Notifying RSS Users of Changes

By Deane Barker on November 28, 2005

I’m going to kill the individual entry comment RSS feeds. They’re not getting used much, and they mean double the files when we rebuild. With 4,600 entries, this becomes a problem.

(Additionally, something has gone weird somewhere because the fourth most requested page on this site is the comments RSS for this entry on Windows AntiSpyware – a very non-descript post with just a few comments. This tells me that some process somewhere is pinging the crap out of this file for no good reason.)

Anyway, this brings up the question of how to notify people that I’m doing this. How do you notify RSS users? The solution is pretty simple I guess – I’m going to tack an entry to the top of this XML file that just explains that we’re not maintaining these feeds anymore, rebuild them all one last time, and then leave the files out there long enough for everyone to ping them again.

But when do you pull the files? When I delete these 4,600 XML files, do I redirect requests for them to another feed with a single entry that explains that they’re gone? Are there best practices for this?

Comments (2)

Sheldon Kotyk says:

I get annoyed when an RSS feed that I subscribe to all of a sudden breaks as my Sage extension just errors out with a XML is not well formed error.

I’d rather have a post notifying of the location of the new feed or alternate feed with a few days of time before the feed disappears.

Biscuit says:

I like the idea of redirecting them to a single feed with a single entry.. Also adding something along the lines of “If you want to stay current with comments you can subscribe to feed x”...

How long you maintain that single feed though? I have no idea...