The Disadvantages of RSS

I’ve been using RSS feeds for years with Feedly. On my iPhone I link up either Reeder or Unread (both are awesome) though – I don’t use the Feedly software.

While I appreciate the advantages of RSS (usually a cleaner reading experience and a single source to read news), there are some major disadvantages that I’m having a harder time overlooking.

First, I subscribe to the NY Times. A lot of their articles contain multiple photos and are rich in video, sound etc. Within the RSS feed an image might squeak through, but comparing an article in my RSS reading app vs the actual online article, there is often quite a bit missing. I understand this is not uncommon as RSS strips out a lot from the article. Okay.

The other issue is volume. Feeds like the NY Times publish hundreds of articles a day, so there’s this need to “stay caught up” at all times. I never actually read all the headlines, it’s more a skip through the list and see if anything catches my eye. This isn’t super productive.

Finally, there’s no way I’m aware of to raise the most important articles to the top. I realize this is somewhat subjective, but on a day where Russia invades the Ukraine, I shouldn’t see a bunch of fluff pieces at the top of my list. As a matter of fact, when I woke up this morning I didn’t notice any news stories on the NY Times or on any other news source I use (Globe and Mail/CBC in Canada where I live). It wasn’t until a friend texted me to let me know before I even knew what was going on. Good thing I have 250 RSS articles to read in the morning to keep me caught up on world affairs.

I know there are different feeds (e.g. Top Stories, Sports) on a lot of sites, but I find these often limit what I see too much, and don’t surface stories that I would otherwise miss.

I appreciate the less cluttered RSS reading environment, but I’m switching over to Google News/Flipboard for the time being so I can see the “bigger” stories more prominently.

It’s 2022 and I still can’t find a one stop shop for reliable news. It’s either the overwhelming firehose of stripped articles in RSS, or the “hey look at me! look at me!” articles littered with ads in apps or sites.

Personally it gives me some comfort that RSS has no algorithm.

I don’t subscribe to news sites in RSS, usually just skim their front page in the morning for 5min.


Have a look at ‘big news’

Same thoughts as @ThatNerd: I take some of these issues as features rather than bugs!

OP, Sounds like you’re in the market for a curated news experience? There are services that surface articles on the basis of popularity, trading on the notion of the wisdom of the crowd, but none of them come to mind instantly (apologies).

I’m a Reeder user. I skim feeds, read some, push other interesting items to UpNext for deeper reading and/or highlighting. In Reeder, I’ll often swipe to web-view when I want a sense of the original page, so no worries about missing parts of an article for me.

Regarding “keeping up”— yes, the amount that any online news outlet produces often outstrips our capacity for taking it all in, and many of us would probably follow more than one outlet… at some point we have to make peace with the skim–»select–»focus workflow… (again, unless someone else is doing the curation for you…)

Don’t think high volume news sites are particularly suited for rss. Although with the right tools it’s possible to monitor these of course.

The fact that you’re missing parts from the content is because websites do want you to go to their website. That’s what the advertisers pay for. But for this too, the right tools – and these are usually not Mac or iPad apps – can be of help.

Next to that, +1 for @ThatNerd’s reply.

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I only use it for blogs or small speciality websites and I am happy with it for that (but increasingly find myself not reading as many of these type of sites). 9to5Mac is the only one that spams me with a ton of stuff I would never read, but it’s good for catching news on updates, events, etc. When I was still using Feedbin I really liked being able to follow Twitter accounts and YouTube feeds, but I decided that wasn’t worth paying for.

Some sort of rule system for order of preference or keywords would be nice. If the title has the word sponsor in it, mark it as read, that sort of thing.

That’s the rule I love the most in my rss aggregator (tt-rss).

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You may want to look at FieryFeeds. It has 5 different parsers that you can test on your feeds to see what gives the best results. I don’t read nyt but I get great graphics in my feeds. In regard to sharing actions, it is far superior to reeder and unread. I have tested every reader in the past 10 years and fieryfeeds is the only one that is as good as or better than mr.reader.

it also has a “hot articles” option that I think you are looking for but I do not use it.

Feedly’s “AI Research Assistant” (“Leo”) might help with that, but not in Reeder/Unread?

I have a Feedly Mute Filter for any post with the word “Sponsor” in the title…

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Definitely this for me.

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I use Smart Searches within the service to highlight the articles I’m likely to want to read.

Then I can skim the rest.

I tend to send anything longer form to pocket to read later. But in either case your RSS reader or Read-it-Later service should allow you to get the source page to see the original article unfettered.

This varies massively depending on the website. Some sites limit it to just the first paragraph, others strip out images, or add sponsors, but it’s entirely up to them what they do. Personally, I prefer to follow sites with a “full” RSS feed (which some sites offer as one of two), so I never have to leave my RSS reader to read the article—though of course, this may not always be possible.

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I use Reeder v4 on Mac. For each article that attracts my interest, I hit the “B” key to view it in Safari. I like to give them the page view. I get to see everything that the site owner wanted to present. It’s not difficult and it’s the least I can do in exchange for the info that I get from them.

I’ve been dealing with similar issues over the past few weeks. I’ve transitioned much of my newsreading to bookmarked tabs, like it was the 90s or something. I continue to use RSS for slower-moving websites, like MacSparky. I also subscribe to quite a few newsletters through RSS.

I use NetNewsWire and, for newsletters, the free kill-the-newsletter service.

This is interesting, I am not aware of such service.

this is why I enjoy so much being part of this Forum. For most days, I learn a new thing a day. This post also reinvigorate me about using RSS feeds. Thank you @appleguy @rob and others

now that you have my interest on RSS feeds (again), I have one question - can you highlight or annotate and sync (to Obsidian or Readwise, etc.) directly on the RSS app (like Reeder). Or this have to be done from the original articles

Before I found Google Reeder and started using RSS I would check an English language news source in Europe most mornings for news about computer viruses. New viruses would normally “attack” as the sun came up and people logged in at work. This would occasionally give me a couple of hours to react to a new threat.

Now I subscribe to a couple of UK sites for an alternative to the cookie cutter news stories from US media, and occasionally for world news stories that don’t get reported right away.

Is there an RSS app with built-in highlighting yet? I’m getting comfortable with Upnext’s highlighting, but it’s a read-later app (with Readwise support) rather than an RSS reader…

So it’s skim/select (via RSS reader) —» focused reading and highlighting as required (via read-later app); in my case, Reeder —» Upnext…

(Note: I’m coming from the iOS side of things, so may be missing awareness of RSS readers with built-in highlighting on macOS…)

I use netnewswire which basically is where I started years ago. I don’t read high volume news sites via RSS just for tech related news and personal/industry blogs. I tend to just check these once a day when I give myself an hour to read, saved article, RSS, research etc.

I also use RSS in DevonThink to pick up certain niche work related feeds I don’t need to see daily but are probably good to check over once a week, I can easily keep any relevant ones for reference or further action Fridays is usually the day I allocate to spend on marketing, personal code jobs, reading these DT feeds and generally giving my business some TLC.

I just discovered one - Inoreader Mac, iPadOS and web app can do that, but only for Pro users. Details here

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