Experimental RSS feed: comments directly available in posts

Some months ago I was asking a question: “Comments are integral part of posts. Why blog systems, like Radio Userland, do not take this fact into account?

Fred, do not wait until somebody do it, otherwise you will wait for a long time I think… So I got an hour of my time today to test the concept. I hacked the b2Evoltuion blog system to build such a RSS feed.

The premise of the experience is that comments leaved by readers are integral part of blog posts. In fact, if someone leave a comment, most of the time it is to add something new to the blog’s post, something that have an informative value. I know it because my readers are good at it. I wanted to reflect that fact in my feeds content. So, it is what I do.

There is what it look like.



  1. The comments are placed at the end of the post
  2. The header of the comment section
  3. The permalink of this specific comment
  4. The number of the comment in the thread
  5. The name of the comment’s author and a link to his URL
  6. A link that will redirect the reader to the place where he could add his comment
  7. The comment in question
  8. The list of comments continue bellow

Simple no? Now the feed subscribers do not only have access to the post but also to the comments wrote about the post, by other readers, all that in the feed reader of their choice.

You want to have a look at that feed? You only have to subscribe to this URL:
http://fgiasson.com/blog/xmlsrv/rss2.feedwithcomments.php?blog=4

Advantages:

  • It reflects the fact that comments are an integral part of posts
  • Each time a post is commented, feed subscribers will be notified. It is sure that it depends on the feed reader, if the feed reader check if a change has been performed on an entry, then the reader will be notified, otherwise he will not.

Disadvantages:

  • It adds information to the web feed and it become much more voluminous.

What do you think of it? Could you be interesting in subscribing to such a feed? Do you think that it could be a good information to have in a blog feed?

Note

It is really ease to add this feature to your blog. If you are using b2Evolution, you only have to download this php file and to put it in your /blog/xmlsrv/ directory. After that you will have access to it at that url:

yourdomainname.com/blog/xmlsrv/
rss2.feedwithcomments.php?blog=X

where X is the number of the blog where you would like to implement the feature.

Thank to Jack Vinson to remember me that I already wanted such a feature.

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4 Responses to “Experimental RSS feed: comments directly available in posts”


  1. 1 Jack Vinson Jun 24th, 2005 at 12:21 am

    Nice to see this done with another blogging engine. Web feeds with comments are very important to help readers feel more connected to the larger converstaions that happen.

    As I mentioned earlier, the other disadvantage with these kind of embedded comments is that every time a comment is made, the post is refreshed. Aggregators that are configured to treat refreshed as new will grab the new entry, including everything I’ve already seen. And if it isn’t configured to grab the new entry, I’ll never know there were comments.

    Have you considered adding trackbacks to this as well? I’ve opted against it for now.

  2. 2 Fred Jun 24th, 2005 at 1:25 am

    Hello Mr. Vinson,

    Exactly, but the problem is the way that feed readers work. They ought to eventually handle the situation better by modifying the present comportment or adding a new one.

    Yeah I did not think about it today, but it will not be a big modification to add trackbacks to the feed. If I have some minutes tomorrow, I will change it to add the comportment has an option.

    Thank for your comment Mr. Vinson,

    Salutations,

    Frdrick.

  3. 3 Sudar Jun 24th, 2005 at 7:51 am

    Good work Fred. Even I am planning to implement this in my blog when I move to my own domain.

    PS: Thanks for showing my comment for illustration. Now I can show off to my friends that there is someone who really values my comments 😉

  4. 4 Fred Jun 24th, 2005 at 10:34 am

    Hello Sudar 🙂

    Heheheheh, your comments are always valuable! It is awesome, I never thought that a day I would got as many comments as I got these days. Thank you all for these precious comments that always lead to good discussions!

    Take care,

    Salutations,

    Fred

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