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If you poll the main page RSS less frequently than every 2 minutes, you'll miss activity during the busy parts of the day:

http://stackoverflow.com/feeds

I haven't found the "newest questions" RSS (surely there's one there somewhere?) but it appears that there are 30 new questions every 15 minutes, so if you poll it less frequently than every 15 minutes you'll also lose new questions.

  • Is polling the RSS this frequently ok for stackoverflow?
  • If not, is it published/federated elsewhere, perhaps in RSS feeds with more entries?
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1 Answer 1

What's the use case for needing to see every single new question? That's like asking to see every single article on Wikipedia.

Perhaps a tag-based RSS feed would be more relevant to your interests? There are 5 different flavors of tag-based RSS feed.

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If you're fighting for the FGITW and Reputation? There is a golden period when the question is first posted; it's that period that your answer needs to be in to have the highest chance of garnering reputation. –  George Stocker Nov 11 '09 at 21:32
    
I don't want to miss potentially interesting questions. Would you rather have me poll 40+ tag RSS feeds every hour? That is more load than grabbing the main page RSS every 2 minutes. –  Adam Davis Nov 11 '09 at 21:37
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When I'm actively using stackoverflow I pull the main page every 2 minutes or so, and I do go through and read all the new activity on the main page. Pulling the RSS would lighten the load on the server compared to the main page, and I can customize my browsing a little more efficiently. I wouldn't be pulling the RSS every 2 minutes 24/7, but it would be for an hour at a time once or twice a day. Of course, if it's preferable, I can simply pull the front page every 2 minutes instead... –  Adam Davis Nov 11 '09 at 21:44
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You can use one RSS feed to follow multiple tags, f.e. stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/ruby+or+c –  Andomar Nov 11 '09 at 22:01
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@Andomar: you're missing the point - Adam follows all tags; he's a polyglutton-for-punishment. –  Shogging through the snow Nov 11 '09 at 23:08
    
@Andomar - Then I'd have to poll it more frequently to avoid missing questions. The question is: How does SO prefer me to use it. Right now I access the front page very frequently for periods of time. This places a burden on the server. Isn't RSS supposed to place a lighter burden on the server? But to get the same information, I have to poll it as frequently as I poll the front page. But if I do that, I suspect I'm going to be blocked. So the only path right now is screen scraping the front page, unless I understand what the limits to RSS are, and if sufficient I'll go that way. –  Adam Davis Nov 12 '09 at 6:04
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What SO needs is a firehose like twitter as part of the eventual API. But what to do until then? If I can customize my experience and reduce the load I put on the website, it's a win win. If I can customize my experience but maintain the same load, then it's a win for me. I don't want to overburden SO though, so I thought I'd ask what the RSS limits are first, rather than going through testing to determine what they are myself. –  Adam Davis Nov 12 '09 at 6:06

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