What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 130 Stack Exchange communities.

Going back <2 years, upgrades to the RSS feed have been requested and ignored many times. Many have been ignored, rendering the feed almost useless to me. Worse, I have to keep manually checking up on all the websites just to see responses, a thing that RSS was supposed to eliminate.

Here is a list of many requested features. Some are mine, some are others (quoted accordingly).

  • Feed for "Recent Activity" page (upvotes: 27) - This is one of the most requested features, but is frustratingly not implemented yet. This would be the biggest help because instead of having to check MSO, SO, SU, Ubuntu (sometimes), ServerFault (sometimes), and Meta Ubuntu (recently), I can just check one folder in Google Reader and see if anybody has responded. Doing it manually is ridiculous and turns me off of the SO network sometimes, as well as some other people

    For users who only want to follow their reputation or favorites, each tab should be its own feed. This means I would have a feed for summery, reputation, responses, favorites, revisions, and badges. This should be as simple as adding /reputation to the end of the feed url.

  • Step #2) Feed aggregator for entire network (upvotes: 2, but I might of missed a question) - Yes we know, writing the unified bar takes time, mainly because of placement, notification, design. But writing an RSS feed is easy, no design, placement, or notification system (besides standard RSS) needed. The feed could exist on SE under the generic feeds folder/mode. The time to write is cut down considerably, and the reward to the community would be immense. Response times could be slashed on sites, and activity could pick up since people won't be dreading having to check all the sites

    To advertise that the feed exists, you could add the feed to the recent activity page, as well as somewhere else near the top or bottom of the page. If implemented, it does need to be advertised since I don't think must people keep up with Meta or constantly check if new feeds have been created

  • Add comments to question feed (upvotes: ~8) - This has been requested several times but not actually implemented. I find it ridiculous that question feeds don't include comments. When I want to keep up with a question I just wrote in Google Reader, I want to see EVERYTHING! What if someone commented saying that I need to clarify something, or to tell what my question actually meant; I wouldn't see it until I checked the question manually.

    As of right now there is a workaround with Yahoo Pipes using scary looking regex, but I'm not sure if it even works, and is local to Yahoo. This should exist everywhere, not just Yahoo. And it should be implemented soon to make the RSS question feed actually useful

  • Follow all your interesting tags (upvotes: 75) - Sure you can follow each tag individually, but sometimes you want to follow all of them. Currently there is no easy way to do this. The only way that I have found was listed here where you manually write out the URL for each of your interesting tags, which then goes out of date when you add a new interesting tag (and strangely enough doesn't work when following status-declined and status-completed here). You could also use the tag chaining feature and get the same effect, although if the tags aren't related you have to manually type them in.

    The only work around is an interesting shell script that, of course, only works in Linux. There is also a bookmarklet that claims to do this but doesn't do RSS. None of these solutions solve the problem for everybody.

    A nice feature would be the RSS icon right next to the Interesting Tags header to follow all your interesting tags. This actually wouldn't require another server side script, it would just require some URL building using existing features. This would be an easy but very helpful feature.

  • Feed for Featured Questions (upvotes: 5) - Right now there is no way to follow the Featured Questions, despite their being a misleading feed option which just follows the main question feed. This could be useful for many reasons, especially if you can follow by tag to answer the more advanced questions that nobody knows. This shouldn't take long to implement, but would be a very nice feature to have.

  • Feed builder - For right now there are so many feeds that you can follow that its hard for the normal user to find or create them correctly. Following tags requires multiple hoops to go through (how many new users know how to search by tag?) and others are just weird to get to. It would be nice if there was just 1 page which listed all the possible feeds that you could subscribe to, and for things like users and questions it gave directions. This way a new user can quickly figure out what this site has to offer and what they can do.

    The builder part comes in when trying to follow many tags that aren't in your interesting list. This way a user can come in, enter as many tags as they wish, and a URL is built especially for that.

  • Follow the Tag Wiki - This is a little niche, but I can see how it would be helpful to follow the Tag Wiki's to check for changes. Wikipedia does it for their articles, so why not us? I can see use in [java] where the quick tag wiki has changed at least 5 times in the past day or so.

On a related question, why is it taking so long to implement these features? Requests go back far, but have yet to implemented. Is it time consuming, resource intensive, or some other bad thing? Or is it just low on the priority list?

share|improve this question
    
Nitpick: they're atom feeds... not RSS... –  Shog9 Aug 28 '10 at 16:29
1  
@Shog9 TMK most of us and the programs we use think RSS = Atom = Feeds –  TheLQ Aug 28 '10 at 16:42
    
@TheLQ: Thanks! –  MPelletier Aug 29 '10 at 19:04
    
@TheLQ: Your troubles are over! See my answer! –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Sep 18 '10 at 2:18
    
+1 as i can't vote up –  user Apr 17 '11 at 4:11

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

To be brutally honest, we are moving away from RSS to more email and web-based solutions to some of these things these days -- like newsletter subscriptions and tag subscriptions.

To be clear, RSS is still there, and it's not going away any time soon -- in fact, I just deployed a fix that prevents new RSS feeds from spawning every time the title to a question is edited. But it's unlikely we'll undertake some radical reworking of the guts of RSS support in Stack Exchange anytime soon.

That said, we are directly supporting Nathan's (awesome) Stack2RSS:

Stack2RSS - A JSON to RSS Conversion Service [Now Fully Open Source!]

In that we are providing server space and bandwidth for it on our own servers. So please make use of that if possible.

http://stack2rss.stackexchange.com/

share|improve this answer
    
I almost forgot about this question. Reviewing the question now the first three are somewhat remedied by the StackExchange button. However I will say that Stack2RSS is not the alternative which is why I never accepted his answer. There is no integration with the site or even an easy way to build a feed (navigating the API and parameters takes time and most people will not do that). The next feature request will be to provide more RSS buttons that use the app. –  TheLQ Sep 1 '11 at 15:03
    
@TheLQ: Would a GUI interface to Stack2RSS help? –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Nov 7 '11 at 19:42
    
So is it on purpose that the RSS feed for (any)one's responses is no longer visible through an icon? (It used to be shown underneath the responses tab, but I cannot find it anymore—though it still works nicely; maybe it was forgotten with the new user pages? The feed for activity is still shown.) –  Arjan Dec 15 '11 at 19:52
    
The stack2rss.SE link is now broken. –  AirThomas Sep 26 at 15:26

Your troubles are finally over!

I just finished a new app:

Stack2RSS


What does it do? Well, given an API request, it creates a custom RSS feed that you can subscribe to with any feed reader. Since the API is very flexible, this app is very flexible! Sounds exciting, no?

You can see some examples of how to use it and submit your own here:

http://stack2rss.stackexchange.com

You can even have the feeds emailed to you every day!

Here are some examples of how to use it:

Here are all the feature-requests on Meta that this app can now take care of:

share|improve this answer
    
@George Edison - Can you post all of the variables that it will take so I can build whatever feed I need instead of trying to piece it together from the examples? –  matt Nov 22 '10 at 0:18
    
@matt: There are currently 6: '$site', '$user_id', '$question_id', '$guid', '$tags', '$integer_value'. –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Nov 22 '10 at 0:22
    
It doesn't seem to support any newer stackexchange site like for instance gamedev? –  user155339 Jan 9 '11 at 0:31
    
@Ramosa: It does. Just be sure to specify the domain without the .com like this: http://quickmediasolutions.com/stack2rss/gaming.stackexchange/users. –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Jan 9 '11 at 0:55
    
gaming and gamedev are different sites. gamedev doesn't seem to work! –  user155339 Jan 9 '11 at 13:52
    
@Ramosa: Try http://quickmediasolutions.com/stack2rss/gamedev.stackexchange/users... that works for me. –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Jan 9 '11 at 20:33
    
You are right it works. It was firefox that didn't display it correctly. Must be some kind of xml formatting error on gamedev.. –  user155339 Jan 9 '11 at 22:11
    
Another thing.. quickmediasolutions.com/stack2rss/gamedev.stackexchange/badges/… only links to the user who received the badge, and not to the post itself like the web version does: gamedev.stackexchange.com/badges/36/stellar-question –  user155339 Jan 9 '11 at 22:26

It's a contradiction that Stack Overflow has a large contingent of power users yet there are only rudimentary features for RSS. People like me would be able to participate better if we could automate tasks like refreshing the page and filtering the interesting results. The current RSS doesn't even include votes or tags. It's not like it can't be done, because you could use an iframe or an image to keep the vote count updated, for instance. I think Slashdot has a good example for usable RSS feeds.

share|improve this answer
    
Some(?) feeds keep stuff updated with generated transparent images. I think that would be better since iFrames might be iffy. –  TheLQ Sep 2 '10 at 22:57
    
RSS does include votes and tags; look more closely –  Jeff Atwood Sep 24 '10 at 19:40

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .