Weed and Feed

Phil Ringnalda yesterday questioned the usefulness of omnibus “Planet” feeds. To do his part, he has decided to feed Planet Mozilla a finely-tuned subcategory of his Mozilla writings.

But why should Phil have to do all the work? A subscriber to all things Mozilla should expect the Planet feed to contain all things Mozilla, even when people repeat themselves.

So how do readers manage such large feeds? The work has to come at the feed reader level. Let readers custom filter their feeds and Planets will become a lot more useful.

For months Greasemonkey has allowed us to remove Xeni Jardin’s entries from Boing Boing directly on their web page. Why can’t we do the same for the Boing Boing feed? I have yet to see a feed reader that would allow us to set up a simple de-Xenifying rule.

People want this customization; The New York Times offers a feed creator that allows readers to choose multiple news departments for a single feed. This creates hundreds of combinations, hundreds of feeds filled with the same information. Why not feed it all and let the reader sort em out?

The Village Voice supplies an Arts section feed. They’ve already narrowed it down this far, but I, the cranky, impatient reader, only want to read theatre articles. Should I badger them to create a theatre only feed? Or should I ask my feed reader to Display Only entries that contain theater in the guid?

If someone out there knows a feed reader that can do the latter, tell me. Then let the weeding begin.

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2 Responses to “Weed and Feed”

  1. Mike Speaks Nerd » Blog Archive » Tagging Ourselves to Death Says:

    […] Without using a delay, we can turn to my imagined Weed and Feed Reader. This discerning program could throw out all the Flickr feed entries from the same author that arrive within a close period of time. […]

  2. Mike Speaks Nerd » Blog Archive » Feed, Rinse, Repeat Says:

    […] I called this the concept of Weed and Feed. Doctorow is praising a service called Feed Rinse, which allows you to “automatically filter out syndicated content that you aren’t interested in.” Doctorow and I both feel this capability is long overdue. […]

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