RSS is pure content, curated only by the consumer and presented in chronological order not algorithmically messed with, which is why there's nothing better.
Sure RSS has it's limits. But there are plenty of times that's a positive. It's disheartening to see RSS not get the respect and value it deserves.
RSS is badly suited as a vector for virally driven waves of outrage. "Let's call it an accidental feature" as lwall once wrote.
pours one out
Said in a recent thread how much butthurt I still hold towards Google over the fate of Reader. Stupid shortsighted idiots at Google for deprecating Reader.
Maddening they gave it up for freaking horrible Google+.
Feedly was one contender, The Old Reader was another.
The primary reason I settled on Digg is that they came out with an iPhone app relatively quickly after they launched. Regrettably, their iPhone app has been broken for maybe 6 months now. Digg used an OAuth web-view embedded user agent. Google appears to no longer to support such requests from apps. Digg needs to update the app with Google's other authentication libraries.
Might have to find a new platform again. sigh...
Note: fairy new to Mastodon, not sure exactly if / how this would work, but I've been thinking about this lately.
In chronological order, of course.
Mastodon is built on top of OStatus and ActivityPub, which are inspired by RSS' successor Atom, but sadly I don't think either is compatible, so I'm gonna be cramming an RSS/Atom library in there. Ah well. It's not like Mastodon doesn't already have a dependency tree as long as your arm.
I don't think social news delivery/publishing is an easily monetize-able business. Out of twitter/reddit, reddit seems to have found a model that works for them. Twitter hasn't found what works yet.
And that's the promise of Mastodon. It is free because each instance pays the cost of keeping it alive in the form of hosting their instance. Like, right now, the NYTimes acts like a "database" with all the pages, and reddit or twitter like the content distribution feed, and both need funding. But if the NYTimes had its own Mastodon instance and published there, the rest of the Mastodon network would be its content distribution feed, each federation funding itself.
As a sidetone, it even solves the problem of verification I think, because if I have the Mastodon account firstname.lastname@example.org for example, I don't need a central system to confirm that I'm working for the nytimes, like for example twitter would.
And moreover, since Mastodon is just Atom, if people want to just see feed updates they can do that, or they can get a client that supports the full social features too. I think it's pretty cool.
The inability to publish ads inline RSS ultimately killed it.
If and when the news bundling model re-emerges, something like RSS will gain favor again.
> Even before it's demise, a lot of content publishers
> were only publishing headlines and abstracts via RSS,
> with the intent to drive clicks to hosted articles.
i subscribe to ~20 of this subtopics and i'm sure i will never miss an article about one of that topics.
Google (partly) killed it (by pulling people into Google Reader and then killing Google Reader).
Most (all?) news sites still offer RSS feeds.
Edit: it didn't seem to work earlier, but is working now after I added the RSS subscriptions button.
Huh? There's no such inability.
And in terms of technology, there's nothing stopping you sticking an iframe or script block in your feed. It comes back to what the reader will allow. Origin really doesn't matter too much.
Heck, I don't think I ever use a site's sharing button. The only exceptions are probably "retweet" on Twitter and "share now" on Facebook, which reposts content on your timeline in a way that can't be replicated by posting the URL.
On Chrome for Android there's the Web Share API , which they claim makes it easier to share content, although I'm unconvinced it's needed or really even desirable.
From the end-user's perspective, I don't think anyone is asking for features that are fundamentally at odds with using RSS to distribute messages. The resulting network would be much more distributed and harder to "monetize" (imo, good for users)
For blogs and websites that consistently have things I want to read, I use RSS + Feedly (I follow around 40 feeds).
For actual news, I use Apple News.
I probably spend the least time on Twitter and the most in the Apple News app. Apple News does a remarkably good job of showing me things I want to read. I assume it's based on how long I spend reading articles because I don't use the like button a lot.
This will probably never happen but I maintain the view that if you want the web to become a better place you have to find ways to educate the (average) user.
When someone likes something without anything to say it's just a metric, doesn't bring value to a discussion.
That being said I prefer the firehose to a crafted cocktail.
Only problem I see is that these users would need a URL for the feed for their friends to subscribe to.
So you'd need an external service (like Google Reader was). How about one of these new(ish) open/decentralized social network thingies? I forget their names, there was one that was sort-of-twitter and another sort-of-facebook. They probably already have RSS built-in with various RSS API endpoints for different filters on the stream. Maybe such an idea could ride along with that?
Also, I want to echo the other comments, how it is nice that RSS just does one thing. Just means it's a building block.
I think The Old Reader tried to keep some of that social element but I do know how successful they were. Due to reasons that I now can’t recall, I preferred Digg Reader over TOReader. Even Digg, for whatever reason has tried to make their RSS offering more social with their Digg platform. I avoid social as much as humanly possible so again not sure how effective they are.
My point is more that, if there's going to be curation of content i want to do that myself because there isn't an algorithm that exists that can do it well for me. And if your content is posted exclusively to the various social networks that try and fail
to curate content for me (i.e. you don't have your own site outside of the walled gardens) then i probably have little interest in it.
 This is part of a wider problem in that people want to follow hundreds (thousands?) of sources, and that quickly becomes a deluge. In the same vein, people favourite just about every image they see on Instagram - to paraphrase, "if you favourite everything, then nothing is your favourite". Self restraint is the best form of curation against a world in which everyone is screaming to be heard over everyone else.
Can't we have RSS scrapers that are operated by people, generating RSS streams of "inaccessible/paywalled/grey area" content in a collaborative effort? Something like bittorrent but for ASCII text.
Technically it's achievable, but it would likely be forever relegated to mostly-illegal backwaters.
I think the problem is that scraping everything except waywalled info may be legal (in Europe, at least) as long as it's for personal use, but may get you/me/whoever in trouble if we start redistributing that content in RSS feeds. Then again, most of the resources won't even bother if you scrape them into RSS unless they make money of ads (haha, find a resource that doesn't) or overload their servers. But IFTTT model might be a nice workaround where users actively need to use some community recipe to scrape and they assume responsibility.
if wordpress stops using RSS it will be really dead.
Everything seems to be gearing more towards deliberately occupying as much of my time as possible, algorithmically selecting content that achieves this. I want out of this situation, but overcoming addiction and interrupting the automatic trigger cycle is hard. Maybe now's the time.
By the way, if you follow YouTube channels, not only do they still provide RSS feeds, as you can get a nice OPML file of all the channels you subscribe to: https://www.youtube.com/subscription_manager (scroll to the bottom)
I used to use YouTube's email notifications, but they would skip some videos randomly, and I'd be left wondering what videos I missed.
Creators sometimes do this if they publish more videos than usual, or of the video is different from their normal content.
Also when you subscribe you now also have to click the bell next to the subscribe button to get all notifications.
YouTube itself also has a built in subscription feed that lists all videos published by channels you subscribe to. It also lists the channels with an icon next to each if they have unwatched video.
How do you see it working? Create and play a playlist of currently unviewed videos?
Any "sane defaults, regular updates, impossible to shoot yourself in the foot" package to recommend?
TBH, it's a bit like this now for me with HN and Twitter even without RSS. "This looks interesting... (click)(open in new tab)". One week later: 300 tabs open.
For me, that's the advantage of RSS over Twitter: your unread counts are separate for each feed, so that blog that rarely updates but is always worthwhile to read doesn't get lost in the pile of cheap content.
With RSS, I like subscribing to journals and organizations that publish substantial content (lots of text rather than ads) at steady but not explosive rates. RSS is pure consumption, so if you're using it to "follow a feed" I think you're doing it wrong. Though YMMV, of course.
I generally read everything in group one. In group two, I start the day by just marking the entire group read. If something neat comes into group two during the day I might read it when I have a spare moment. Otherwise, it gets flushed.
A live running version of mine can be seen at: http://slownews-naivete.herokuapp.com/
With RSS I'm crawling under a huge load of articles that I always have to clear up. I used to be extremely addicted to that, I used it to get through work stuff now and when I have weeks of articles pilling up in my feed I feel bad.
I use it, and definitely love that, but it def. re-enforce addiction, not the contrary.
Easiest way to find the RSS feed on most sites is to search for "RSS" in the page source; there's usually just one instance, and it's a direct link.
These days, many sites don't advertise their feeds, but it's still in the source (and is often broken in one way or another). If it is botched, a friendly email to their web admin with a link to the W3C Feed Validator  can go a long way; most times it's an easy fix for them.
I suggest to use hnrss.org:
It gives you filters like how many points or comment a post must have before appears to you.
I for one opted to solely generate RSS wherever possible. Having two equally suited standards is a waste.
For the obvious reason (cough timely standardization cough) Atom is technically and often practically superior to the RSS family of formats (somehow not distinguished to each other). And after more than 10 years of usage, I'm pretty sure that every feed reader in the continued existence now has Atom support.
I'm not sure what I look at with the feedparser code. Looks like a bunch of format support libraries? https://cyber.harvard.edu/rss/rss.html says to use rfc822, and in practice for me that means just giving the date string to my chosen languages date object.
You have a point with item updates, RSS was not really made for that. The blog engine I use has different options to handle that, I for one think just pushing a new entry with a new guid is the right solution; but then of course rss readers can't mark updates.
It is probably because of the definition of the pipes being outdated, but it needs better presentation.
In general I tried to keep backwards compatiblity as much as possible, I'm only aware of one single breaking change (filter via regexpression, which was not possible for long before the syntax changed and should not have affected many pipes).
Many times I saw interesting post when accidentally entering FB "Top stories", from let's say 2 hours ago. I switch to "Most Recent" and guess what, I can't find this post anymore (except going explicitly to this person's page).
I'm getting closer and closer to stop using FB and using only messenger.
I've not really seen any sponsored content other than the occasional banner message up the top which is easily dismissed.
edit: I have by default feedly set to my "all" feed and in that respect it works much like google reader used to.
That's not true at all. At least in the web version this was an option from the very beginning.
Other than that, feedly offers a few features you might be interested in: search, filters, alerts, highlights, etc.
I had found a solution in fulltextrssfeeds.com, but it was slow, cumbersome and didn’t always work.
How do you folks solve this?
https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?user=<user name from url>
https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?playlist_id=<id from url>
https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=<id from url>
This is for a rather large, global, corporate-internal system, not a commercial product, though I got the idea when thinking about solutions for a commercial product a few years ago.
And now it languishes in some side area of the service, seemingly forgotten.
It's the web at its best. There no need for a decentralized social network. We have the web.
We should return using RSS (or Atom) and find some other tools to help for forums / messages.
"Likes"? Are we sure we need them?
I know these things have gotten a bad rap from various shenanigans with Showtime and TPB, but on my site mining is only done with user knowledge and permission.
So it’s a bummer to not see it mentioned (not at all in the article, not much in the comments). Does that mean it didn’t really catch on, or what is its status?
“I can’t parse without programming” is a terrible reason to prefer JSON.
Another interesting fact about RSS is, that it's the main distribution solution for podcasts.
Just noticed that it was renamed to WebSub and adopted as a W3C standard earlier this year.
Lo and behold, opened a gmail account specifically for newsletters, subscribed to my swift, kotlin, design, UX and AI newsletters and I'm now using Apple Mail to have the time of my life consuming all the content I need, delivered to my inbox daily, with no spam, no friends, no follow, no ads, no nothing.
Of course there is still the possibility to provide a nice client rich in features for the common user so the idea for a startup is still in the air.
RSS is dead, long live newsletters.
I still derive significant value from Usenet.
People keep saying that IRC is dead (because Slack) or that Jabber is dead (because Slack) but I use both of those daily.
It's a big Internet, there's room for lots of stuff.
I'm not a big fan of newsletters myself, but it's nice to be able to include those few sites that only offer newsletters in my regular news reading workflow.
As a counterexample, I follow Leah Neukirchen's Trivium, which is a feed that publishes a weekly post with a bunch of interesting links (mostly tech related). http://chneukirchen.org/trivium/intro
And of course, there are tools to display emails inboxes as RSS feeds.
Is a feed too noisy? You can unsubscribe. But what if you had another less-drastic option to "turn it down"? That's doable if you have some way of assigning scores to individual posts within the feed. Such scores could come from the feed publisher, other places like the reader's own social media accounts, or somewhere else. Have a user-determined threshold to determine what posts are worth showing the user.
Then by "turn it down" the user means "bump the threshold up" (and vice versa). Via trial and error a user could more or less adjust it to where they want it.
This could be built using RSS as one of the building blocks, but I don't know of anything like it.
Now if I could only get Feedbro to sync my read items...
The downside, when compared to an online service, is that you obviously can only access your feed on your laptop. On the other hand, it's freeing that you don't always have to check your feeds. Also, you don't depend on a service provider to keep its product alive.
Newsblur never fails me, kinda impressive how well it works.
Now, will my 12 year old Digg account work?
This is how I've read HN for ages.
This is especially nice for my grandmother, who has an iPad. I found no RSS reader there that is easy to use enough, free and ad-free.
I just wanted something I can just give a RSS link to and it fetches this link and shows content. And nothing else. This does not seem to exist.
My grandmother knows how to read and write emails. Blog posts are rendered properly using rss2email in her mailbox. And she knows how to click in the email to go to the blog and comments at times.
This is actually even simpler and more optimal than a dedicated RSS App. One unique easy way to get news from the family using the tablet.
And the blog is easier than Facebook (I guess - never used it). There is just our content in the pages and that’s it. No irrelevant stuff around and no notifications.
If you are looking for ways to keep in touch with a group of people in which somebody is not really into computers, this may be one nice solution.
So, thanks to the authors of rss2email.
Some comments bring the question about the readers, and their exposure to publishers, who truncate their content in the RSS feeds.
I solved this by implementing my own reader, web based. It aggregates all RSS feeds from my subscriptions and retrieves the article. When the source only exposes limited data, the script retrieves the full article directly and shows this instead.
I have shared this tool with my friends, they love it. Unfortunately, I cannot widen the audience for legal reasons: the tool automatically scraps all ads and removes any "non-content-related" stuff. I also convinced some of them to share for membership access on some newspapers: a monthly subscription to the NYT shared by 5 people, with a guarantee of "clean, ad-free" content beats anything else.
In conclusion, my only recommendation is to spend a few hours learning scripting enough to be able to read from an XML url and parse it. Once you can do that, you have your own RSS reader.
Next challenge will be websites, that expose their content through AJAX requests only...good thing is that most of them have a fallback mechanism for mobile devices, which relies on much simpler logic. The trick is to understand how to convert the 'link' in the RSS feed to a 'mobile link'.
Unable to load feed https://news.ycombinator.com/rss:
503: Unable to read feed: https://news.ycombinator.com/rss
While my preferred RSS reader NewsBlur can download everything up front, for offline use, I tend to find a lot of sites truncate their articles (with a 'Click here to continue reading!") or just post a headline and a one sentence summary.
This makes me dislike using RSS, not because of the technology, just the way it's delivered these days. It's fine (if a little irritating) if you are online all the time, but offline it's practically unusable bar the few sites that offer full length articles
Truncated articles are a big problem with RSS I think. Sites are trying to get you to jump to their page so you can consume their advertisements. Unfortunately, this has the opposite effect as I stop consuming the site's news and rarely click the links to the page. The small blurb for the feed doesn't give me enough information to want to jump to the page. Often, inline photos won't show up either, so I am less likely to find the article worth a visit to the page.
Favourite chapter. Never been fan of bashing xml in favor of json, both have their own advantages and xml gets the job done here. Wouldn't care if it was json.
I'm speaking from our own experience running a little startup, Feedity - https://feedity.com, that helps create custom RSS feeds for any webpage.
There could be a new feed given to the user, based on that, if they feel overwhelmed with their unfiltered one, but always switch over to the regular view/feed as needed. It could be even more granular, where some feeds are algorithmically sorted or ignored based on certain keywords set by the user and others are not.
That's why I ended up using RSS client to swiftly filter the content I get then send the interesting titles to a read-it later service -Pocket specifically- that has a better reading experience -TTS anyone?- and solves the truncated RSS articles problem.
Don't know how much legal it is. But I do follow robots.txt.
 https://i.imgsir.com/G0jR.gif - weird entire page scroll going on instead of just scrolling normally. Makes it impossible to skim read the titles
I'm surprised that Feedly doesn't implement a standard scroll like Twitter etc, at least as an option.
When skimming headlines I want to keep my eyes fixed and move the content past them
I mean I really do not understand your way of thinking ? When Google is no more, will it have killed maps and videos ?