Starting Today, Full RSS Feeds

A little change of pace from the normal Sunday flashbacks for a small announcement.

Following last Saturday night's seminar in Seattle, I enjoyed a great after-hours discussion with a group of the site's readers about a wide range of topics. These sessions are always my favorite part of the seminars. Other than the big dance number at the end of each day's session, of course.

(Shhhh, don't give it away for the new folks.)

One of the topics that came up was partial vs full RSS feeds (I am currently set at partial) and we talked about the plusses and minuses therein. I remember that Eric, Ted and Duncan were particularly in favor of the full feeds. Pointed me to some good research, too. (We had some real web horsepower in this group. Aaron, from Google was there, too. That guy is scary smart.) Great conversation.

My position: Sure, as a reader I prefer full feeds. But as a publisher, well, if you can see the whole thing in your RSS reader, why visit the site? It'll kill my traffic. Which is essentially what feeds my kids.

Reader position: Trust us. We've seen your kids. They can miss a couple of meals. (No, kidding.) Their position was that it is the the right thing to do WRT readers, espcially people who aggregate blogs in feeders and then read them offline. Eric reads on the ferry into town, for instance. Besides, they said, you are more likely to turn up on the radar of the web's A-list influencers, which can potentially lead to good things. Robert Scoble doesn't do partial, they say.

So, readers win, conditionally at least. Given that traffic has been growing like crazy lately, now is as good a time as any to give it a try. I will give it two months and revisit it after looking at the numbers. If online traffic is down only moderately after that time, I'll stay with full feeds. But if traffic totally falls off a cliff, I will probably go back to partial feeds.

Let's see what happens.

If you are a feed-reader, let me know if this is really important to you. And if you are an RSS power user, I would love to know how you choose to make use of the new full feeds. I am sure many of the site's other readers would like to learn more about RSS'ing form the Teds and Duncans and Erics and Aarons and the like.

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