Aquarium Blog

Monday, September 13, 2004

Why do people subscribe to the main feed in MSDN blogs?

As explained by Robert Scoble, people subscribing to the main feed of the MSDN Blogs has been consuming too much bandwidth. Even worse, as Dave Winer states in a later post, it seems to be a nonsense.

Why would anybody want to subscribe to such a gigantic feed? I think I found two driving reasons:

1. Subscribing to the main feed is overwhelmingly easy.

2. Finding the individual blogs I could be interested in, is really hard from the blogger list.

Of course, I very often subscribe to blogs only after I have found them referenced in other blogs. However, if I had to come to the blog list page to find something interesting to subscribe to, the only tool I would have at hand would be Ctrl+F.

Also, just browsing the list is impractical. There are so many Microsoft bloggers today that I don't think anybody with a full time job will browse the list past the names beginning with C.

There are some things I think could be done to improve the experience. These are just a few examples:

- Implement the list as a table.
- Add columns with metadata, for instance traffic (as an heuristic measure of ranking), team or product, position, frequent categories, a gauge indicating technical level,etc.
- Add ways to filter and sort content based on any combination of those columns.
- Add a good full text search engine that returns a link to the blog (or the feed URL) with each result.

Maybe there is already something like what I describe.

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