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May 22, 2003

Query answered. Chris Bertram of Junius came up with the right answer within 38 minutes of my post below: none of these otherwise excellent weblogs syndicate their content with any sort of XML/RSS feed. And, you know something, I wish they did.

I use NetNewsWire Lite as a simple notification tool. With one mouse click, I have it check over sixty weblogs I’ve “subscribed to,” and tell me which ones have new posts. I then use it to load the weblogs with new posts into my regular browser. This is orders of magnitude faster and more efficient than laboriously clicking through a long list of sites to see whether they’ve put up anything new.

The result over time is that I find I read weblogs with XML/RSS feeds much more regularly than weblogs without them. I suspect I’m not alone in this. It’s true that Movable Type makes it particularly easy to syndicate your content, since the RSS feed is enabled by default. But I can’t imagine it’s all that difficult for non-MT users to set up feeds, since so many not-awfully-technical bloggers seem to manage it. (Chris Bertram is one. Thanks again, Chris!) Typing “RSS for Blogger” into Google takes us to these fine instructions, from the Digital Medievalist, showing how to set up an RSS feed with Blogger Pro. I suspect other useful recipes for the non-geek are within range of your preferred search engine—and, for that matter, I expect my commenters (who know, I mean, everything) may have their own tips to offer.

Go! Syndicate! Feed!

UPDATE: Uncertain Principles turns out to have a feed after all. Yay, Chad.

UPDATE: So do This Modern World and Charles Stross. [08:51 AM]

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Query answered.:

Charles Dodgson ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 09:33 AM:

It's not quite that easy -- those directions assume both blogger pro, and a hosting arrangement for the blog which is separate from blogspot.

Both of which would be good ideas -- but if I'm going to upgrade at all, I'd prefer to go to some non-blogger-based setup. (And preferably without getting real-world contact information into the WHOIS database, though it's not clear how far it's worth it to pursue that -- setting up a private off-shore corporation for the sole purpose of owning the domain name seems like overkill, though I have seen it done).

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 09:45 AM:

Or finding a friendly, competent go-between to register the domain for you. Of course, that person will need to know who you are, so they'd better be trustworthy.

Or, you can do what everyone else seems to do, and lie. However, I *really* dislike it when the technical contact isn't pointing to a real email box. It's fine if the email is "secret@nobodyhome.com", so long as somebody's reading that email and will deal with domain issues.

Simon Bisson ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 09:54 AM:

Charlie has one...


Jim Sfekas ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 10:48 AM:

There is a solution for those blogs that don't have a feed. Check out http://www.blogmatrix.com/search?rss=1

They seem to build rss feeds for a large number of blogs that don't already have them. For example, that's how I read Mark Kleiman:

Not the ideal solution, but at least it helps me keep up with my reading.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 11:01 AM:

Thanks, Simon. And thanks very much to Jim Sfekas for that tip, which I'm going to check out.

(I deleted two previous posts from me in this space. I had failed to notice Sfekas's post, which obviated the need.)

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 11:26 AM:

Well, this Blogmatrix service seems to work for at least some of the weblogs on my list. For instance, although Charles Dodgson may not know it, his Through the Looking Glass has a perfectly functional feed right here.

Not all of them, though. There's nothing for The Sideshow, although it does appear that Avedon could go here and set one up.

Charles Dodgson ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 11:53 AM:

Thanks for the tip -- it doesn't seem to be quite up to date, but it's certainly better than nothing. I guess sometime soon I'll have to see if blogger is letting me update my template this week.

(BTW, regarding go-betweens for DNS, one of the reasons I'm pseudonymous is to limit the damage on the off chance that something like, say, this or this gets freeped, and I wouldn't want any friend of mine to run that risk if I'm not).

Anna FDD ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 12:33 PM:

This is great. I pined for an RSS feed but I wasn't about to upgrade to blogger pro because I mean to move to Movable Type as soon as a get a decent host. Now this Blogmatrix is a useful stopgap measure, at least. With the frantic pace at which I update my blog this was something I really needed.

Now if only blogger would let me _see_ my page...

Anna FDD ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 12:39 PM:

Oh, and by the way, you did know that you can have MacOSX's Services subscribe a blog in NetNewsWire, and that NNW will make a decent effort to locate an RSS feed for it, didn't you? That's how I found Charlie's.

Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 03:01 PM:

I've got a blog of my own, of course, and it's powered by Moveable Type and has RSS syndication enabled, etc. I don't think I'm a Luddite.

And yet, somehow, I find something disturbing about Patrick's peer pressure upon our fellow bloggers to syndicate. Enable XML/RSS feeds to make it easier for me!

It reminds me of that period of time in the early nineties when Internet access was largely had by people who worked for companies like DEC, HP, Intel, Microsoft, Apple, etc. Many of these people ran their social lives around email and Usenet, and had a distressing tendency to overlook people who weren't so connected. (I remember once when Jon Singer asked Debbie Notkin and I why we never showed up at his Gaslight Dinners. It seems he sent out invitations by email 97 this was in 1991 or 92 97 but never by post or telephone.)

I don't expect I'm being fair. But I'm not comfortable with this, and this is the shape of my discomfort.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 03:21 PM:

"And yet, somehow, I find something disturbing about Patrick's peer pressure upon our fellow bloggers to syndicate. Enable XML/RSS feeds to make it easier for me!"

Why, yes, Alan. I'm asking people to do something that will make it easier for me.

I coulda sworn this was pretty clearly the case, and that moreover I was being friendly and good-humored about it.

Somehow, though, having this described as "disturbing" and "peer pressure" makes me nothing like good-humored.

In point of fact, I feel slimed. And that's the "shape of my discomfort."

Dave Slusher ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 06:30 PM:

I have been working this week to move my weblog from a BlogMax based system, where all the files were written and bloggified by emacs, to a blosxom based system. One of the main reasons for this was ease of RSS. Now, automagically anything that can be displayed can be syndicated by adding "?flav=rss" to the URL. Since blosxom lets you filter by day, month, category, etc this means that any number of logical views of the blog can be syndicated. I really like that. Only want to read the posts about handhelds, or music, or sports? That can be done with a click.

It's been fun putzing around with it. Now I need to focus that energy into writing things worth syndicating. One of the other things that made we want to go this way is that last weekend I also installed NetNewsWire for my Mac and I so dug it that I wanted to get in this game in a big way. The only thing I don't like about it is the way I can't easily categorize a post when blogging off of someone else's post. All I can do is save it in the root directory, then repost it to a more refined directory, and delete the original. Anyone using NNW and blosxom style blogs have any advice for me? Is this the best way to do it?