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A plea to bloggers: put full article in feed

January 31, 2013

To bloggers everywhere:

I have a sincere request.  As you may know it is possible to put differing amounts of information in blog feeds (such as RSS or Atom).  Most blogs (including this one) put full articles in their blog feed, but some blogs just put short excerpts or teasers in their blog feeds.  I would like to ask the owners of those blogs to please consider putting their blog’s entire articles in RSS.

Here is the reason why I care:  I use different tools to read blogs, but one of the most common tools I use is a smart-phone based RSS aggregator.  (FYI:  the tool I use is “reeder.”)  That tool pre-caches the entire RSS feed of my blog subscriptions, so that I can catch up my blog reading even when I am commuting, on an airplane, or otherwise disconnected from the Internet.  In those cases, I can read articles at my leisure, and resynchronize when my smartphone once again gets into access range.

When a blog just includes a teaser in its RSS feed and not the full story, I am forced to click through to read the entire story.  Even when I have Internet connectivity, this can be slow, and of course it is impossible when I do not have Internet connectivity.  Many blog reading clients have this issue.

I read blogs on desktops or notebook computers less often, but when I do read them, I often use Google Reader (many modern RSS aggregators such as “reeder” sync up with Google Reader).   Here, I usually have connectivity, but because of the way that Google Reader works, there is often a significant delay when I have to click through to an article.

I can understand some reasons why blog owners are motivated to require readers to click though to read articles:  perhaps the most common reason is that blog owners want to get an accurate count on readers.  (If a blog reader stays up to date with RSS feeds alone, it is much harder for blog owners to keep an accurate count of their readers.)   However, when this happens, it makes portions of the blogosphere inaccessible (when the clients are out of range) or inconvenient.

So please, accept this pleading to put blog content in RSS and Atom feeds.  Thanks!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. lckeeney permalink
    January 31, 2013 9:21 pm

    Amen! This is going on my Facebook page, Twitter Feed, and anywhere else I can post it. The desire to get an accurate hit count should not trump what’s easiest for the reader.

  2. Ally permalink
    February 1, 2013 9:11 am

    The main reason I’ve heard bloggers say they don’t turn on the full feed, is to help avoid their posts getting reposted by others without proper attribution – because those sites can’t just plug in the RSS feed and get all the posts that way if they’re not full text.

    That said, I’m not so sure that’s true anymore, thanks to services like where you can turn any of them into full text feeds (occasionally it will cause a problem, and it does make some posts arrive later than they would otherwise, but it’s better than no full text feed) So if anyone can turn a non-full text feed into a full text one, I think the arguments are gone…

  3. February 1, 2013 12:43 pm

    L. C. Keeney — thanks for the support!

    Ally — some bloggers privately mailed me to express their concern about this very point: other web sources stealing blog posts without attribution. Apparently WordPress explicitly advises bloggers to release only terse comments for exactly this reason. I was not aware of before your comment, and now I am tempted to try it out to see if it can help me read full text in an RSS aggregator.

    I also think that your point about partial text feeds now being ineffective against poachers because of the existence of fulltextrssfeed is a good one.

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