Bloglines + AskMe = feed error May 18, 2006 5:06 PM   Subscribe

Is anyone else having an AskMe feed error in bloglines?
posted by Tuwa to Bugs at 5:06 PM (24 comments total)

I've been getting one for the last couple of days. Bloglines suggests it might be an incorrect URL or a server configuration problem. The URL I'm using is , which is suggested at AskMe.

The same feed works still in Thunderbird, so I'm not sure what's gone wrong with it.
posted by Tuwa at 5:07 PM on May 18, 2006

I've pretty much resigned myself to AskMeFi errors in Bloglines.
posted by Dean King at 5:46 PM on May 18, 2006

Erm. Wow. Okay, then.
posted by Tuwa at 5:51 PM on May 18, 2006

It worked flawlessly for several months, then in the past month or so there have been errors every day (at least it seems). I'd really like to see this fixed!
posted by achmorrison at 6:32 PM on May 18, 2006

Yep, nothing for hours or sometimes days at a time, then all of a sudden, a deluge. It's like it needs a bran muffin.

This has been happening intermittently for a couple of months now. Thanks for bringing it up again.
posted by Gamblor at 7:18 PM on May 18, 2006

Looks fine to me. Always check the validator first.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:27 PM on May 18, 2006

And yet the little red exclamation point of sadness remains. :(

I realize that this MAY be on bloglines end. But, I've contacted them a few times and they seem to think it is not...
posted by achmorrison at 7:37 PM on May 18, 2006

If there are no errors according to the feed validator, I don't understand how this is anyone's problem except bloglines'
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:20 PM on May 18, 2006

Yeah, I bet Bloglines loses sleep nightly over it.

Or maybe it's also Tuwa's, Dean King's, achmorrison's, Gamblor's, blag's, dhartung's, bigmusic's, rajbot's, sfender's, mine, and 1,077 of our closest friends' problem. Yes, it's bloody inconvenient to diagnose, but we're not the ones in a position to do so.
posted by mendel at 9:27 PM on May 18, 2006

I've set up another feed on bloglines which pulls the results from a mirror on my website (which doesn't cache anything -- it's just a shell script that runs "curl -i $url | tail +1"). We'll see if it fails along with the official one.
posted by mendel at 9:40 PM on May 18, 2006

the most likely culprit would seem to be a character encoding issue that only shows up for certain articles. something like this thread with its "รค" could easily be wrong, especially since the encoding for the feed is not identified as an HTTP header or in the xml prolog. (this means readers should expect utf-8, but who knows what bloglines does.)
posted by jimw at 10:22 PM on May 18, 2006

mendel, what I meant was I'm doing everything right if the feedvalidator is reporting zero errors. The validator is insanely detailed and it takes some effort to prevent errors.

Getting through that without any errors means something is up with bloglines' parser, and it does suck that 1100 subscribers are left in the cold.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:49 PM on May 18, 2006

Boooo bloglines! I like the bran muffin analogy - I have stopped relying on Bloglines to provide me my AskMe feed. I just visit the site now, because otherwise I'll get inundated with 250 questions one day.
posted by antifuse at 12:54 AM on May 19, 2006

I've also given up on AskMe via Bloglines. Way too unreliable. The weird thing is that it works fine for every other feed I subscribe to, including MeFi and MeTa.

It's almost as if the AskMe feed breaks down every couple of days (malformed? encoding? blank feed?) and, instead of ignoring the problem / trying again later, Bloglines stops checking the feed until someone manually restarts it.
posted by blag at 3:30 AM on May 19, 2006

There are some major complaints about Bloglines. Apparently it has barely been updated since Ask Jeeves bought it last February.
posted by cillit bang at 5:08 AM on May 19, 2006

I had 0 bloglines problems with AskMe until a couple of weeks ago when I reorganized my feeds. I added a Mefi folder and regrabbed the three RSS feeds. Now I get MetaTalk fine, AskMe shows up about once a day in bulk and the main MetaFilter feed doesn't ever show.
posted by yerfatma at 6:05 AM on May 19, 2006

mathowie: I don't think it's a case of not validating, since the same data shows up later. I think it's either a networking issue, or Bloglines isn't getting any data at all when it tries. But one side effect of this pass-through thing is that it'll log errors I get from you while trying to give bloglines the data, so if it breaks I should be able to see what happens.

(If it doesn't break I guess I'll just keep it up :-)

yerfatma: What's the feed URL of the Metafilter feed you're reading there, in the "edit subscription" box? I never have issues with the blue.
posted by mendel at 8:26 AM on May 19, 2006

Ask often has problems until NetVibes, too.
posted by unixrat at 9:37 AM on May 19, 2006

I'm read the AskMe feed with thunderbird (1.0.7).

When it tries to find new links automatically it sometimes fails even though there are new threads. This behavior has correlated, at least slightly, with AskMe/bloglines complaints in the past. Also, I have never seen the problem with the craigslist or redflagdeals feeds I read. Maybe there is some kind of network issue? (I know nothing technical about RSS, at all!)

I don't read MetaFilter or MetaTalk through RSS, so I can't compare them.
posted by Chuckles at 11:11 AM on May 19, 2006

I'm using the Atom Feed and the doubly weird thing is when I went in to the folder for my MetaFilter feeds, there was nothing, but when I said "In the last hour", the two most recent MetaFilter posts showed. Seems like bloglines fault. I suppose I could switch away from the Atom feed.
posted by yerfatma at 12:40 PM on May 19, 2006

I don't know if the cause of it is character encoding, as mentioned above, but I can't help thinking that the "preview" button does things backwards. Previewing a post converts " into " and, say, á into á, which might be misunderstood by some browsers. I'm not sure if the characters stay that way when submitted to post, though the source of the thread jimw links above seems to show that they do.

I don't know how hard it would be to get live preview to display special characters, but to have posting convert them to the HTML or Unicode equivalents to help ensure greater compatibility (for instance, in other clients and feed readers).

And, again, maybe this has nothing to do with trouble with validating, but I notice that Wikipedia lists one option on encountering an invalid character is simply to stop reading the document and report an error.
posted by Tuwa at 2:57 PM on May 19, 2006

The error message is back.
posted by Tuwa at 1:20 PM on May 20, 2006

And my mirrored feed failed too. What's strange is that if I set up *another* mirrored feed and ask Bloglines to preview it, it does so successfully. Dumb thing.
posted by mendel at 5:02 PM on May 20, 2006

Hrm, today the direct feed has been [!] all day, and my mirrored feed has kept working. The last post to show up in the direct feed was this one, and the one subsequent to it is this, which doesn't seem to have anything odd going on.

When it starts up again I'll try to see if any posts got omitted from the direct feed.
posted by mendel at 4:47 PM on May 22, 2006

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