Managing Attention in Aggregators

May 29th, 2005

Scoble has a really lousy feature request for RSS aggregators

Feature request for RSS News Aggregators: I want to be able to “clean up” my feed subscription list. I want to remove any RSS feed that hasn’t published in the past XX days (default to 30).

Part of what makes personal publishing work, and what makes RSS such a key piece of it is that you don’t have to publish every day, you don’t have to publish every week, and you don’t have to publish on a schedule.

You can publish when you have time and something to say confident in the knowledge that your audience is still there, still waiting. In a well designed interface feeds without traffic should be zero cost mentally to all parties involved.

Matt Webb has a much better suggestion.

Here’s a feature I want from my RSS feeder. Every so often it should silently hide one of the feeds. If I notice, and if I remember what it was is that’s been hidden, I should be able to say: Hey, you forgot feed X, give it back!, and the application would say: Okay then, you got me banged to rights, here it is. If I don’t notice or can’t remember, the feed is deleted permanently.

But how do you tell when the aggregator has deleted the feed in order to see if you miss it, and when they a feed just hasn’t been updated recently?

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