(read “RSS described in plain english” if you don’t know what RSS is or how it can provide you with an entirely new internet experience. i promise you, once you get into it you will ask yourself how you did without!)
i use RSS on a daily basis to monitor news-sources and weblogs. many sources i consider worth watching provide such RSS feeds meanwhile and the ones which don’t will follow a some point.
however there is one feed that i am really missing and to my knowledge there is currently no technical way to produce it:
a news-feed aggregating all replies to comments i have posted anywhere on the web.
a first rough specification:
- a form-field need to be added to weblogs’ and forums’ comments-forms into that i, the commenter, may paste my personal comments-aggregation-URL.
- the weblog software pings this URL anytime a reply is posted and transmits author, subject and excerpt. just the same way trackbacks work.
- the URL is the address of my personal comments-aggregation-script, which runs on my own webserver or is hosted by a third party or a friend. the script publishes these comments into my personal commentstrack-RSS-file, which i again consume with the feed reader of my choice.
as long as threaded RSS isn’t supported by specifications and feed readers i would suggest to merge comments-threads into one item, with the title of the original article being the item’s title and comments being displayed in “newest-first” order. anytime a new comment is posted the item would be updated (or, if already fallen off the XML-file, re-added to it from a database the script automatically administers) and thus appears as new in my reader, along with the relevant context.
in case i’m not the only one with these needs i am looking foreward to see e.g. moveabletype-plugins, wordpress- or phpbb-hacks as well as the main commentstrack-script being coded by someone – volunteers? ;-)