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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I've been online since 1971 and I like to smoothe the way for everyone else. Among other things I co-founded Sympatico, the world's first easy-to-use Internet service (and Canada's largest).

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Blogging infrequently is a feature, not a bug, part 2

In my earlier post Blogging infrequently is a feature, not a bug I said that I’m more likely to read blogs that have fewer posts. Well, I learned today that my blog-reader, Google Reader, actually added support for this in mid-December! From Google Reader - Common Questions:

8. How does auto-sort work?

When viewing all items, you can click "View settings" to choose a sorting order. Auto-sort works by prioritizing subscriptions with fewer items. This means that your friend's blog with an item a month will not be drowned out by higher volume sites such as the New York Times because we'll raise it to the top.

Auto-sort is a great idea, but unfortunately doesn’t work for me because it doesn’t take into account how important I consider each blog. I subscribe to 258 blogs but only read the “high importance” ones religiously, reading the medium-importance ones when I have time and the low-importance ones only rarely. I could of course prune out the low-importance ones, as many people do, but as my interests shift the importance of a blog can change, and I don’t want to lose the information about which posts I’ve read.

Perhaps the Google Reader people could make auto-sort more sophisticated by letting the user define the priority algorithm. Suppose that I’ve defined the tags “high” (for high-importance blogs) and “medium” (for medium-importance blogs), in addition to the two built-in tags of Starred items and Shared items. I could then be given a page that looked like this:
_ points for: Infrequent
_ points for: Starred items
_ points for: Shared items
_ points for: high
_ points for: medium

and I could enter numbers like this:
5 points for: Infrequent
0 points for: Starred items
0 points for: Shared items
5 points for: high
3 points for: medium

Then with auto-sort the posts that had the most points would be shown at the top, with both infrequency and importance taken into account.


Blogger Ryan said...

Hey Rohan,

You can actually define the view type not just for the "all" section but for each tag/label and even each individual feed.

What I've done is make a "must-read" group and tag any blogs that I make a point of reading with it. This at least helps filter the cream of the crop out from all the others.

Friday, March 16, 2007 at 10:15:00 p.m. EDT  
Blogger Rohan Jayasekera said...

Ryan, I do the same with the blogs I've tagged high-importance: I read everything in them, so I don't need auto-sort there. But until I saw your comment I didn't know that I could apply auto-sort to my folder of medium-priority blogs (Google's help page doesn't mention that). I've done that now and it's very helpful. Thanks!

Sunday, March 18, 2007 at 1:01:00 p.m. EDT  

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