Steve Gillmor has his panties in a bunch (yeah, we blogger non-journalist types can say stuff like that) because he's subscribed to my ancient RSS 0.91 feed which contains only excerpts of each post.

However, the default feed for my blog has been my fancy new RSS 2.0 creation for a while now. It appears I'm not the only one impressed by his lack of research.

The folks over at TechDirt had this to say:

Normally this is exactly the type of post I wouldn't even read, but something seemed odd -- and it took me a few seconds to realize that two things didn't make sense. (1) I came across Steve's post in the ZDNet blogs RSS feed which (whoooooops!) is a partial text feed -- so, yes, his attempt to make fun of partial feeds is, indeed, cut off itself by his own partial feed. (2) I read Jeremy Zawodny's feed as well, and it's full text. So, here we have someone who has a partial feed complaining about the partial feed of someone who actually appears to only offer full feeds...

Now, it's true that I still offer the old partial feed for folks who use it (most do not), but the full-text one is what I've been promoting for a while.

Looking at Steve's feed, I see that he offers both at once. The "description" section for each post contains an except. The "content:encoded" bit, however, contains the full post. I wonder which aggregators prefer the "description" over "content:encoded'?

Posted by jzawodn at December 17, 2005 09:28 PM

Reader Comments
# Jason Schramm said:

Using Bloglines, they don't even list your feed with full posts. I just now switched over, since I didn't know it existed.

on December 17, 2005 10:31 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

That's odd. A couple thousand Bloglines users are using my RSS 2.0 feed, according to the stats I have.

on December 17, 2005 10:40 PM
# Michael Moncur said:

I don't know about Bloglines' listings, but when I try their "subscribe" bookmarklet it lists 9 or 10 feed variations (which is bloody annoying, but that's another topic) and two of them are the RSS2 and Atom feeds, both full.

on December 17, 2005 11:05 PM
# choonkeat said:

Regarding 'content:encoded', RssFwd happens to prefer it over 'description'. I forgot why though. :-)

on December 18, 2005 01:26 AM
# Billy said:

I'm getting your RSS2 feed in Bloglines a'la full feed

on December 18, 2005 02:08 AM
# mmk said:


How amusing, I was reading:

which is the short summary version, there are 52 other people reading that compared to the 25 reading the full version:

Oh well.

on December 18, 2005 02:45 AM
# Raj Shekhar said:

Why not just redirect you partial feed users to the full feed ? i.e. put these lines in your index.rdf

on December 18, 2005 04:51 AM
# Raj Shekhar said:

I meant add put php code in your index.rdf

// For redirecting users who are lost

or equivalent html

on December 18, 2005 04:58 AM
# Eddie Sowden said:

If you do offer up both descriptions and full text in one feed most aggregators should enable you to select which one to read. I know bloglines does.

Personally I know that when new things apear on some peoples feed I will go to their site to read it. So fo them i chose to only display descriptions.

on December 18, 2005 05:09 AM
# Justin Mason said:

Yeah, I'd agree with Raj Shekhar -- just dispose of the partial-text feeds, redirect, and go full-text all the way.

Partial text may have made sense in the days of headline-syndication using RSS 0.9, but it just doesn't match with how people use RSS these days.

on December 18, 2005 12:30 PM
# Robert Sayre said:

Thunderbird will use content:encoded if it's there.

on December 18, 2005 12:51 PM
# Mike Masnick said:

Just for clarification on my part, I don't read Steve's individual feed, which you point to, but the overall aggregated ZDNet blogs RSS feed:

Which appears to only provide partial text. So, it wasn't a case of my aggregator (our own creation as part of our Techdirt InfoAdvisor service) prefering the "description" over "content:encoded", but that the feed I use only seems to offer partial feeds.

I just figure that, if he's going to be making fun of others for partial feeds, he might want to focus on his own employer first.

on December 18, 2005 02:14 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

I couldn't agree more.

on December 18, 2005 02:19 PM
# Greg Smith said:

FeederReader on the Pocket PC uses content:encoded when provided for exactly this reason.

Greg Smith
Author, FeederReader - Pocket PC *direct* RSS text, audio, video, podcasts

on December 21, 2005 03:58 AM
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