Replied to Really Simple Syndication by an authoran author ( )
Vanaf begin dit jaar ben ik RSS weer aan het afstoffen. ... Netvibes weer eens bekeken en 99% van alle rss feeds werkten niet meer. ... Ik ben blij met mijn hervonden feed (die potentieel het hele internet bestrijkt). En als je nog mooie, bijzondere mensen met een site kent. Ik hoor het graag.

Naast RSS heb je, las ik bij Frank, ook Webmention aan dus schrijf ik een reactie vanaf mijn eigen blog. Ik heb 3 jaar geleden toen ik weer vaker ging bloggen en FB achter me liet, mijn feedreader leeg gegooid en opnieuw langzaam gevuld. Ik lees wat mensen schrijven (geen ‘bronnen’) en orden feeds op basis van mijn gevoelde sociale afstand tot hen. De aloude blogrol heb ik ook weer terug, nu in de vorm van een mens- en machineleesbare OPML file, die je in de meeste rss readers kunt importeren om te zien of er schrijvende mensen tussen zitten van je gading.

You can subscribe to new content on this site by using a variety of available feeds. Feedreaders should be able to discover the main feed and responses feed on their own. But there are more feeds available than just those two. This is a WordPress site, so almost everything also has its own RSS feed.

Main Feeds

  • You can get all new content by following the main RSS feed (as listed in the right sidebar). The URL is just this blog’s URL with /feed at the end. This is true for all other types of feed, just add /feed at the end. This feed is also how I share my posts to Micro.blog/Ton
  • In the past some feed readers have been blocked by my hosting provider as malicious bots. If that happens to you, you can use the Feedburner feed as an alternative. (But be aware that Google will collect data from you using their Feedburner service.) It also contains all postings.
  • There is also a microformatted feed, h-feed, which provides JSON output. This however only has content that is shown on the front page of my blog, i.e. things I consider ‘main’ articles. The day to day observations and bookmarks etc. are not in that h-feed.
  • There are two main feeds for responses to content, one for any type of response (including likes, mentions etc.), and one for comments only.
  • Dutch language posts (feed), and German language posts (feed) both have their own feed. The default language is English and has no separate feed. All main feeds contain also the non-English postings.

Everything has a /feed

This is a WordPress site, so almost everything also has its own RSS feed. (WordPress.org page on feeds)

  • If you add /feed to the URL of a single posting, you will get the feed for comments on that specific content-item.
  • Every tag or category has its own feed. Go to the overview page and add /feed to the url. E.g. the posts with tag unconference at https://www.zylstra.org/blog/tag/unconference/ have their own feed https://www.zylstra.org/blog/tag/unconference/feed. Similarly a category overview like https://www.zylstra.org/blog/category/deutsch/, the category for German language posts has https://www.zylstra.org/blog/category/deutsch/feed as feed. There are different categories used by pages and by postings, so they have separate feeds. As the Digital Garden (wiki section) in this site is built from pages, this allows you to subscribe to the wiki, or individual wiki categories separately from my blog.

Browse. Search. Subscribe. Longhorn Loves RSS
Browse. Search. Subscribe. Image by Kris Krüg, license CC BY SA

In response to Peter’s earlier request I have created a new RSS feed that contains only comments on postings, not other types of reactions such as likes, mentions, and ping- or trackbacks. It was a bit of a puzzle to get it all working, having me dive down the rabbit hole leading to the maze that is the WordPress documentation. With some suggestions from Jan Boddez, I now have a result. The new feed is listed on the right hand side. Subscribe to it if you care to follow conversations on this blog. The feed with all interactions, so including likes etc., is also available.

I documented how I created the feed over in the wiki.

Peter asked me if it is possible to change my RSS feed for my comments. Right now it contains any reaction, which come in the form of webmentions, likes, reposts, as well as actual replies and comments. Essentially it is currently not a comment feed, but a reaction feed. As part of my site tweaks I will see if I can turn it into a real comment feed (that includes webmentions that are replies), and how to change the way some things are displayed (I had that but it got overwritten by plugin updates).

For now I have renamed the comment feed, so new subscribers have the right expectations.

In the past days both Heinz and Ric alerted me that my RSS feeds wasn’t reachable for them. My log files quickly showed what was happening, Netnewswire, FeedBin and TinyTinyRSS were blocked by my hoster as ‘bad bots’ whenever they tried to reach my RSS feed:

[Thu Mar 26 03:43:49.372015 2020] [:error] [pid 501480] [client 95.143.172.147:48116] [client 95.143.172.147] ModSecurity: Access denied with code 403 (phase 2). Matched phrase "tt-rss.org" at REQUEST_HEADERS:User-Agent. [file "/etc/httpd/modsecurity.d/modsecurity_localrules.conf"] [line "2"] [id "350001"] [msg "Bad Bot Rule: Black Bot detected. "] [hostname "www.zylstra.org"] [uri "/blog/feed/"] [unique_id "XnwW5ZujCwgIM-xP-57OfAAAAAE"], referer: http://www.zylstra.org/blog/feed/
[Thu Mar 26 04:06:25.506843 2020] [:error] [pid 452702] [client 157.230.163.157:51478] [client 157.230.163.157] ModSecurity: Access denied with code 403 (phase 2). Matched phrase "Feedbin" at REQUEST_HEADERS:User-Agent. [file "/etc/httpd/modsecurity.d/modsecurity_localrules.conf"] [line "2"] [id "350001"] [msg "Bad Bot Rule: Black Bot detected. "] [hostname "www.zylstra.org"] [uri "/blog/feed/"] [unique_id "XnwcMZhpXdX8450kb5sLbgAAABI"]
[Thu Mar 26 05:45:54.289670 2020] [:error] [pid 681301] [client 69.172.186.78:39628] [client 69.172.186.78] ModSecurity: Access denied with code 403 (phase 2). Matched phrase "NetNewsWire" at REQUEST_HEADERS:user-agent. [file "/etc/httpd/modsecurity.d/modsecurity_localrules.conf"] [line "2"] [id "350001"] [msg "Bad Bot Rule: Black Bot detected. "] [hostname "www.zylstra.org"] [uri "/blog/comments/feed/"] [unique_id "XnwzggS4@-ngUalhqeVluAAAAA4"]

I submitted a ticket with my hoster Thursday but they have been unusually unresponsive this time. So for the time being I created a Feedburner RSS feed http://feeds.feedburner.com/InterdependentThoughts, so at least those that have this issue can resolve it. However Feedburner has been part of Google since 2007, which means the service hasn’t evolved apart from that it tracks your reading habits. So I’m on the lookout for a replacement service that does the same as Feedburner, except that it isn’t Feedburner, so sans the tracking.

[UPDATE 2020-03-30: the blocked feedreaders are now unblocked again. I’ll keep the Feedburner feed alive for now. Will likely rename it to something under my own domain [no longer possible], and my try to replace it with something like granary.io]

A few weeks ago Kicks Condor released a major update of his Fraidycat feed reader. Like Kick Consor’s blog itself, Fraidycat has a distinct personality.

Key with Fraidycat is that it aims to break the ‘never ending timeline’ type of reading content that the silos so favour to keep you scrolling, and that most feed readers also basically do. Fraidycat presents all the feeds you follow (and it is able to work with a variety of sources, not just regular RSS feeds from blogs) in the same way: the name of the feed, and one line of titles of recent postings.
The pleasant effect of this is that it shows the latest postings of all your subscriptions, not just the latest postings. This means that regular posters, oversharing posters and more silent voices get allocated much the same space, and no single voice can dominate your feed reader.

For each blog you can toggle a list of recent postings.

It’s not just that Fraidycat doesn’t present a timeline, it actually only presents some metadata from each feed and does not fetch the actual content of a feed at all. So as soon as you click a link in a list of links, it will send you to your browser and open it there. This runs counter to my habit of reading feeds offline, which requires being able to automatically download content to my laptop. It does make for a clean experience though.

A neat addition is also that it shows sparkline graphs next to the name of a blog, so there’s a visual cue as to the frequency of posting. This is something I’d like to see in other readers too. It’s a functionality that might be extended with an alert of changes in the normal posting rhythm. E.g. someone falling silent, or suddenly blogging up a storm, or covering a live event could perhaps stand out with a visual cue (such as changing the color of the sparkline graph). The sparkline is the only cue concerning the number of postings, there’s no indication of how many ‘unreads’ there are because Fraidycat doesn’t know that (as it doesn’t fetch content). This is a good way of preventing any type of FOMO cropping up.

In the current times it is I think worthwile to follow blogs more, and social media timelines less, attenuating both the noise and the way stuff reaches you.