Duncan Riley> It’s been probably 6 months since this argument last raised its ugly head, but its now returned with Robert Scoble indulging in a RSS subscription jihad against bloggers who don’t offer full feeds.
Scoble argues that he’s too busy to read partial feeds and that its quicker for him to scan full feeds in his feed reader.
John Roberts disagrees, and writes that partial feeds allow him to scan more quicky and then open the posts he’d like to read to read later.
Others, including James Robertson, Dave Winer (who is actually very reasonable on the argument) and Tom Raftery chime in as well.
Not suprisingly, I’m with John on this one, but I’ll explain why.
I’ve written in the past about keeping my feed subscriptions low (I aim for no more than 100) but I’ve also tended to favour blogs with higher number of posts as well to get as much value from my subs. On an average morning I’ll have anything from 1000 to 2000 posts to get through, and if they are partial feeds I can and do get through them more quickly with Bloglines. As Dave Winer writes though, there is a preference for a reasonable short summary as well, so you know what the headline pertains to. As I go through each folder I click on the posts I want to read using the scroll-ball on my mouse, which in Firefox opens the post in a new tab in the background. When I then finish scanning through the subject area I return and read the posts, blogging mention of them if required. It works well for me.
But here’s another thing: every time I open a post I’m also telling the writer, particularly if its a blog post, that I’m interested in that post. If all I’ve done is read it in my feed reader the blogger has no idea that I’ve taken an interest in it, unless I blog about it (and I probably only blog 1 in 3-4 posts/ articles I read). If they are running CPM advertising, this helps there as well, it helps with their traffic stats for BlogAds if they are running them, and if I happen to click on a CPC ad, it also helps them earn some more income to keep up the good work (note I only click on an ad if I am interested in it). Other times I’ll also read the comment thread on the blog, and might even contribute a comment as well. Again, this helps build community and interactivity which further encourages the blogger to continue to write and provide entertainment and interesting content for all of us. What Robert Scoble wants is to cut all of this out and have full text delivered to his feedreeder for free WITHOUT being willing to recognise the importance that a visit to a site entails. He argues that it takes to much time for the page to load; I’d suggest that Robert starts using Firefox and read his feeds like I do, open them in a background tab to come back to a read once you’ve got through your subscriptions, and dare I say: what’s a second or two in the pursuit of encouraging others and being a good citizen of the blogosphere? Unfortunately once again Scoble’s obsession with himself and his inability to consider the points and perspectives of others once again sees Microsoft’s chief blogging spokesperson reflect poor, self centered judgement upon the choices of others.
Disappointing really, particularly when his mentor, Dave Winer, long regarded as suffering from grumpy old man syndrome, can be far more reasonable than the student.
Update: Zoli Erdos adds his points in favor of full feeds.