On the reported RSS issues

Since launch, there’ve been several reported issues with RSS, which I’ve scrambled to try to fix before they did too much damage. But, we keep getting new requests, because the theme apparently doesn’t do a very good job of keeping track of the links, so here’s what’s wrong presently and what I’m working on to fix it.

RSS logo

  • Individual author feeds polluted with whole-network posts – originally, we had installed a plugin that served the feed from /feed for the whole network, but it turns out that it was too greedy and it also grabbed every author’s /feed URL as well. Caching RSS feed sites like Feedburner and Feedly grabbed what was in those lists, and kept them. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about this but wait for those to expire.
  • As a side effect of this, the theme’s expectation that the front page blog list should be accessible at http://the-orbit.net/feed/, and WordPress treating that like its own blog, means that feed is empty. The whole-network feed is actually at http://the-orbit.net/network-feed/ and it serves content from every blog. I will set up an .htaccess rule to seamlessly redirect the top level feed to the network-feed URL.
  • Once I’ve done the above point, I can change the link in the header on the front page to /feed/, thus making it more apparent that that’s the RSS feed as the CSS that provides correct iconography only auto-senses that specific URL.
  • An SEO plugin was installed to help with Facebook linking not grabbing appropriate featured images. That plugin expects all the authors’ feeds to be at /feed too. Fixing the previous point will fix the front page.
  • Some browsers don’t even care about the auto-sense URLs, so putting a prominent RSS feed icon in the top bar of every blog would be preferable. I’ll be doing that as soon as possible, as soon as other fires are quenched.

If anything else comes up, feel free to leave a comment or contact us via the contact form here.
Photo by thewritingzone

On the reported RSS issues

4 thoughts on “On the reported RSS issues

  1. 1

    I noticed one of the RSS errors when I tried to add Greta Christina’s feed to Feedly, after following her here from FTB. I ended up just grabbing the whole site feed (/network-feed) that was linked from your front page instead, and now I’m discovering lots of other interesting authors to read! So an error that (partially) worked in your favor 🙂

    Do you happen to know of a plug-in that will make featured images show up in e-mails? I got my featured images to work on Facebook and in RSS, but people subscribing to my feed via e-mail still don’t see them. (I’m not terribly WordPress-savvy…)

  2. 2

    I noticed issues, but I just subscribed to the site level because so many writers here are amazing. That seems to be working for me so far, aside from clumping 20 posts to 2 hours ago. I figure there’s not much to do about that, just soldier on.

  3. 3

    Sorry Pax, not sure how WordPress Core does emailed posts, but I can tell you that every part of WordPress is overrideable by themes and plugins, so it SHOULD be possible to edit those emails to include the featured images. If it exists already, I can’t find it on the WordPress plugin store. But, it’s a good idea for me to dig deeper, huh?

    Nick: Yeah, RSS is kinda like that. Eventually all the issues will go away once they bubble down through the bottom of the feed’s cache on whatever service you’re using.

    So everyone knows, I’ve finished fixing (to the best of my ability, pending confirmation from all of you) every point except the last. I still need to get that RSS icon up in the top bar, but I was sidetracked by issues with screen readers over the last day or so and figured that should take priority. Will get that icon in place as soon as I can, I swear.

  4. 4

    “…every part of WordPress is overrideable by themes and plugins, so it SHOULD be possible to edit those emails to include the featured images.”

    True – I’m just hopeful I don’t have to dust off my PHP programming skills, since that’s the main reason I left Drupal for WordPress. 😛 Thanks though!

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