Why Filtering Slashdot’s RSS Feed Won’t Match Your Settings

As I wrote before its a pain trying to duplicate your Slashdot profile’s filters with their RSS feed. I studied it a little more today and figured out what’s going on. Some stories are considered mainpage ones that show on on the homepage and others are minor stories (ones that show up on the homepage but are only headlines only (depends on your Slashdot settings, but thats how it works if you aren’t logged in). The problem is mainpage stories are not always marked as such, although if you grab the main RSS feed you will get just those. In order to include the minor stories you have to pull all the feeds they have, but then they don’t have a way of telling which were mainpage or not, because they aren’t always marked. The other problem is that stories can be put under multiple categories, but when they get put into the RSS feed, you only get 1 category. Therefore you can’t filter things properly. Slashdot’s own system can do this fine, because it can see what other categories it was under and if it was a mainpage story or not.

I’ve also noticed they starting delaying their feeds by 30 or 45 minutes now and that they lowered it to 15 feeds instead of the 20 it used to be. I’ve also noticed the moderators/editors get confused on the Backslash section. Sometimes they misname it Slashback, other times they put that in the name of the story, but then put it in another section. So its really a pain to filter things with their RSS feeds. Even filtering based on subject and section won’t always guarantee filtering the items properly.

I emailed this finding to Commander Taco and got the following reply

That’s not a bad idea and we’ll look into it when we get a chance.

Meanwhile, you may want to become a subscriber. Subscribers get a
dynamic rss link on the homepage that emits only the stories they
have configured in their /my/homepage preferences. So they can
both exclude topics they don’t want, and include stories from the
topics they do want that otherwise would have been sectional-only.

So it looks like we’ll be able to match our user settings soon. 🙂


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