Something Like "Featured Updates" But Different

The "Featured Updates" feed is a pretty cool feature for WFG. Basically if you include your RSS feed in your entry and you get put on that list, when you update you show up on the feed. When I was publishing Pay Me, Bug!, I got visitors every time I updated from WFG specifically because of that feed.


Featured Updates does what it's supposed to do and I don't think it should be changed. But I wondered what it would look like if there was a page on the site that tracked EVERY update for EVERY listing on the site. This is NOT something that should go on the front page (the front page should be reserved for new, featured, and reviewed listings--any more than that and it would get too cluttered to read) but a dedicated page of its own... it would be interesting to be able to see how active the serial writing is, and see who is busy updating and who isn't. That list might encourage a little more exploration, because people would be able to see "oh, ok, this serial updated last week."


It might even be possible to get a little more complicated with it. What if there was a "recent updates" page that:


- listed every serial (that it can detect, I guess via the RSS feeds) that has updated, in order of update date, starting with the most recent.

- can track and display the dates of the last four or five updates

- gives the star rating (or no-rating) of serial

- lists how many reviews (or no reviews) of serial


So if someone sees a serial with four and half stars, 10 reviews, and notes that it's updated four or five times in the last two weeks, the reader might have some assurance that it's being actively maintained, and therefore worth the risk. Or they might want to try something new, and look specifically for serials with no reviews but have a track record of reliable updates.


Or it might reveal that there are only 8 or 9 stories that update with any regularity, and we'll all get depressed. But I don't know, I think it could be an interesting feature. The questions are "how difficult is it to implement," "how difficult would it be to maintain," and "does Chris even have time to consider it?" Which are all valid questions. I just thought it might a nifty new thing to think about, and it's potentially a new feature that doesn't require a lot of maintenance once it's up and running, which would fit in with Chris' stated desire to make the site a little less hands-on.


Yeah. It ultimately depends on where it would fall on the scale of 'potential interest/value' vs. 'difficulty to create/maintain'.


Can't speak toward the latter, but I suspect that Chris would have to vet every serial to go up on there, so I doubt it would be effortless or even easy.


The former? I'd be interested, but more as a curiosity than as a resource. I can't imagine checking it out more than once or twice. Especially if it was in an out of the way spot.


Speaking for myself, only guessing how others would take to it, I wouldn't see it as being necessarily worth it.



The bigger problem is that I'm not sure how much my host will let me tax their resources running server-side RSS reads. One of the reasons only higher-rated listings get feeds is to manage system resource use. So, I'll have to do some experimentation to see what I can do. Also, most feeds contain non-story entries, so unless there is a pattern I can capture in a regex, I just disable the feed entirely. So that's another potential problem.


As Chris points out, there is a problem for those of us who have stories which are only a part of our blog feeds. (Mine is two out of six postings a week.)


I would love it if there were some way for users here to know that my serial is active and current (and also when a particular story is done), but frankly right now I'm too busy to take advantage of what options already exist.


Camille


If you're using wordpress there are category feeds. Just set up a category for your story and boom there's a feed.


So my site's main feed (which I don't list anywhere) is http://firebird-fiction.com/feed (as you can see this includes both Dragon Wars and Haventon).


The Dragon Wars specific feed is http://firebird-fiction.com/category/dragon-wars/feed and the Haventon feed is http://firebird-fiction.com/category/haventon-chronicles/feed


I like it because it allows readers just to follow the story they want.


One caveat if you want to use category feeds with feedburner you need plugin to help.


Becka