Nuking old RSS feeds ... August 26, 2007 2:42 AM   Subscribe

I have a question/suggestion about the RSS feeds attached to each post. (If I have misunderstood something, and this turns out to be a 'Doh' question, then my apologies in advance ...) Closed threads still seem to have an RSS feed associated with them, including a 'Subscribe' link at the top. These feeds will of course never be updated, so will keeping these around be damaging to MetaFilter's standing in Google/Technorati/etc. rankings? After all, as time goes by, we'll end up with a gadzillion feeds that are never updated, and only a few (relatively) that are. I'm sure the Googlebot must be trained to give ranking 'demerits' to blogs, etc. with feeds that are never updated. Nuking the RSS feeds for closed threads would also make it easier for users. At present, we never really know when any given thread that we are following by RSS is 'finished' or not. But if we see in our reader 'Feed failed to load', that will let us know that it's officially done, and we can delete it. I guess you could easily create a daemon that would run daily, nuking the feeds for closed threads ...
posted by woodblock100 to Feature Requests at 2:42 AM (9 comments total)

Popular blog apps like Wordpress also have comments feeds which work in nearly the same way. If Google was going to penalize a site for having a large number of feeds that don't change I think the millions of Wordpress sites out there would equally suffer, so I don't see how we're in any particularly unique position here.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:03 AM on August 26, 2007

Surely, the utility to users of having threads available as RSS, for them to do whatever they want with them, is of greater importance than any concerns about our ranking on Technorati. Metafilter has a Pagerank of 7-ish, doesn't it? That's nothing to be sniffed at.
posted by Jimbob at 4:06 AM on August 26, 2007

I'm sure the Googlebot must be trained to give ranking 'demerits' to blogs, etc. with feeds that are never updated.

I doubt that very much. Content that isn't updated very frequently is still potentially valuable content. The IMDB page for Nancy's Birthright (1916) is very unlikely to ever change. But it's still the first Google result for a search for its title.
posted by Plutor at 5:23 AM on August 26, 2007

If you imagine that a year old question that is archived is still available on the server for people wanting to read it, then it doesn't matter if the text of the page is available in either HTML or RSS, and should have no bearing on any Google stuff.

It's just an old piece of data that someone, somewhere might find really useful and it's available in two forms. No big deal.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:21 AM on August 26, 2007

Google didn't even pay $5.
posted by scottreynen at 7:57 AM on August 26, 2007

Google didn't even pay $5.

It's true.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:30 AM on August 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

What set the train of thought in motion was reading some of the iTunes rules and regs about listing one's podcast in their directory. Although I can't find the actual reference now (of course!) I seem to remember reading something to the effect that 'Podcast RSS feeds that have not been updated at least once within the past 'x time span' will be removed from the iTunes directory'. But if there is indeed no such downside with Google's approach to RSS feeds that never change, then of course no problem ...
posted by woodblock100 at 8:47 AM on August 26, 2007

This thread is closed to new comments.
posted by klangklangston at 8:52 AM on August 26, 2007

Yeah, Apple's hand-picking and curating a directory (like the old Yahoo) so they're concerned about always updating stuff and don't want old dead stuff around.

Google doesn't care and in the parlance of our time, the long tail is perfect for old stuff that never updates but that someone might find useful someday in the future.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:55 AM on August 26, 2007

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