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RSS micro introdution

The purpose of this small post is just offer a very small outline for those who do not know RSS and are curious, to allow judging if it's an interesting topic to explore or not for them.

what is RSS for a user point of view?

A way to select as many "source of information" as the user want, fetching updates automatically from them and reading them in an easy manner in a single place.

Essentially you get an RSS reader or feed reader, you add feeds (RSS/Atom) of some websites, like a newspaper website, a YouTube channels, a Reddit sub, a GitHub project release page and so on. You get updates from all of them in your reader/client, normally presented as a list, a table you can scroll with just titles, a summary you can open/glance from the title, and the full content and no ads if the feed source is a polite netizen.

Depending on the reader/client you can tag any post, browse by tags thereafter, autotag with various algorithms, mostly keyword-based or regexp-based, filter new or merge new and old entries matching tags, filter out certain keywords and so on.

Essentially you can craft your personal "web aggregator" for anything you like, avoiding what you do not like, avoid third party filters for sources/topics aka aggregators censorship, keep what you want locally, see if it get edited on the remote site (like a published article, modified one or more time after you have read it the first time) easily enough.

the bad parts

Today big tech do not like people using feeds, they use them, but they do not want to show and tech all users about them because doing so means trashing their major propaganda, ads and so on, meaning their major source of revenues and all users keeping things locally are citizens who can resist history re-writing, who can spot trends in the mean and long term, spot links between peoples and projects and so on. Essentially feeds are a threat for surveillance capitalism and dictatorships in general.

As a result most feed readers are old projects or demand a certain effort to set them up while there is no technical reason but simple lack of development and care about end users and most feeds are scarce in content terms: most newspapers only publish a title and a short summary, forcing to open their site to read the full article, some try to inject ads in the summary and so on.

the good parts

Even with the bad parts cited above RSS is still highly valuable even in the actual shape, meaning you can get value form it, news, infos about project releases, vulnerabilities, podcasts updates and so on. So if you want to dig deeper just search, you'll find plenty of materials on the web but be prepared for an a little bit longer start before reaching a satisfactory state of thing.