As recommended at 43 Folders, I’ve added a Dinosaurs page to my now very patched Feed On Feeds – pick it up here. At some point soon I will be forking this off under the name MonkeyChow since it is no longer the same reader.
Right now I have the last-update check hard coded to 30 days, but the idea is to make this user customizable. At the right you can see it in its current incarnation, where you have a list of the old feeds with their timestamps. It’s trimmed down a bit because after seeing it in action I actually deleted about 10 feeds before realizing I needed a screenshot to post here…
The question then is, should this be something that will alert us each time we load a page? I’ve ignored the recommendation to list broken feeds since we can easily see a feed’s last successful update time in Feed on Feeds’ left frame, but I may revisit this in the future if it appears that this Dinosaurs page would be a good place to summarize it. I’m not keen on the idea of feed expirations because that means a lot of housekeeping every X months/days/weeks to renew feeds and I go through a lot of feeds. I would rather prune feeds with individual per-feed article expirations to help keep the database size small. Feed On Feeds doesn’t bother you with feeds that aren’t updating, so keeping them around until they show up as dinosaurs is harmless.
Now, a note about organization. A feed reader needs to be considered a tool that helps you save time and keeps you organized. The “flag all up to this item” feature of Feed on Feeds lets you mark away bulk items and the new starring feature lets you mark articles to read later. If you are finding that you can’t keep up with some feeds, well then that’s a sign that there may be a low signal to noise ratio in that feed and it may be time to drop it. A feed that updates daily, but which you don’t read anything from is just noise – no filter will show you this. If you see a lot of articles that DO want to read, but don’t know if you have the time to, that is a sign that it may be time to drop that feed. Too many starred articles can be a bad thing, and no filter will show you this. Like the rules for email, feed articles should be handled immediately or discarded. This is a tool to help you handle the flow of information. With all the reblogging going on these days, surely there are other feeds available that provide the same real information, but spit out less noise. Lastly, if you find that you aren’t able to clear out the articles list on a regular basis, you are falling into the same trap that keeps people from clearing out their inbox at the end of the day. Check out 43Folders’ Inbox Zero articles on how to regain control of your inbox – the same applies to RSS readers. Start deleting more often, abbreviate your reading, and subscribe to less. Control your own flow of incoming data.