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May 22, 2003

More on RSS syndication. If this is all getting too technical, go read Making Light or Calpundit or Thomas Babington Macaulay for a bit; we’ll be back to normal momentarily.

Tipped off by Jim Sfekas in comments to the post below, I checked out Blogmatrix. As it turns out, while Ted Barlow, Jeanne D’Arc, Fred Clark, Digby, Charles Dodgson, Warren Ellis, Mark A. R. Kleiman, Bruce Rolston, and South Knox Bubba may not be aware of it, their blogs all seem to have functional (or at least semi-functional) RSS feeds there. Incoming Signals and Max Sawicky have Blogmatrix feeds that don’t appear to work at all. That leaves Timothy Burke, Avedon Carol, Iain J. Coleman, Daniel Davies, Avram Grumer, Mike Kozlowski, Emma of Late Night Thoughts, Liberal Oasis, Scott Martens, David Moles, and Eve Tushnet still entirely unsyndicated, as far as I can tell. Along with quite a few other fine weblogs that aren’t syndicating and Should Be. I urge any and all of them to go over to Blogmatrix and see if they can get a feed going. And let us know about it! A grateful nation thanks you all.

UPDATE: Mike Kozlowski of Unmistakable Marks has stepped up to the plate. As have Kate Nepveu of Outside of a Dog and Scott Martens of Pedantry. Meanwhile, David Moles’s Chrononaut is another weblog on my list that turns out to already have a feed. [12:17 PM]

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

Comments on More on RSS syndication.:

Scott Martens ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 12:38 PM:

From the looks of it, there is a beta RSS publisher for Blogger Pro, but it's not available on the free service yet. I have found a few folks offering hand crafted RSS for Blogger templates, but I'm about six years behind in web acronyms, and so I'm little hesitant to implement it myself.

It will go in the new Pedantry when it's ready though.

Scott Martens ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 01:39 PM:

Nevermind, it works with Blogmatrix. I should have RSS as soon as Blogmatrix' spider gets to me.

Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 01:42 PM:

I am advised that the Blogger Pro RSS feed doesn't actually need the title to *appear* in the post [you don't need to put the tags in your template], just that it is in the title field in the posting interface. I intend to try it (because I like incorporating the title into the text) whenever I get around to writing up _Goblin Moon_.

Carry on.

Christopher of Incoming Signals ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 01:49 PM:

I have a Blogmatrix feed? I don't even know what a blogmatrix feed is. I still don't understand how I can be typing here at home and you're all reading it over there.

Charles Dodgson ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 01:54 PM:

Christopher, the way we can read what you type at home is very simple. It's like the wire telegraph, which, as a noted expert once explained, is a kind of very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And the intenet operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is a large herd of cats.

Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 02:34 PM:

I have an entirely unofficial & unauthorized Pigs & Fishes (Avram Grumer) RSS feed running; folks who are actually reading this are welcome to use it (& the others found nearby, if there's interest), but I'd rather automated tools not discover it...

http colon slash slash www.molehill.org slash ~jtl slash rss slash www_pigsandfishes_org_links_weblog.rss

Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 02:37 PM:

Oh, silly me, look at the URLs not just the names.

I've also got Timothy Burke (www_swarthmore_edu_SocSci_tburke1.rss) and Daniel Davies (d-squareddigest_blogspot_com.rss) feeds, from that list. And Vicki Rosenzweig (www_panix_com__vr_yawl_html.rss) who wasn't on the list but is probably of interest to folks here.

Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 04:41 PM:

Closer to home, the RSS feed for Making Light:


Is not visibly linked on the main page (NetNewsWire auto-discovered it for me)

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 07:04 PM:

Thanks, Kevin. I've fixed the missing link on Making Light.

Todd, Vicki Rosenzweig is certainly of interest. I wasn't comprehensive in listing all the blogs I'd like to be able to track via RSS -- I can only cut and paste so many URLs.

Mike Kozlowski ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 08:12 PM:

Rest assured that, now prodded, I'll add an RSS feed just as soon as things settle down and I get a bit of time. The main reason I've never made one until now is that I didn't know if anyone would use it.

Mike Kozlowski ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 09:22 PM:

What I said about time? Yeah, forget that.


Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 09:27 PM:

Excellent! Thank you, Mike.

Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 10:21 PM:

I have now confirmed that you don't need to have your title appear in your post to have an RSS feed from Blogger Pro.

(It doesn't appear to be very smart regarding the link, but I have an inelegant, user-intensive, annoying hack for that (go back and add it immediately after it's been generated).)

Also, Goblin Moon is a fun book.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2003, 10:35 PM:

Very fine. Thank you, Kate.

Dave Slusher ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2003, 09:37 AM:

How come the Making Light feed is the 15-20 word excerpted kind and Electolite is the full feed? Is there a setting to change that would make ML provide the full post in the feed? 9 times out of 10, the excerpt doesn't have the good stuff so that kind of undoes the utility of reading it in the aggregator.

I don't want to sound ungrateful, as I'll take any feed over no feed. That NetNewsWire autodiscovery sure is something, isn't it? It found RSS for several blogs that I didn't know had it.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2003, 09:55 AM:

Making Light's feed is the "15-20 word excerpted kind" because Teresa prefers it that way. Her concern is that even a full-text feed doesn't include the prompt to comment, and she wants her readers to all be (at least potentially) part of the conversation. So she wants them to come to her actual weblog, with a real web browser.

The difference between the two kinds of feeds doesn't actually matter to me, because (as I said) I simply use NetNewsWire as a notification tool. Once NNW has done its "run", I simply click down the list, loading the weblogs with new content into tabs in Safari. The length of the excerpt doesn't matter to me all that much, because I'm going to read the full post in the browser anyway. I do understand that many people use RSS differently, which is why Electrolite provides a full-text feed. But Teresa's concerns make sense to me too, given her stated priorities.

Mike Kozlowski ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2003, 10:13 AM:

Well, since you mention Teresa's comment section (and since we're all making requests here): I'm not sure what's set up differently on hers, but over here I can click on the timestamp to get to the comments (the actual comments link itself is JavaScript-only); over there, it doesn't work and I can't see the comments at all without turning on JavaScript. Any chance you could change that?

Scott Reilly ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2003, 10:30 AM:


Not sure if you found this out yet or not, but our friend David Moles does indeed have RSS syndication. It's the default MovableType feed.

As for RSS's shortcoming in addressing comments, I've encountered such concerns when I created journal-walker, an RSS aggregator of sorts (though it takes into account many journals without RSS feeds). Along with Kenny Smith (creator of JournalScape), we've created a module that addresses comments. I don't think we have formal documentation of it yet, but it's fairly simple and straightforward. Granted, adoption of a proposed standard is the only thing that gives it much meaning in the wider world. See Greg van Eekhout's feed for an example. When it can, j-walker uses the additional comments-module tags to obtain the link to and number of comments for each entry.

Scott Reilly ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2003, 10:34 AM:

Also, I, too, use MT and the modification to the RSS template is trivial for what I suggested above. (My relevant feed is here.) Been meaning to add documentation on that...

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2003, 11:40 AM:

Mike: Thanks for bringing that up. The problem was that Making Light wasn't configured to (1) generate individual post archives and (2) point its individual post "permalinks" to those archives, as I do with Electrolite.

As I just now pointed out to Teresa, the problem is that this imposes a burden on people who prefer not to let Javascript run by default, and on people stuck on systems that don't or won't support Javascript at all. Her response was that any change that makes commenting easier for more people is fine with her. So we've done it. Let me know if you have any further problems.

Scott, thanks for pointing out David Moles's already-existing feed.

Greg van Eekhout ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2003, 12:24 PM:

Not that it's terribly important, but I hope I can be forgiven for correcting the link to my RSS feed that Scott Reilly (an all-around good and handy guy) provided:


Scott Reilly ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2003, 01:16 PM:

Ack! Always misspelling things when it comes to Mr. van Eekhout. My apologies, Greg.

Ray ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2003, 12:09 AM:

There's this problem that I could use an editor's (unpaid, of course; we're just all folks here!) advice on. I love the idea of randomness and I love the ideas of connection and conversation. And so RSS etc. is tempting.

On the other hand, I use the web to post first drafts, to revise them heavily, and to provide persistently findable storage. Which all seem to me fine uses of the medium.

If I institute a feed, that will increase the randomness (good!) but will mean that an even bigger proportion of readers will encounter the crappiest draft (bad!).

And also sometimes after I eat a cheesesteak, I get this weird feeling, it's not quite a *pain* exactly, but right around *here*....

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2003, 07:32 AM:

"I use the web to post first drafts, to revise them heavily, and to provide persistently findable storage. Which all seem to me fine uses of the medium.

"If I institute a feed, that will increase the randomness (good!) but will mean that an even bigger proportion of readers will encounter the crappiest draft (bad!)."

You know, if it's so terrible that strangers might read a flawed "draft," why is it okay to subject your friends to this miserable experience?

My answer would be that it's not so terrible that strangers or friends might read something less than perfect. Weblogs are about flow, not perfection. I've posted stuff I later thought was ill-written and, sometimes, just plain dumb. I've also gotten cracker crumbs all over my shirt. I have other faults, too. Oh well.

Dave Trowbridge ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2003, 10:54 PM:

That was pretty painless: I've added a feed via Blogmatrix. Thanks for the heads up.

Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2003, 07:21 PM:

First, thanks for the nice comments about my instructions for adding RSS to BloggerPro.

Secondly, did you know that Live Journal picks up various RSS feeds as a service to LJ users? I've found mine there (just the DigitalMedievalist: Scela one, not the geeky,well, more geeky IT one) and just now noticed Electorlite:


They essentially create a free user account for one nielsenhayden, and then your RSS feed appears on the page for said fictitious user, with a direct link to your site. It's rather clever, really.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2003, 07:28 PM:

Actually, as I understand it, any LiveJournal member who knows what they're doing can create a "feed" for any weblog they wish to track on LiveJournal. Both the Electrolite LJ feed and the Making Light LJ feed were set up by my Tor colleague Anna Genoese.

I actually have a real LJ account, which I use to track and comment to the LJs of two or three dozen friends.

Neil Gaiman ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2003, 02:16 PM:

The Neilgaiman.com journal's had an RSS feed for a while now -- it's http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/blogger_rss.xml
but I've put it up at Blogmatrix.com anyway

There's a livejournal feed at


But I do miss the days when I had a fairly good idea how many people were actually reading the journal. Now I know that it's that number plus X, but with no idea what X is. (I can tell that there are 946 (as of right now) people subscribed through Livejournal, but beyond that it's a bit mysterious).

I suppose the numbers are a peculiarly reassuring way of knowing I'm not talking to myself...

David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2003, 02:17 PM:

Thanks for pointing out that I wasn’t publicizing the feed, Patrick — I’ve added a link.

Avedon ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2003, 07:20 PM:

*tap tap tap* Is this thing on?


SKBubba ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2003, 12:08 PM:

Hey, I just noticed this yesterday. I'm flattered to be included in such a distinguished list.

I'd seen this RSS and XML stuff but being an old mainframe programmer who can barely type valid HTML I didn't know what it was for.

So I did some checking around this morning, and not wanting to rely on the kindess of strangers at Blogmatix, slapped together a little code, and now have an XML feed at


Thanks for the motivation.

Iain J Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2003, 07:06 PM:

I may now have one of these RSS thingies. I'm kind of hoping it works even if you don't know what you're doing. Otherwise I'm a bit screwed.

Christopher of Incoming Signals ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2003, 01:52 AM:

I believe my Blogmatrix RSS feed is now active, at http://feeds.blogmatrix.com/feeds/0102/010240.feed.rss, assuming I've done this right. Thanks for the heads-up, and also to Avedon Carol for explaining to me how she got her feed set up so I could do the same thing.

Now I must go look for some disinfectant; these long scratches where my cat playfully bit my arm an hour ago are turning an alarmingly bright shade of red.