Baghdad Burning blog

Thanks to PlanetSun I found a link from Geoff Arnold's blog to Baghdad Burning, the blog of a woman living in Baghdad. It's very sobering stuff, whatever your position on the war is. As with all wars, its the ordinary people that suffer the most. What's really sad is that she seems to have received her fair share of abusive emails from people who think that the Iraqi people should be grateful that they were invaded. Sheesh.

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Opinions may vary

According to Glynn Foster,

"We still have people being all rude and not publishing their entire blog entry in their RSS feed. It's hugely infuriating having to click through to various blogs just to read them. Hopefully people are reading this and making suitable changes. Ahem."

I made a conscious decision not to include the entire content of my blog in the RSS feed, for several reasons:

  • If someone can't be bothered to click through to my site they probably aren't interested in what I have to say, so I think I shouldn't force them to read or at least scan past my posts in their entirety.
  • I'm not always interested in everything picked up by PlanetSun. I think it's inconvenient to have to scroll down though pages of stuff I'm not interested in.
  • I'm already getting a hit every 15 minutes from PlanetSun. My blog often includes photos, and I don't really want them being pulled every 15 minutes.
  • Blogs that don't strip out the HTML tags from their RSS feeds make it much more difficult to handle the feeds in a graceful way. As Mark Pilgrim points out, putting HTML in RSS feeds, whilst allowed, is potentially dangerous.
  • I access PlanetSun throught my existing aggregator, the most excellent RSS reader plugin for FireFox. As I move the cursor over each entry the contents of the RSS feed in question appear in a popup, and if the entire article is delivered in the feed I get a series of huge boxes (usually full of HTML) flying up the screen.

Perhaps the solution is to have two feeds, one containing the plaintext synopsis and the other containing the full contents of the posts?

My own personal gripe is about people who don't have comments enabled on their blogs - hopefully people are reading this and making suitable changes. Ahem.

I also have my doubts about how scaleable the PlanetSun approach is - as the number of blogs it aggregates grows it is going to put an increasing strain on the ADSL line that it is at the end of. Most blogging packages allow you so set up notifications using either email or XML/RPC, and something like that would make it possible for the individual blog owners to decide if they wanted to be on PlanetSun.

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Categories : Web