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One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone updates an item of an RSS feed.  I understand if it is really necessary, like a fundamental problem with the sample or your information, but if it is a spelling error or something very small, LEAVE IT ALONE!  Most news aggregators will announce an edited item as new.  If you didn't know this or edit your items whenever, I suggest subscribing to your own feed and set the interval to 10-15 minutes.  That way you can feel the pain you are inflicting on everyone else. 

If you are a producer of RSS feeds, please don't change the way anything works.  Don't edit dates, don't add footers, just don't do anything.  If you have to do anything, set an update date for the new functionality in your code.  Once an item is ready for syndication, someone has picked it up and you don't want to re-syndicate them previous data they have.  Newgator, for example, adds this item again, so think about the size of your users .pst before doing this. 

Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2004 7:47 AM Geekswithblogs.net , Personal | Back to top


Comments on this post: Etiquette of producing RSS feeds: Rule 1

# re: Etiquette of producing RSS feeds: Rule 1
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Hi Jeff,

I understand the problem, but i find it very unfortunate that .text only has a "post" option and no "preview". Do you know any workaround for this?
Left by Henk Devos on Feb 11, 2004 2:02 PM

# re: Etiquette of producing RSS feeds: Rule 1
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Ditto the no preview option but I would argue that this is not a problem with usage, but with the RSS feeds themselves....why should I not be able to edit my posts??

The RSS feeds should have enough intelligence to know that a feed was updated and is not a completely new post.
Left by devin on Feb 11, 2004 3:18 PM

# re: Etiquette of producing RSS feeds: Rule 1
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Imagine the fear on my face when I open up my aggregator for *Bloggers.net and there is a thousand new items because .Text was upgraded everywhere. ;) I feel your pain.
Left by Drew Robbins on Feb 11, 2004 5:16 PM

# re: Etiquette of producing RSS feeds: Rule 1
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You know you can turn this off in NewsGator.
Left by Ron Green on Feb 11, 2004 6:35 PM

# re: Etiquette of producing RSS feeds: Rule 1
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I will try the Newsgator feature, but it is still an issue. :D
Left by Jeff Julian on Feb 11, 2004 7:10 PM

# re: Etiquette of producing RSS feeds: Rule 1
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Is this really a problem is the RSS feed or is it a problem with the aggregators you're using?

http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss
RSS specifies a GUID, which isn't really a GUID in the Microsoft sense, which uniquely identifies a post.

So there are two possibilities here:
1) The blog engine generates the GUID once for each post and the GUID never changes. If the post is edited the change is reported as new, but the GUID is not changed.

2) The blog engine re-generates the GUID upon each edit.

If your aggregator is parsing the RSS feed based only on the pubDate of the post, each edit would come across as a new post. If the aggregator is parsing the feed based on pubDate and GUID, the old post should be updated but perhaps marked as new.

If the GUID is being regenerated, well that's not the aggregators fault if each edit comes across as a unique, new post.
Left by Scott on Feb 13, 2004 7:25 AM

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