Mark Pilgrim struggles with RSS feeds and aggregators: ‘I don’t use my aggregator to read things; I use it to find things to read. I tried the whole “read everything in your aggregator” thing, and it depresses me. It reminds me of when I used to smoke, and everything tasted the same.’

Odd, I completely disagree. Background: I’ve never smoked. I use my email client as my aggregator. I came to weblogs from mailing lists, where everything looks the same but you distinguish posters by style and tastes. I tend to only eat plain things and I’m constantly asked why I’m so boring and don’t try exciting new flavors. I enjoy the depth of flavors in the things that normal people would find plain or undistinguishable (microwaved bagels (drool!), pasta, rice, milk). I find Mark’s current website design unattractive and uncomfortable to read.

Now here are some reasons I think that the full text should be included in the RSS feed: Pages take a while to load. When going through a lot of items, this kind of page loading and context switching can really slow things down. In my email client or desktop aggregator, I can read through the day’s news without having a live Internet connection. This makes me more productive.

Now here’s a technical RSS 1.0 note: I suggest keeping excerpts the way they are now in the <description> tag, but using the <content:encoded> tag for a CDATA-encoded version of your HTML. This is what I do for my own feed (MT template available upon request). I would like this to be the default setting for MT and other blogging software.

posted August 05, 2002 09:44 PM (Technology) #


A Contrarian View of Open Source
Janis Ian on Free Downloads
MonkeyFist Week in Review
Standards and the Law
Ethics By Analogy
Reading in your Aggregator
Government Responds in Eldred v. Ashcroft
Where’s Shakespeare?
Blogging with the Big Boys
Font Editor in Jaguar?
we put the “FUN” in phonetic!

Aaron Swartz (