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[wiki] Buddhist RSS Feeds: A way to get free of the social media bubble

Please contribute to this wiki article. Please discuss anything and everything related to RSS and feed readers in posts below.

RSS How to and Info

What is RSS?

In brief, RSS feeds are a way to get notified of new content on the web, but unlike social media platforms you only see exactly and everything you subscribe to. No filters, no ads, no spam.

More From wikipedia (click to read)

RSS (RDF ( Resource Description Framework) Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication) is a web feed that allows users and applications to access updates to websites in a standardized, computer-readable format. These feeds can, for example, allow a user to keep track of many different websites in a single news aggregator. The news aggregator will automatically check the RSS feed for new content, allowing the list to be automatically passed from website to website or from website to user. This passing of content is called web syndication. Websites usually use RSS feeds to publish frequently updated information, such as blog entries, news headlines, or episodes of audio and video series. RSS is also used to distribute podcasts. An RSS document (called “feed”, “web feed”, or “channel”) includes full or summarized text, and metadata, like publishing date and author’s name.

A standard XML ( Extensible Markup Language) file format ensures compatibility with many different machines/programs. RSS feeds also benefit users who want to receive timely updates from favourite websites or to aggregate data from many sites.

Subscribing to a website RSS removes the need for the user to manually check the website for new content. Instead, their browser constantly monitors the site and informs the user of any updates. The browser can also be commanded to automatically download the new data for the user.

RSS feed data is presented to users using software called a news aggregator. This aggregator can be built into a website, installed on a desktop computer, or installed on a mobile device. Users subscribe to feeds either by entering a feed’s URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) into the reader or by clicking on the browser’s feed icon. The RSS reader checks the user’s feeds regularly for new information and can automatically download it, if that function is enabled. The reader also provides a user interface.

RSS Software & alternatives

You’ll need some way to work with an RSS feed since they can’t be read by humans directly. This could be a stand alone app, a browser plugin, a web based service, or an automated email subscription. They all have advantages and disadvantages. On desktop, a browser plugin may be the easiest.

Standalone software

iMac and iOS

Android Apps

Browser plugins

RSS to email

Many services like this exist. You tell the the feed you want and they send you an email when something is published. Some are supported by ads.

RSS Feeds related to Buddhism

To get notified when new content is added to your favorite website, add their feed to your reader. Below are the RSS feeds for some popular Buddhist websites.

Note: Clicking on any of these links will give you strange results. They can only be used by putting them into an RSS reader. If you try to open them in your browser you may even get a security risk warning. Don’t worry. Using them in a feed reader app works just fine.

Early Buddhist Texts

Theravada

General Buddhism

Individual monastics

Tibetan Buddhism

Buddhism News

Podcasts

Youtube Channels

Every YouTube channel has an RSS feed. Here are some to get you started. Here is an article on how to find the feed.

Monasteries

Publishers

Academic

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I decided to start using RSS feeds about 6 months ago and I can’t imagine going back to using the web any other way. I recommend Feedbro. See the software section above.

I stared this wiki with the hope of sharing the sweet, peaceful goodness of RSS life with everyone here. RSS has been brought up on a recent thread, but no one had yet done anything to help others get started.

Please post any questions you have about RSS and how to get started.

Please be bold in adding things to and editing the wiki (the original post). Please don’t hesitate to self promote your own feeds.

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Typo here.
It should read “bhante”.
:anjal:

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A small technical note: there are actually three xml standards known as “RSS”: RSS 1, 2 and “atom”.

@Snowbird - Thanks so much for starting this thread! I was actually just thinking about making a similar post, as I’m also going all-in on RSS. I plan to implement more robust RSS feeds over at OBU soon and was wondering which standard I should use. Any thoughts? :pray:

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Honestly I don’t think it matters, does it? I can’t imagine that any modern reader app cant use all of them. Fine thing to discuss. But for regular users I doubt that it matters.

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Perhaps @Subharo has some advice? :pray:

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Ah! It’s a wiki! Please just click edit and make the change.
Folks should be bold in making changes.

Just look for this button at the bottom of the original post. There may be some Discourse “trust level” that allows you to edit, but I’m sure you have it. If someone can’t edit for some reason then of course it’s fine to post.

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Since you use Jekyll, it has built-in RSS, and I would just trust that it’s an RSS-compliant-enough standard. If one gets too fussy over super perfect RSS formatting, that would be crazy-making.

Note: my own Jekyll site’s similar RSS feed renders nicely in Thunderbird, where I do my RSS reading. Since Thunderbird likes the RSS format, then I’m happy enough.

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I’m using the standard rss plugin (which I believe uses atom) for my blog updates, but I’m planning to write a custom Jekyll plugin to give people the option of getting notified for every new piece of content I add to the library. I had floated the idea before but had punted on it since the community reaction was so luke-warm… but I think it’s the right thing to do so I’m now reconsidering.

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Please everyone, feel empowered to make changes to the wiki when you are able.

It seems that the heading links in Discourse get a new link every time someone adds a new header. That’s kind of crap.

That explains why I haven’t seen anything from them in some time.

This is indeed the Achilles heel of the whole rss system. I would bet that most website owners don’t even know that their site has an rss feed. So when big (or even small) changes happen to the build of the website (as in the case of Buddhistdoor) the feed breaks.

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That could also be a strength… Several news websites I follow have a paywall or annoying popup ads on their website, but happily give you ad-free access to their articles via RSS. :smiling_imp:

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That’s true. Over time one gets a sense of what one had better not change on one’s own site, to preserve RSS remaining a consistent experience for the end users. For example, when I make a posting of a new Dhamma Talk, whatever I decide to entitle it, I never change that title in the future. But some typos found down in the content? Sure, I’ll update those, even months later.

There seem to be lots of academic journals that have active feeds:

(all these are added to the list above)

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Added DharmaSeed to “Podcasts”. I note that DharmaSeed also allows you to subscribe to individual teachers as well. For example, you can subscribe to Ayya @Santussika Bhikkhuni’s dhamma talks at https://dharmaseed.org/feeds/teacher/553/?max-entries=all.
This is the kind of “advanced” RSS features I’d love to see more sites supporting!

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It’s not so uncommon on larger sites, especially WordPress based sites. For example on a Wordpress site you can subscribe to

  • comments on an individual post
  • individual categories
  • individual tags

Same thing is true in Discourse. What is really needed is a better user interface so people are aware of the individual feeds.

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Same here. :slightly_smiling_face:

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This isn’t exactly true. There are lots of web based readers that would be the best option for many people, especially monastics.

Does anyone have experience with any of them?

Also, I was thinking about having a small section for popular non-Buddhist feeds since I think that one way to switch over to the RSS lifestyle is to really go all in. Thoughts?

We also need a section on converting YouTube channels and Facebook groups to RSS feeds. I know some folks are passionately opposed to all those platforms, but using them in an RSS reader is actually one way to break people’s dependence on them as a social media lifestyle.

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I’ve tried an RSS->email service and it worked but was full of ads.

Up to you. Personally, I only subscribe to Vox.com and the Bangkok Post these days… everything else was too noisy. … Which is, of course, exactly what the ranked newsfeed was meant to solve :sweat_smile:

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Right, I forgot about that method, even though I use it!! What service did you try. I use blogtrottr.com. I think my ad blockers are preventing me from seeing the ads. In all fairness, services like this need to have a business model. Sending emails isn’t free.

I mean, that’s the thing about the technology. If you don’t use a mediator like FB, then you have to take responsibility for what you subscribe to. But everything has a filter of some kind. I subscribe to longreads.org and tend to find out about interesting things being published. But what’s the filter being used by them? No perfect solution. But subscribing to feeds does have the big advantage of being able to follow more obscure, very low traffic places and make sure that when they do produce something you find out about it.

But yeah, if you follow the NYT feed, that would be a full time job. Fortunately sites like that often have many different smaller feeds.

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Indeed it is. I’ve heard it called “wire tasting” :electric_plug::yum: Newspapers hire teams of editors to keep up with incoming news from e.g. Reuters and decide which stories to publish.

Do you know of a feed reader with good filtering abilities? Like… only show me posts with x keyword?

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