Thursday, February 01, 2007

RSS Refreshes When Re-Posting?

Does anyone know why, when sometimes I edit a post or edit the title of the post, it refreshes the RSS feed?

It only happens some of the time and I can't figure out what triggers it. I think it must be vaguely annoying to folks using RSS feeders when a post re-appears (albeit in corrected form.)

This Post was written by David from


Mike said...

It's editing the header that makes the difference. If you edit the contents you don't get a new RSS output. If you touch the header, you do. Leastways under Blogger, but I expect other hosts do the same thing.

Matt said...

Hi David,

It looks like you're using Moveable Type, so this thread on the support forums may be relevant to you.

In short, it's basically the responsibility of the user to decide whether they want to be notified of updated posts, rather than just new posts. In bloglines (my feed reading site), I can set certain sites to only display new posts, if they are updated frequently I'm often not interested in being reminded everytime. Your rss feed should be a true reflection of the content of your blog, so when you make changes to the content, it *should* always be reflected in the feed, however it's up the the particular feed reader that someone is using as to what level of change constitutes notification.


McAuliflower said...

Editing the content will update the rss feed... echoing what matt says.

sure, it could seem annoying, but it also alerts us that you have updated the content, and that there is something new in there.

One way to deal with it would bee to add an explicit bit of text to the updated material. For example, the word "Update" preceding the changed text.

Annie said...

Re: The "sometimes" problem. Assuming you don't use a ping service or automatically ping the major feed services when you publish:

1) If you're editing the post soon after you just posted, it may not send a new feed because the feedreading bots haven't picked it up yet. Bloglines, for instance, looks for new feeds only twice an hour (or thereabouts). So you can get away with quick edits shortly after publishing (assuming you haven't pinged).

2) I'm not sure what Movable Type does, but in WordPress you can choose to send out only the last X number of post feeds, usually 10. So if someone new signs up for your feed they'll get 10 feeds. Likewise, if you've edited one of your last 10 posts, it too will show up again. So if you're editing very old posts (15 posts ago), a new feed won't show, but if you're editing a newer post it will show, depending on your settings.

Trig said...

Not being very helpful offering advice when I don't use the same platform, but it occurred to me that I could probably change my headline by disabling my xml feed in Blogger temporarily, publishing the change and then switching it on again.

One thing I've already discovered is that post pages always retain the original url even if you change a title, so to get a url change you have to copy the text into a new post with the new title and delete the old one. The advantage of the url being retained is that external links and indexing remain unbroken. The disadvantage of changing url is, of course, the opposite.

Alanna said...

As someone with 1000+ feeds in Bloglines, I promise you that even setting to 'ignore updated posts', you'll get duplicates, especially now with New Blogger working dynamically. I'm also learning I think that while we may speak of 'an RSS feed', there are actually several, Atom, AtomXML, RSS and I'm suspecting they work differently. If there's someone who REALLY knows RSS feed, it'd be great to do a post and teach us all. And I'm subscribed to one blog (D, yes, it's you, if you're reading!) with four feeds and NONE reach Bloglines and haven't since October, even though she's posting and, apparently, the feed works.

Liz D. said...

I confess I did not know any of this and didn't even think twice about it until this post.

I'm an editor- in life and in blogging- and go back countless times to change and prettify my entries. I cannot imagine how maddening this must have been for the small group of folks who check my blog semiregularly.

Yikes! Thanks Mike- only headings you say? Whew!

david said...

Yes, I am using MT. It mostly happens when I change the title of a post, but sometimes when I change content too, for some reason.

I use NewsFire for RSS and there's no way to adjust around updates.

I guess I just need to get it right the first time around! (like that's gonna happen...)

Mike said...

The advantage of a forum like this is that you live and learn. I've now discovered thanks to other commenters that it's not just the header. I also get some feed output sometimes by making significant changes to the body of messages, so I guess there is some sort of algorithm that determines whether or not to issue. So I've just started turning the feed off and back on again and so far no problems.

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