In my opinion, there are two types of feeds: Those which are time-sensitive, and those which are not time sensitive. If it's time sensitive, I want to see the notifications only when I'm logged in. If it's not, I want to review what I missed while I was logged out.
The ticker is great for time-sensitive stuff. For instance, I like to check any new questions that appear immediately if I'm in our site's chat room. It's a nice alternative to adding another column in chat and I prefer it over the message feeds because it doesn't inject itself in the middle of conversations.
Non-time-sensitive stuff requires something different, but message feeds get in the way and make reading the transcript harder. However, it's useless as a notifier for blog posts, podcasts, and other things that you want to be informed of because it doesn't allow you to catch up on what you've missed. With message-inserting feeds, you can read the transcript. With ticker feeds, you must be logged in, or you get nothing.
I need something that's unobtrusive but able to be reviewed. This could be:
- a "while you were out" link to expand the ticker
- another column for feed messages to be posted to (as proposed here - note that this would be optional)
- allow the feed to present itself as a ticker while you're logged in and as messages when you're logged out (with a link to a search for everything said by the feed user in the room)
- Your view of ticker feeds defaults to the ticker when you're logged in, and these items are posted as messages when you're not logged in.
- An RSS reader pointing to the feeds. (Currently works. Not integrated into the chat function, though).
Whether configuration would be left to room owners and mods or selectable by users would be dependent on the implementation.