RSS Advisory Board

Weblog comments and news aggregators

Archivist's Note: This documentation applies to RSS 2.0.

By Dave Winer

Background

RSS 2.0 has a neat feature that allows an item to link to comments about that item.

Content tools and aggregators can support this feature, allowing people to comment on an item directly from the news aggregator window.

This document is a case study that shows how UserLand's weblog tool and aggregator both support comments. By illustrating this, I'm hoping that other tools and aggregators will also use this feature of RSS.

Walkthrough

Don Park is a friendly guy and I imagine he won't mind if I use his weblog as an example.

Look at his RSS feed, and look at any item, and you'll see a comments element. Its value is the URL of the comments page for the item. Radio UserLand knows that it should include the comments element because Don has comments turned on. If the feature was turned off, the weblog tool would not generate the comments element.

I subscribe to Don's feed. When I see one of his items, in the rightmost column, just below the POST icon is a picture of a pencil. When I click on the pencil, Radio opens a little window containing the comments for that item, and it's ready for me to enter my own comments. Here's a screen shot that shows what the aggregator window looks like.

Summary

If you make a weblog tool that supports comments, your RSS feed should also support comments.

If you make a news aggregator or reader, you should make it easy for your users to comment on feeds that support the RSS feature.

License

This document is authored by the RSS Advisory Board and is offered under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike license, based on an original document published by UserLand Software authored by Dave Winer.