Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

RSS saves me from having to load up 100 different sites several times a day just to check what’s ‘new’.

Everything wrong with RSS in a nutshell: this is a problem real people don't have.

I fully appreciate the sentiment, I hate when people build stuff people don't need.

But I want to dig a little at this. I think the fact that most people only have access to CNN or Time or Fox News or Cosmopolitan or Maxim or whatever... that there is not an easy way for people to get news aggregated from 100's of their peers and thought leaders in their affinity groups.... I think that IS a problem people have. It may not be a problem they are aware of, but I think the social cost of consolidated media is very high.

I think RSS, and technologies like it (Twitter, Facebook) are an important part of the solution to that problem. RSS is obviously not very user friendly, and I'm not sure if it will have a place at the table 10 years from now.

But the problem it solves (a standard interchange format for syndication) is absolutely real, and it's not going away.

Your comment reminds me of this Calvin and Hobbes strip: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_RbiRIw_w4rU/SNkssvl3KeI/AAAAAAAAAC...

Maybe it's too late, but I don't quite see the connection. Regardless, I consider Calvin to be "good company".

It's slightly exaggerated, but I really did use to do something very much like that. I used to load up a ton of sites (less than 100, but enough to be a pain) every day because, like most people, I had no clue what RSS was. I was literally about to write a script automating the "Have you been updated?" check when I came across RSS in my research.

I know most people don't like to visit more than five sites on a regular basis, but the same could be said for printing bingo cards or reading books. I don't think that makes a significant portion of outliers "not real."

Also, anecdotally from being the de facto "computer support guy," I've found that more people don't know about RSS but would find it useful than those who know about RSS and can't imagine a use for it.

I did something similar. Guess I'm not a real person, either!

and they say artificial intelligence isn't making progress!

My non-technical sisters know what RSS is and use Google Reader to watch blogs of family & friends. I couldn't believe it when my sister first mentioned RSS or Google Reader, I remember exclaiming "You know what RSS is?!"

I bet if someone made a sports oriented RSS reader a whole lot of people would use it. Some people like going to <= 10 sites to see what's new but people who follow more than 10 sites would like the idea of RSS.

Well hopefully real people might one day branch out from the Yahoo! homepage and make it a problem.

It's something real people want. To say it's not is ignorant. People don't 'need' ESPN to consolidate sports news, but they will pay out the ears to have it. Plenty of people use RSS to get the newest info from multiple sources. It is a useful feature to have, regardless if it was RSS's original purpose

I know many customers who, before rss, had to open websites by hand, copy the relevant news articles from the websites and then compile this articles into a company newsletter. Work which sometimes took days before is with rss a matter of hours (they still have to read the articles and decide which are important enough for the newsletter). So, "real people" may not have this problem, but more than one company has.

Solving database scalling issues is also a problem that Real People don't have and yet it's still a problem that some Fake People have to solve.

Ha! Summed up exactly what I was thinking.

Difficulty reading "100 sites several times a day" isn't a technology problem; it's a focus problem.

Feed readers and sites like Hacker News are two solutions to the same problem: content aggregation. Is it dumb for Hacker News to collect stories from hundreds of different sites? If no, then why is it dumb for a feed reader to do the same? If yes, then why are you here?

I am subscribed to around 400 niche blogs, for various topics (game design, linguistics, sci-fi writing, etc.)—but most of them update very rarely (once every few months.) This means that, on average, I'll see 13 new articles on a given day—but I would have had to check all 400 sites to find those 13. The alternative is to only check them once at the same average rate they update at—but that means that I'll get a big wodge of material, go through it all the first time I have a few hours free, and then get nothing for months.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact