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
/reputationto 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-completedhere). 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?