For the past few releases, we've had work items in the RSS Bandit roadmap around helping users deal with information overload. We've added features like newspaper views and search folders to make it easier for users to manage the information in feeds they consume. Every release I tried to make sure we add a feature that I know will make it easier for me to get the information I want from the feeds I am subscribed to without being overwhelmed.

For the Jubilee release I had planned that the new feature we'd add in the "dealing with information overload" bucket would be the ability to rate posts and enable filtering based on this rating. After thinking about this for a few weeks, I'm not sure this is the right route any more. There are tough technical problems to surmount to make the feature work well but I think the bigger problems are the expected changes to user behavior. Based on my experiences with rating systems and communities, I suspect that a large percentage of our user base will not be motivated to start rating the feeds they are subscribed to or the new items that show up in their aggregator.

On a related note, I've recently been using meme trackers like Memeorandum and TailRank which try to show the interesting topics among certain technology blogs. I think this is very powerful concept and is the next natural evolution of information aggregators such as RSS Bandit. The big problem with these sites is that they only show the current topics of interest among a small sliver of blogs which in many cases do not overlap with the blogs one might be interested in. For example, today's headline topic on Tech.Memeorandum is that a bunch of bloggers attended a house party which I personally am not particularly interested in. On the other hand, I'd find it useful if another way I could view my subscriptions in RSS Bandit pivoted around the current hot topics amongst the blogs I read. This isn't meant to replace the existing interface but instead would be another tool for users to customize their feed reading experience the same way that newspaper views and search folders do today. 

If you are an RSS Bandit user and this sounds like a useful feature I'd like to hear your thoughts on what functionality you'd like to see here. A couple of opening questions that I'd like to get opinions on include

  • Would you like to see the most popular links in new posts? For an example of what this looks like, see the screenshot in Nick Lothian's post on  Personalized meme tracking
  • How would you like to classify new posts; unread posts or items posted within the last day? The reason I ask this is that you may already have read a few posts that linked to a very popular topic, in which case should it be ranked higher than another link for which you haven't read any of the related posts but hasn't been linked to as much?
  • Would you like a 'mark discussion as read' feature? Would it be nice to be able to mark all posts that link to a particular item as read?

I have a bunch of other questions but these should do for now.


Categories: RSS Bandit
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"Personalized meme tracking" (Vasanth Dharmaraj's Blogs) [Trackback]
"Discounted online pharmacy" (Discounted online pharmacy) [Trackback]
"Jubilee Thoughts: Personalized Meme Tracking" (Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life) [Trackback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback] [Pingback]