RSS feed - full text or summary?

Reading through fLaMEd’s entry on the number of posts per feed , a follow-up question popped into my mind:

When adding a new feed to your feed reader, do you prefer seeing the full text for each post, or a summary? Are there any advantages to each?

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The RSS recommendations I’ve read around the web usually suggest adding the full text, and letting the reader decide whether or not to display it. Since RSS is meant to be user-serving, I think it makes sense, although I usually prefer to read only summaries or titles myself.

RSS is meant to be user-serving

Oh that’s a great way to frame the question!

I think my view on it changed over time. I used to read everything in the feed reader. Now I somehow prefer summaries and direct visits to pages. But it makes a lot of sense to let it be handled as an app setting instead of a feed setting.

As a reader and small web lover I love seeing full text, and then I can visit the site if I want to see the theme. But I also understand that feeds can be taken advantage of with scraping on other sites and if it’s a business I know visiting the site it more beneficial for hits. But yes I vote for full text RSS feeds :smiley:


It’s not a deal breaker for me either way, seeing how I usually click through to read on the original website either way. Reeder is great for that. But if the website doesn’t have a dark design or a dark mode, I usually go back to Reeder very quickly to instead read it there. So for that reason, I prefer the full text.

The full text version is superior. If I want to view the website, I’ll click on the link anyway, but not having a choice in the matter is the most irritating thing ever. I still have a couple of feeds that I need to remove from Thunderbird, because they only ever show a sentence or two. It completely defeats the purpose of having the feed on there and makes it utterly useless.

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aah really interesting thread, thanks everyone for your input; ive been doing summary-only this whole time with the thought that most people have their RSS feeds set up like me and would be overwhelmed by all the words at once… but it being user-serving is a very good way to look at it!! adding that to my to-do list…


I’m onboard with B

Give me the full post, I’ll click through when needed. A lot of times RSS allows me to get around annoying designs.


I agree with what seems to be the majority opinion – I prefer having the full text available in the feed. It’s not a deal-breaker, though. I do subscribe to some feeds that just have summaries, and click through to the site when I want to read the full post, no big deal. I always assumed that those people who only include summaries are doing it for analytics reasons – as in, it’s easier to figure out how many people have read your post if they all have to visit the webpage. Which is not a totally unreasonable desire, in my view :laughing: But yeah, from a pure “what is the most considerate thing for readers” standpoint, I feel like serving a full-text feed, and letting the readers decide how much they want to read, is the go.

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In the good old days, from the top of my head between circa 2005-2010, FeedBurner was really big among bloggers for this. It was a service that “hijacked” your RSS feed to, among other things, give you subscriber stats.

As blogging consolidated and RSS became less of a mainstream technology (if it ever got there, anyways) I think FB usage fell by the wayside as well. Google acquiring and essentially crippling it might have had something to do with that, too…

All of that to say, as a numbers geek, I would love to see RSS subscription stats like we had back in the day. I don’t give a squat about user tracking as such, but I really enjoy looking at aggregated stats. Strange that it isn’t built into something like WordPress already — but I’m guessing there must be a plugin for it. Otherwise, maybe it’s something I should look at… hmmm!

Well HECK, I was curious what my own RSS feeds look liked, since I never read my own feed, and didn’t realize mine show a summary by default instead of full text! I’ve just changed it :smiley:

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Mine does this too! I think it’s a Hugo default that I need to change.


Personally I’d prefer reading the full post on my feed reader. It’s a nice option. :smile: