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The feature I want on RSS readers: Volume sliders.

A volume slider per feed, and perhaps also a global one.

If a feed is posting too much stuff, but I still like some of the stuff on it, I'd prefer not to unsubscribe if I had a better option.

If I notice a feed getting a bit noisy, I'd like to open a view for that feed, with titles and timestamps. Then I'd just move a slider and watch stuff drop out, until I've turned it down to a volume I can handle.

Hopefully, the lower-signal items will drop out of view first and the higher-signal items last. The more data available for making these rankings, the better. Comment counts or scores from the hosting site should help. So should links/shares/likes/comments across the major social networks.

Right, the problem is just that "unread counts" aren't that nice of a feature for RSS feeds, because not all posts are created equal. (Hell, it's not even that nice of a feature on email, unless you do a lot of filtering.)

I like the volume slider ideal; I that you could leverage social media outlets as a scoring system. (I'd include HN in that - the more points, the higher the score.) That could give you a nice way to "bump up" the things past some "volume" you haven't seen in priority.

I don't like the idea of "just don't subscribe"; why can't the tool figure this out for me?

Edit: "aren't nice" -> "aren't that nice". I do think counts are useful, just far, far from perfect. What I find myself dong is finding a feed with unread items, skimming, then marking all as read. (Well, when I use Reader, sigh.)

I personally don't mind unread counts. That aspect really depends on the way you use it.

I used to have a ton of unread items sitting in the feed reader; now everything is either immediately discarded or immediately shunted into Pocket. (A good phone interface for me might be: swipe left = discard, swipe right = send to view-later service of choice and discard. Fast!)

Of course, that means I now have a ton of unread stuff sitting in Pocket. So I think services in that category could benefit from this kind of scoring too. I can see my Pocket stuff in reverse chronological order. I'd love a really intelligent, adaptive “sort by magic” for that big bucket.

You suggested using HN as a source. That's absolutely along the lines I'm thinking. It's like this: every site can be a source of stories, but every site should also be a potential source of scoring signals for stories -- either its own or elsewhere.

Google bought the technology that would facilitate your volume slider. It was called PostRank: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PostRank They even had a Chrome plugin for Google Reader that enabled just that on the client side.

I for instance, can't be bothered to read all of Hacker News. So I read only the posts that have 150 points or more, via http://hckrnews.com/ (a by-points curator) in the form of an RSS feed.

Something like PostRank needs to exist again. Hopefully in this second blooming of RSS post-reader, we'll get some attractive offerings in that area.

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