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 Post subject: RSS Feed?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 1:16 pm 
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n00b

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Location: Massachusetts
You know what would be really great? If Errant Story had an RSS feed. All I'd want is for it to have a link to the main page when the comic (or the news) updates. I don't want or need for the comic itself to be in the feed, and am happy to visit the site when it updates. I've read a couple things on the forums suggesting that this feature was maybe being implemented, but I'm not sure if it was nixed, or just hasn't happened yet.

I know Errant Story is fairly reliable about updating on the MWF schedule, but many of the other comics I read are not. I've discovered recently that following all my comics (I read close to 70) via RSS is vastly more efficient than having a huge list of bookmarks and clicking on the ones I think might have updated today. I've found feeds for all but 6 of the ones I follow, and, sadly, ES is one of those 6. So I'm just raising my hand and making the request, politely, I hope. I imagine I'm not the only reader would would find such a thing useful.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 3:24 pm 
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Quote:
We have no plans to implement an RSS feed, nor do we want anyone to make one for us. We prefer that people regularly visit the website.


From the sticky about website bugs, although it isn't a bug, but rather a feature request. Nevertheless, already rejected, sorry ;)


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 6:40 pm 
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Shteven wrote:
From the sticky about website bugs, although it isn't a bug, but rather a feature request. Nevertheless, already rejected, sorry ;)


Which is unfortunate imho, RSS seems to be growing in popularity and I'm sure not having it makes ES lose some readers. Especially those who automatically add comics to their RSS reader if they like them (they may bookmark it but likely will forget to manually check it for updates).

Personally I wrote my own webcomic update checker so it doesn't much for me (it can use RSS but doesn't need to) directly. However from experience if I forget to move a comic from bookmarks to the auto-checker (laziness mostly) I quickly forget to check it for updates manually and in the end stop reading it.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 7:26 pm 
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It is unfortunate, and, in my opinion--though I don't want to be insulting, honestly--sort of silly. I can certainly understand not wanting to RSS the comic itself, that makes perfect sense to me, and is part of why I don't want it. I'm more than happy to come to the site whenever the comic updates. I just am finding it a lot easier to deal with my comic-reading habit by handling it through RSS instead of bookmarks. All I want is a link to the main page when it updates, which I know for a fact is perfectly possible to do--more than 2/3 of the comics I read do exactly that.

In my admittedly limited experience, comics that refuse to do RSS mostly do so out of a misapprehension that it requires they give the comic away to people without the attendant advertising on their page, which isn't true. It CAN do that, but it doesn't have to.

It might fractionally reduce the traffic to the site, since those subscribed to the RSS would only visit when there's a new comic, and on those days that it doesn't update for whatever reason they wouldn't come at all. But if I'm at all typical, a lack of comic does not increase the chances of looking at the ads--or anything else on the page. If I see no new comic, I move on right away without even seeing anything else.

And while I don't plan to stop reading Errant Story altogether if no RSS is implemented, I suspect there are some that will, even if they aren't doing it in protest--as has already been pointed out, those that do depend on RSS to read comics are far more likely to simply lose track of those few that do not offer it, much as those comics with highly erratic update schedules have trouble maintaining readership--people simply forget about such comics when they stop checking regularly.

Plus, there are certainly some out there who are sufficiently knowledgeable to write their own RSS feed (I'm not one of them)--and at least some of them are going to write one that scrapes the comic off the page and dumps it into their reader, and they're never going to go to the site again themselves. Many or most of them likely wouldn't bother to do that--and some might even stop using their own if they already have--if an official one were offered. In fact, there are several services I'm aware of out there that do this for one, and all you have to do is pick out a selection of comics from the ones they scrape with their own RSS, and sign up for their aggregator. All the comics are then delivered to one's RSS reader directly. Most of them don't provide a link to the comic's own site at all, only back to the aggregator's page. I don't really want to use a service like that, and so haven't, but I know they're out there, and I'm sure others are less scrupulous than myself.

In fact, it's entirely possible that having an RSS feed, if written a certain way, would actually fractionally increase overall traffic--if it is written to pull on the comic, news posts, and even the alerts that appear at the top of the page each separately, so that when any of them are updated, a fresh RSS is produced, those of us who used the RSS would visit the site more often. Some of the other comics I read have things set up something like that--Penny Arcade and PvP, for example.

Anyway, on the whole, if it is set up such that an RSS feed only links to the main page without linking to the archive, or worse yet, delivering the comic directly, then it won't negatively impact anything, and will make a significant (and growing) subset of readers happy.

So, to reiterate, I want to express my desire for an RSS feed of Errant Story. My continued readership is by no means contingent on it, but it would make me very happy, all the same.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 9:10 pm 
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That quote is actually out of date. I knew I should have answered this thread when I first saw it, I just had other things I had to get done first. Sorry about that.

We do, at this point, plan to eventually implement an RSS that will inform people when the site is updated with a new comic, new announcement, new newspost, etc. However, we're in the middle of a substantial site redesign right now (one might even call it a complete overhaul). Even though you can't SEE anything happening, we are putting a lot of time, energy, and ultimately money into getting the site fixed up, and eventually the changes we're working on will be blindingly clear. So, we can't spare any of that time, energy, or money for making an RSS right this minute. We'll get to it after the site redux is done, otherwise it'd just be obsolete in a month or two anyways.

-_-'

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 9:22 pm 
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Yay! Sorry to spout off at such length, then. I can wait until the site redesign is done, certainly. I'm just glad to know you wonderful folks are not being irrational about the matter. Thank you very much for getting back to me on the matter. And I'm sure anyone else looking for a current answer on this question will be pleased to see this answer when they search the forums about it, too.


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