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The W - the-w.com Site Feedback - RSS Feed?
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sweetroll
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Since: 23.3.02
From: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.99
Would it be a) possible, or b) anything you'd ever feel like doing, to set up an RSS feed for each forum?

Maybe each new topic would be an item, linking directly to the topic on the web side?

(edited by sweetroll on 3.2.05 1452)
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CRZ
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Since: 9.12.01
From: ミネアポリス

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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.44
    Originally posted by sweetroll
    Would it be a) possible, or b) anything you'd ever feel like doing, to set up an RSS feed for each forum?

    Maybe each new topic would be an item, linking directly to the topic on the web side?
a) possible? Yes, but b) I think we thought about it a long while back and decided it wasn't worth the overhead. The final verdict was "we'd rather just have you come here and look for new stuff."

Keep in mind we DO have the Threads updated in the last 24 hours and Last 100 posts pages available to you if you find the index really boring...



When it seems like the whole world is full of idiots,
maybe your standards are a bit high.
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CRZ
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Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.81
I actually wrote the whole deal to do this, and then put it on the shelf. It's just not something that I feel is appropriate for a forum site. I realize others feel it is I just don't know that they have the amazing self control to do what is right even after they've wasted their time on code.

Actually, if they figured out a good way that we could keep people from all polling the site at the same time, it might be a good idea. As it stands with RSS right now, I see more potential negatives than positives.

Positives:

* Convenient for the RSS user

Negatives:

* Potential traffic storms
* Each user uses more resources on the server checking for updates when there aren't any, and there is no chance they would actually come here anyway.
* I have to find the code I wrote and put it back up

PS> There is a bit of sarcasm in the above post. I don't have THAT high of an opinion of myself.



Willful ignorance of science is not commendable. Refusing to learn the difference between a credible source and a shill is criminally stupid.
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Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.81
I should also add that I don't know that adding RSS feeds is actually ever a good thing for the site that adds them.

If you have a product that you are selling, it makes sense to get as much volume as possible. If it is a free service, you don't really want to make it easier to get more of it. That's really the trade-off with RSS.

Doing an RSS feed means that you are probably not going to have people at your site as often. That means fewer potential customers for your advertisers. Other people can link to your RSS data and embed it in their sites (even if this isn't legal, it happens all of the time). You basically remove your ability to make money with your site, and then increase your costs by increasing support and server load.

I can't see how it helps us at all.



Willful ignorance of science is not commendable. Refusing to learn the difference between a credible source and a shill is criminally stupid.
sweetroll
Cotechino








Since: 23.3.02
From: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Since last post: 149 days
Last activity: 1 day
#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.99
Touche. I didn't really factor in the fact that your bandwidth isn't free.

Thinking out loud a bit, and considering what I believe is the W motto ("1. Put up website, 2. ???, 3. PROFIT!")... While registered users won't visit the site as often, I think you guys have the know-how to put this together (and it's not something I remember seeing anywhere):

I don't know how to program it, but you can require logins to read an RSS feed. Gmail uses this technique for its RSS feed. That should cut down on a bandwidth drain, and possibly increase registration for lurkers.

You obviously know the profitability of your unregistered/Adwords policy more than me, so this part may not be reasonable. Could you program the pages that load into the newsreader to include ads? Say, a new topic is fed as an item. The body is the first 100 words or so of Message 1, with an Adwords box. The RSS feed would be the only way a registered user would ever see an ad.

I realize this isn't something that the Ws are clamoring for. It's more of a "wouldn't it be cool if...?" idea.
FriedEgg
Polska kielbasa








Since: 13.6.03
From: Washington, DC

Since last post: 2250 days
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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.43
I don't see how having RSS feeds removes your ability to serve users ads. If the feeds were setup as initially described, one per forum with a list of recent topics, the users would only have the topics and not the content. To read the actual discussion, they'd still have to visit your site and thus they'd still be seeing your ads.

Would you be missing a chance to show them ads on the main forum page? Potentially, yes, but if they've subscribed to your feed, they may be more likely to visit the site for individual threads where you could make up for that loss. It's not only more convenient for some users, it also reminds them about your site.

As far as server load, you can generate static copies of the feeds (optionally pre-gzip them) and serve those. There's no real reason to have each RSS request require PHP and MySQL access.

Now, I'm not saying you should do it, just that I personally don't believe RSS is all negative. I don't use RSS much myself, but there are a lot of visitors to my site that do. Perhaps you could offer it as a perk to donors to the site as it might be something some would be willing to pay for.



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Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

Since last post: 6 days
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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.81
Hmm... I suppose I could drop the RSS content down to just the headers, but that's not all that useful. I can't actually remember what I did, but it was either all new posts or the new threads since x...

FE: We can't serve ads on the RSS because the ads are done via Google AdSense. As far as I know I can't put the ads in there, but maybe you know something I don't. Have you gotten this to work?

If I get a chance to look at this again this weekend, I may see what I can do with it. I am not promising anything.



Willful ignorance of science is not commendable. Refusing to learn the difference between a credible source and a shill is criminally stupid.
sweetroll
Cotechino








Since: 23.3.02
From: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Since last post: 149 days
Last activity: 1 day
#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.99
It's been my experience that most RSS feeds can import pretty much any code into the description tag (see Engadget's RSS feed at http://engadget.com/rss.xml).

Couldn't you code your RSS output to dump the Adwords code into every item's description?
Guru Zim
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Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.81
No, because Google is generating the ad at the time that the page is served. I'm not grabbing the ad from a database and displaying it - a js is called and this gets the ad.

I don't think Google would want me to cache out one particular set of ads and serve that via RSS. That's not how their system works.



Willful ignorance of science is not commendable. Refusing to learn the difference between a credible source and a shill is criminally stupid.
tarnish
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Since: 13.2.02
From: Back in the Heart of Hali

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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.03
I've recently started adding RSS feeds to my chat client (centericq: console-based for all your serial-lovin') and was going to ask about a feed for the-w.com.

The two feeds I use that update regularly are slashdot.org and metafilter.com. What Slashdot gives in a given feed instance is the post as it appears on the front page with a link to the comments page.

Metafilter, on the other hand, gives a very very short description (that usually doesn't match what's posted on the page) and a link to the comments page. For example, The one I just got:



In this case, all the feed is doing is telling me the site has been updated and that there'll be something new there if I go, as opposed to giving me the goods. That way, I still have to visit the page and, ostensibly, see the ads.

I think this is more like what people are asking about for this board. Although I don't know how you'd make it manageable in terms of what a given feed offers. All I can think is maybe a forum status update since last login? Given my choice of RSS viewers, I wouldn't want to see anything complicated or tabular...

Anyways, it's an interesting thought, but I can certainly understand if you guys find it too unwieldy or difficult to implement in a useful and non-cannibalistic way.



/tarnish...

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FriedEgg
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Since: 13.6.03
From: Washington, DC

Since last post: 2250 days
Last activity: 2250 days
#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.43
    Originally posted by Guru Zim
    FE: We can't serve ads on the RSS because the ads are done via Google AdSense. As far as I know I can't put the ads in there, but maybe you know something I don't. Have you gotten this to work?


No, but with Google's role in the blogging world, I wouldn't be shocked if they found a way to do it. Now that I think about it, you could probably serve adwords via XSL but most readers would ignore that.

Like the others, I was thinking more of a "summary" RSS feed, not a full discussion feed. For this folder, the RSS feed would contain items like:

RSS Feed?
Response time oddities recently?
the-w.com topics of interest: January 2005
...

Then the user would have to visit the actual discussion page where they could still see ads. Now, is that useful? To some people, I think it would be, but it would depend on the reader. For Firefox's live bookmarks, I don't think it'd be very useable, but for Thunderbird's RSS reader, it might work really well. Thunderbird's reader treats each RSS item like an email, and can display the linked page where you'd normally see the email body.

Oh, and an idea for an RSS feed to make you money... RSS your Apple iTunes top songs lists. Maybe encrypt/hash the URLs so they can't be easily modified to credit someone else. I'm sure some people would like to know the top songs, and some may even put them on their blogs.



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