Question: Worst possible sin in a feed aggregator?

April 20th, 2007

Answer: Showing old content as new

Ugh! Ack! Stop it. Life is too short to see old blog posts, god forbid blog posts I’ve already read.

Priorities

In every application you have to figure out what your SLAs are, and this shapes every choice you make.

If you’re writing an aggregator (or maintaining an existing one) your first priority should be suppressing false positives for newness, everything else pales in comparison.

Despite the obvious geek-macho appeal optimizing timeliness is way way down the list.

LazyWeb: Suppressed Blog Posts

Wanted: a plugin for WordPress that holds back from the feeds all new content for 6 to 12 hours (depending on length, and categories) so you don’t have to see me correcting all my spelling mistakes in painful real time. (might also be useful in cutting down on real dumb blog posts)

Bloglines

Bloglines get your act together, you’ve been terrible for weeks, and I don’t have time for this. This morning I got a blog post from Caterina announcing Yahoo’s acquisition of del.icio.us. I’ve been a user, fan and evangelist for 4 years, I hate every other online aggregator I’ve tried, but I’m leaving if this continues.

3 responses to “Question: Worst possible sin in a feed aggregator?”

  1. pauldwaite says:

    I get this a lot, but I dunno. Sometimes, people update an article with actual new stuff, and I want to read it. Othertimes, they’ve just fixed a typo. Or accidentally republished, or something.

    It’d be nice if every CMS-type thing that generated RSS had an option for the writer to say whether an update should update the last published date (or whatever it is in RSS that tells readers to get the story again). But I guess there are fewer RSS readers than RSS-generating things.

  2. t o n x says:

    I haven’t played with bloglines in awhile, but google reader proved useful enough that I’ve dropped both Vienna and Newsfire. There are some minor things I dislike about it, but the ability to easily tag and share by tag has made it useful for my work.

    The old content regurgitation is still a problem here. I notice it happening repeatedly with blogger.com blogs.

    Your wordpress plugin idea is great. I need this.