Thinking about syndication feeds and spoilers

January 31, 2010

DWiki has always had the ability to do the common blog thing of 'click here to see the rest of the entry'; when I put it in, I expected to use it for things like the detailed stats at the end of this entry. Because I am crazy that way, I built the feature so that it could apply on the main page (pages, really), in syndication feed entries, or both, depending on what options I turned on in any particular entry.

In practice, it turned out that I really don't like using cuts in syndication feed entries, for at least two reasons. First, syndication feed readers already have good ways to skip parts of entries and even whole entries (or at least they should), which makes cutting for volume mostly unnecessary. Second, partial entries are in annoying in general because they effectively force you out of your syndication feed reader and into your browser in order to read the full entry.

(In fact it turns out that I don't like cuts very much in general, so I barely use them even on the main pages.)

However, this does leave one case unhandled: spoilers. Places like the anime blogging community have come up with decent Javascript-based solutions for people who are reading your main site, but this is a complete non-starter in syndication feeds. In fact you can't even count on the old 'set the colour of the text to the background colour' trick, as modern syndication feed readers can strip styling as well.

My reluctant conclusion is that handling spoilers may well call for using a cut even in syndication feeds, with the annoyance of having to click off to read the entry being the lesser of two evils. The other approach is just to note that there will be spoilers at the start of an entry and count on people to use their feed reader's 'skip to next entry' feature.

(Spoilers are not generally relevant to WanderingThoughts, but they sometimes come up for me elsewhere.)

Written on 31 January 2010.
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Last modified: Sun Jan 31 01:39:52 2010
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