Let an rss feed be a reminder | Ashur Cabrera

Ashur has voiced something I've been doing for years: feed readers may be efficient, but that efficiency robs websites of their individuality. I've long had sites that I subscribe to but will always press the button to "open in new tab" rather than read them in the browser, from the genuinely art-directed (e.g. ILoveTypography) to the beautifully simple (e.g. adactio or Ethan Marcotte's site). Some sites are information-first and don't need this treatment, but I wish readers wouldn't try so hard to sanitise the web.

Of course, the action suggested here – set your feed to excerpt only – doesn't actually solve the problem for some modern readers. My own tool of choice, Readwise Reader, doesn't even use the RSS feed to aggregate data, but instead uses it as a list of links to scrape. I don't love this behaviour and find it less reliable than just using RSS most of the time, but it's also a slight reaction to excerpt feeds. Ah well, I can still open in new tab myself 😉

On the joy that is lost by consuming content in a sanitised "reader" environment:

... it’s not just the occasional art-directed post that goes unseen, but the personality — and, dare I say, humanity — of a site altogether, by treating my feed reader as the de facto way of catching up

On shifting from viewing items in the reader versus using it as a notification system:

... the feed transforms from a lifeless simulacrum of the original text to a gentle reminder to check in on something that's bound to be quite lovely.

On how excerpts can help guide readers to treat feeds differently:

Truncate those posts, embrace the beauty of "Read More" links, and drive people to your actual site! You and your readers both deserve it.

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