots of references.

  20. A choice is always good.

    Some applications of RSS only need the headline and short summary and it can save both parties bandwidth if they only take what they need. However, a lot of users do use aggregators as their main “browser” so the cost of reading each post is much higher without a full feed.

    Additional feeds for and / or embedded (RSS 2.0 I think) comments is also welcome for those of us following discussions.

  21. I use the full body, mainly for people using newsreaders. Using excerpts is beneficial for some applications, but newsreader access appears to be the number one usage for most blogs. If there is a need for an excerpted version, you can always create a second feed. On some blogs, I also provide a feed for each entry (inc. comments), which enables people to follow the blog conversation with their newsreader or aggregator.

  22. Alan Levine-

    You say:

    For “Seth” who sez “I would much rather have the whole article appear in my RSS syndicator than have to click a link and wait for the server.”- if you are concerned about bandwidth and server time, this seems silly since your RSS reader is then pulling all of the content from every site (there is the wait there too) and you are likely waiting for some content that you will not read. They had a stupid term for this in the 90s- “push” ;-)

    I think you have it wrong here. When my RSS reader goes to get my long list of RSS files, I’m not waiting. Sure, my news reader isn’t instantaneous, but what do I care? It will be there when I want it, I will not have to wait.

    However, if I have to click on a link in the news reader to get to a page that has the full text I will have to wait. I will want to read the full text NOW, not five seconds from now, now!

  23. Full text for RSS

    Yesterday, David Weinberger asked whether he should put a full text feed on his new blog, Loose Democracy. I have developed strong opinions about this subject as my behavior on the internet starts to revolve around my news aggregator more…

  24. I’m a ‘full-text’-person myself. I will go to the blog if I want to make a comment, but not to read the whole article.

    However there are two camps, others just want the summary. So on my own blog, I provide both feeds, full versions and summaries.

  25. Dave, I am not so sure that you can justify the claim that “wide consensus is to include full posts in RSS”. In fact I think that Radio has gone overboard with its HTML-packed full “RSS” feed.

    While it has been customary to include full entries, along with all possible media, in Radio, a lot of other blog tools and users does not supply full content feeds.

    It seems to me that the consensus in this thread is that one should allow for both kind of feeds. Both full and summary. Personally I prefer the summary type RSS-feeds, because I primarily use them to keep watch of what is happening on the blogs I follow.

  26. While my view opposes that of most of the posters, I would like it recorded that I prefer the “summary” part of RSS, rather than pulling essentially the entire blog to me (or online aggregator).

    The full post feeds mean I can no longer scan interesting (and often duplicated) headlines and pick only those that interest me.

    I suggest you have two feeds… one truly a site summary, the other, the site.

  27. 2 much spam in here :-(

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