A history of the sprawling personality clashes over RSS


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/01/09/triplets-be-damned.html


I don’t think RSS is really dead - It’s how I read news every day (including from boingboing!) via commafeed.


Is it bad that I have never used RSS feed?


I’ve been using RSS feeds for over 10 years and still use them today. I can’t remember what the first RSS feeder I used was, but it was clunky and awkward, then Google came out with an RSS web based app that worked beautifully and I switched to it for 4-5 years until Google put it on life support and then shut it off. I then migrated over to Feedly and have been using their service now for the past 5 years or so. I don’t know how I’d keep up with all the news. I feel like without the RSS feeds I’d be lucky to read through a fraction of the info I do now.

While I didn’t know all the growing pains RSS has gone through I’m glad it’s still kicking because as someone who consumes a lot of news it’s still hands down the best way to quickly and efficiently get through it all.


Kind of like asking if it’s bad that you’ve never used Excel. Of course no one aught to if it’s not helpful to them but it is tremendously useful for a certain type of workflow.


Yeah, fortunately most sites still provide RSS feeds, and it is likewise how I see my boingboing stories. While I have accounts on the silo’d social media sites, I can’t imagine relying on them for news, which I hear people actually do. I can imagine partially getting there with Twitter if you followed the right accounts, but it seems so much better to follow people directly through their web pages than through an intermediary service.


Yes. :smile:

Maybe. Probably almost definitely. It’s how I find all Boing Boing articles. Easier than browsing the site or comments to try and find what’s new.

Independent Question - What’s the difference between these, and is one of them better to use?




Every time I read an article about how RSS is dead I get cold sweats imagining the manner I’d be forced to use the internet if RSS actually WAS dead.


Every time (which isn’t often) I see a site drop RSS as part of a redesign, that’s a site I stop reading regularly…

Likewise, if I happen to find a site that looks interesting, and it doesn’t offer RSS, I’m not likely to go back to it later.


I’m pretty sure RSS isn’t dead. What is there that I’d want to read that doesn’t have an RSS feed? Is there a chance that RSS aggregators will disappear? (I’ve used feedly since Google Reader evaporated, but in the deep past I used one I wrote myself – it wasn’t hard.)


Off the top of my head, Patreon and Crunchyroll are the only two sites I use regularly that don’t have RSS feeds (at least not for what I need)…Possibly not coincidentally, they both have other shortfalls in site design: getting to past posts in Patreon is a chore, and Crunchyroll has no list of recently published manga chapters.


I think no other internet protocol has as much of an impact on my daily online activities as RSS. I’d be adrift in a wasteland without it.

Dead, my ass.


RSS is my primary way of following what happens online, including here at boingboing.

The biggest drawback in RSS is that it’s obscure enough that I rarely mention it to other people I talk with. I don’t want to go into the rabbit hole of trying to explain why it’s useful, or how to choose or set up a reader.

Most sites that I come across that look interesting, I examine the source to see if it has a link rel=“alternate” type=“application/rss+xml” tag. If so I’ll add to my reader. If not, I usually forget about the site in the next week.


If you listen to podcasts, you use RSS (likely, anyway) That’s at least what I tell people, and the example I use to explain the utility of RSS to non-RSS newsfeed consumers.


I, too, use RSS for my BoingBoing feed, along with several other sites. I was sorely disappointed when Firefox removed RSS from the software but gratified that the core functionality was replaced with a plugin. Like others here, keeping up with the news I choose to read would be complicated otherwise. I didn’t know there have been political issues, but it seems that anywhere you go on the net things are getting more bitter…



Cory, I agree with your take on the reasons RSS has fallen into disfavour, but I think the article is in agreement and spells it out quite clearly, too, towards the end: “So if we are asking ourselves why RSS is no longer popular, a good first-order explanation is that social networks supplanted it. […] So today we are left with centralized silos of information.”


Rss killed? Wow, seriously never realized it. Still used heavily here.

Do tend to avoid any publication without an rss feed. Perhaps that’s why we never noticed it’s death.

(Scooby Do quizzed look)


I have written my own RSS feed generators for sites that did not supply them. Twitter still works, but Facebook changed their API such that I could no longer figure out how to pull in my news feed.

Two comic sites that did not have RSS feeds were kind enough to implement them after I suggested it.


Count me as someone else for whom RSS is far from dead. I can’t imagine doing my work and getting/curating my news without it (another Feedly user here).

I don’t remember newsreaders being particularly popular with the general public at any given point in its RSS’s history. It was created by tech geeks and mostly used by other geeks who were more concerned than most about workflow efficiency and personal control/curation and textual content – pretty much everything social media sites have de-prioritised in an attempt to turn the Internet back into a small group of walled gardens.


Same here. Makes me feel like the water has risen to within an inch of my nostrils.

Fortunately it’s very much not dead in the present-tense descriptive sense.

I wonder if declaring it dead helps or hurts.