Some RSS and remaindered links changes

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 29, 2007

As promised, I've made some long overdue changes to the kottke.org RSS feeds and the remaindered links. I've combined the two kottke.org feeds — previously one contained main posts, movie posts, and book posts and the other contained the so-called remaindered links — into one feed, located here:


If you're already subscribed to the main feed, you shouldn't have to change a thing. If you're subscribed to the remaindered feed, your newsreader (if it's smart enough) should automatically and permanently redirect you to the new feed. If not, just change the subscription to point at the above feed. If you're subscribed to both, unsubscribe from the remaindered feed. The new combined feed will mirror the front page of the site...whatever appears there will appear in the feed.

Second thing: the remaindered links are dead. Long live the remaindered links. Oh, they're still here on the site, but it's been a long time since they were just links...they're more like mini posts with no titles — some of them are actually longer than the non-mini posts. The distinction made sense when they were included in the sidebar on the front page, but not anymore. Functionally that means no separate RSS feed, no separate archives, and no separate index page...they're all gone (or will be soon). All the remaindered links posts are still available, but they're in the main monthly archives now. The point is, you don't need to worry about any of this. Just subscribe to the above feed or come to the front page each day and you'll get everything that's new on kottke.org everyday. Simple.

Things should have worked this way for, oh, the past two years, but I just never got around to changing it. What finally kicked my butt into action were two things that happened in the past two weeks. I had coffee with Cory Doctorow last weekend. He asked how things were going with kottke.org and remarked that I'm not posting nearly as much as I used to. I replied that I had been posting as much as ever, but got the feeling that Cory was only subscribed to the main RSS feed, which only accounted for about 15-20% of my total effort on the site. I wondered how many other people out there were only subscribed to the main feed and started to, oh, I guess "fret" is the right word.

Fret turned to panic when I checked my server logs. Bloglines sends along how many people are subscribed to an RSS feed in the user-agent string that's deposited in the referer logs on the server, like so:

Bloglines/3.1 (http://www.bloglines.com; 200 subscribers)

When I compared the number of subscribers to the main feed to the number subscribing to the remaindered feed, the main feed number was nearly 3 times higher. Even worse is when I looked at my server logs for the feeds (I stopped looking at my stats months ago)...visits to the main feed are outpacing visits to the remaindered feed 5:1. Which means that somewhere between 75-85% of the people who are reading kottke.org via RSS aren't even getting most of what's on the site! Which was dumb, dumb, dumb of me to let happen for all these months and why I've now corrected the situation. Interestingly, the stats from Rojo indicate the opposite situation...way more people are subscribed to the remaindered links feed than the main feed. Weird. (Another RSS stats tidbit: I've served up 58 gigabytes of RSS so far this month. That's crazy!)

As always, your bug reports, questions, and concerns are appreciated and may be directed to jason@kottke.org.