Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

WordPress, web development, and world domination. update

An update on the ongoing problem with updates is still reporting erroneous updates. Not as many as before, but still enough to be a problem. And I know why. As previously theorized, after Yahoo! took over the service, they began feeding it updates from their RSS sources. The problem is that there are many feeds for comments which (obviously) update more frequently than the main site content. Unfortunately, there’s probably not a foolproof way for Yahoo! to differentiate between a “content feed” and a “comment feed”.

I think that they could fix most of the problem programatically, though. It will require that they do some cross-checking, and store additional data about which feed for a site is the “main” one. They need to look at the <link> element for a feed and see where it points. Then check that URI, and see which feeds it lists. The first RSS/Atom feed listed should be considered authoritative for that site. It’s not a 100% guarantee, but I bet it would fix most of the problems, without too many bad side-effects.

I’ve sent this idea to my contact at Yahoo!, though I’m sure that they probably have already kicked plenty of ideas around, and are probably quietly working on their own solution. Hopefully we’ll continue to see improvements in the quality of the data as time goes on.

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
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