Reading The Guardian in full

I have long been an advocate of full RSS feeds for reasons outlined in this post.

I do, however, understand why most news outlets opt to keep partial feeds. News websites, unlike blogs, typically show you just the headlines and a short summary of each story on the front page — just like a partial RSS feed. Blogs, meanwhile, normally show the full post on the front page. They tend to have less content, so a full feed would be perfectly manageable.

So it is a surprise that The Guardian has announced that all of its RSS feeds will be full feeds from now on. According to the people at Google Reader, The Guardian is the first major newspaper in the world to do this, so hats off to them.

It’s great news for the end user. But I have to admit that I’m feeling quite queasy just thinking about the amount of bandwidth is going to go through from now on. It’s one thing for a little blog to publish full RSS feeds, but it’s quite another for a large media organisation to do it. It might tempt me to start subscribing to some of their blogs again though.


  1. The flip side of the bandwidth issue is the end user–I still have your F1 free feed on my reader, as it’s partial–for some sources I like a full feed, others partial.

    For example, DK’s feed I prefer full as I can skim the whole thing if it doesn’t interest me then keep going, but your is partial as if it’s a topic that interests me odds are I’ll want to come comment, so I might as well read the post here, the feed acts a s a ‘I’ve updated’ reminder.

    But I also have the Guardian feeds on my phone, where I’m paying for bandwidth. Hope they’re keeping partial feeds as an option, else I’ll have to take it off.

    Guess I’ll have to remember my password to go comment there now.

  2. Hmm, you make a good point about the advantages of partial feeds in some circumstances. At the end, it should be about giving the end user a choice. In which case I should probably look at offering a partial feed again…