Feed Update

I just expanded my Commentary feed to include complete posts and to show a comment count in the title. I’m really surprised that I haven’t seen anyone else do the latter. It seems that discussion is what drives and motivates the sites that I frequent and only one has any type of notification option. Including the comment count in your feed is an easy way to keep your readers informed of an ongoing discussion without cluttering up their in-box.

Update

To set this up in MT simply open up your feed template in the web-based form or your preferred editor, find the <item> tag and change:

<title><$MTEntryTitle remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$></title>

To:

<title><$MTEntryTitle remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$> (<$MTEntryCommentCount$>)</title>

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Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
March 13th, 2004 at 10:10 am
Categories
The Site
Comments
010 (Now closed)

010 Comments

001

Now there’s an idea worth nicking…

Author
Jon HIcks
Posted
Mar 13th, 2004 11:14 am
002

This is one of those ideas I would invite everyone to use themselves. The only problem is a semantic one. Technically, the number of comments is not part of the title - it’s just the most convenient place to display it. Maybe the standard could be expanded to include a container for this type of information?

Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
Mar 13th, 2004 12:15 pm
003

So, where does one do this in MovableType? Becuase I thought it would only show a new post in the RSS after it is posted, and not when a new comment was posted. It seems that witchcraft is afoot, and thievery is ahead, but what is the middle, but a congo line.

Author
Danny Cohen
Posted
Mar 13th, 2004 12:45 pm
004

There you go Danny, just a added a brief how-to to the original post.

Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
Mar 13th, 2004 12:58 pm
005

waferbaby had this for a while. i found it annoying when someone commented and the entry showed up as unread again in nnw

Author
ak
Posted
Mar 13th, 2004 3:49 pm
006

Will you be offering a feed without this feature? I get pretty tired of seeing the same threads on other sites popping up as “new/updated” a dozen times throughout the day due to a stream of new comment posting; it seems to be a good idea for sites that are very dialogue driven but not for those where the actual entries are the more important content.

Author
brian w
Posted
Mar 13th, 2004 3:49 pm
007

While I do find it annoying when old posts pop-up as new every time the author corrects a spelling mistake, I also think that the exchanges that occur after the initial post add value with their different views or refinements to the original idea.

I guess I could just as easily create two feeds, one with the number of comments, one without.

Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
Mar 13th, 2004 4:03 pm
008

Perhaps I’m missing something, but wouldn’t this potentially expand your site’s bandwidth consumption quite a bit — because your full feed is going to be in near-constant flux, your subscribers are going to be pulling down the full feed each time they check to see if it’s changed.

Seems like a better idea to use in conjunction with an excerpts-only feed if you’re concerned about bandwidth.

(By the way, your live comment preview trick is pretty damn cool.)

Author
John Gruber
Posted
Mar 14th, 2004 6:11 am
009

See, that’s why I post these things; I would have never thought about that John (well, maybe after my host hit me with a huge overage charge). Good call. I guess it’s equally unfair to the readers who have to download the entire file even though only a single number has changed.

Another option would be to include an image that is dynamically generated from the post id and shows the number of comments. I could use my comment button and make it link directly to the post’s comments. Since the image source doesn’t change the feed would never technically be updated.

Does anybody know if aggregators cache images?

Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
Mar 14th, 2004 6:37 am
010

I like the new feed, because it adds a community aspect to the site. That people want to come back and add more comments and continue talking about the topic. Not just drop by, leave a comment, and run away to a forum.

But, I think providing two Feeds would be the best solution to please those who like both. A low-bandwidth and hi-bandwidth, which would just mean a-lot-of-bandwidth for this site. See, I sort of made a pun.

Author
Danny Cohen
Posted
Mar 14th, 2004 6:48 am