Scientopia Needs Your Help

Aug 06 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

Scientopia is an experimental project. As part of that, we are trying to get a better understanding of how our RSS feeds optimize for all of you, so we need your help.

Some blogs on the site are utilizing full feeds; some are getting partials; and some are getting full feeds but without paragraph breaks.

What would helpful to us is to learn more about how you are seeing these feeds. Specifically:

  1. What reader you're using
  2. What browser you're using
  3. What you see when you look at the feed. (i.e., full posts, full posts without paragraph breaks, or just teasers)

This can help us find out if there's a format issue that affects certain readers; it can help us figure out exactly what each blog does under certain conditions; and it can help us figure out a specific set of common features to look for that could cause (whatever) problems are cropping up.

Feel free to comment here (we get comments as email) or send email to me or Bob (keep in mind that screenshots are useful!)

37 responses so far

  • Gabriel says:

    1. google reader
    2. google chrome
    3. goo...sorry: i like to read full post, as everyone. i think.

  • I get a mixed bag. Some of the feeds are full posts (but none of the ones I'm subscribing to are lacking paragraph breaks), others are just teasers. I use FeedDemon.

  • Maitri says:

    Google Reader in Chrome and Firefox
    Just subscribed to Scientopia and the latest post in the feed is Friday Weird Science: HEY GUYS, Iā€™M SO DRUNK RIGHT NOW from July 30th.


  • Kausik Datta says:

    Google Reader. Feeds show up just fine, including images. At Nature Blogs, one had the option of subscribing to just the post or the post with comments. It would be nice to have that with Scientopia also.

  • Kausik Datta says:

    Oh, sorry, and browser - I use the latest iterations of Firefox and Chrome, but I guess with the Google Reader being in the cloud, the browser is largely irrelevant for me.

  • cephyn says:

    Latest version of firefox or chrome, and google reader. typically i see full posts, but no paragraph breaks.

  • Ryan says:

    1. Safari
    2. Google Reader

    3. I've noticed on some blogs it depends how you subscribe to the feed, i.e. which button you use (grab the feed, etc.) and what the feed's address ends up being. For example, on this blog:

    This gives you the full feed:

    While this gives you only headlines and an abstract/truncated article:

    Also, the feeds and site seem to play well with Instapaper, which is a big bonus. The pages are nicely designed too, i.e. they don't make my eyes bleed like, cough, some other networks pages do. Good job!

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by sci curious and AnaDinescu, ScientopiaBlogs. ScientopiaBlogs said: Scientopia Needs Your Help [...]

  • Bill says:

    FireFox 3.68
    Google Reader
    Teasers until I click the header, then full post loads.

  • Kristi says:

    I'm using Firefox 3.6.8 with Google reader. I'm not finding that the site-wide Scientopia feed is working properly, so I subscribed to several blogs individually. Your particular blog shows up in the reader totally normally (full posts), but some of the other blogs don't.

  • Arikia says:

    This isn't helping but YOUR BANNER IS SO FREAKING CUTE!!!!!!!!!
    That is all.

  • Matt Platte says:

    I originally used the feed link in Firefox's address bar but it stopped at ...DRUNK on July 30. Eventually I went to the actual website and clicked the RSS feed icon. I reckon it's the entire site's feed.

    I use Google Reader and I'm indifferent to teaser/full post: if it's successful at getting my attention, the additional click isn't a problem. (That's an oblique answer to your question.)

    I prefer the entire site feed - until it gets spammed by the over-prolific, don't-they-have-anything-else-to-do posters. Then I have to un-subscribe from the site feed and sign up with individual blogs. As you can imagine, that was an annoying and error-prone process at Sb. A list of the individual blags with checkboxes for RSS/ignore would be a big help but I don't know if that's feasible using today's technology.

  • Bob O'H says:

    Thank you, Arikia. The left side is much more cuter than reality. The right sight only slightly.

  • Jac says:

    Adobe 9.3; Mozilla Firefox.

    What I see depends on the route.
    Route: Twitter - headline tweet - full piece, great paragraph layout.
    Route: Bookmarks - Scientopia, clicking on 'This Scientific Life' - teaser, with continue option.

  • Peggy says:

    I suppose I'm a bit of an outlier because I don't use Google reader.

    1. NetNewsWire Lite

    2. Firefox 3.6.8

    3. I'm subscribed to the whole shebang RSS feed and I see full posts with images.

    Posts from most blogs have nice paragraph breaks but a few do not. Of the current posts in my feed, those from Thus Spake Zuska, Child's Play, Adventures in Ethics and Science, and Prof Like Substance all appear as one giant paragraph.

  • Dan says:

    1. Firefox default (Feedburner?)
    2. Firefox (latest Windows)
    3. Teasers/titles only

  • Jack says:

    1. Google Reader
    2. Firefox 3.6.8
    3. Some show up as properly formatted (such as this entry right here) and some show up as paragraphless huge blocks o text (such as if examples help).

    I have a slight preference for full post in my reader, but I do click through to read things that interest me if they've got teaser + link instead.

  • BME says:

    1. Google Reader
    2. Chrome
    3. I see only teaser posts. I'm not subscribed to the complete Scientopia field, but am subscribed to nearly all the individual blog feeds via the Scientopia 'Grab the Feed' button on the top of each individual blog.

  • Lucia Malla says:

    1. Google Reader
    2. Safari
    3. Everything is fine on my comp, showing pararaph breaks, etc.

  • daen says:

    1. Google Reader
    2. IE 8.0
    3. Full stories AFAICT.

  • Keely says:

    1. Google Reader
    2. Chrome
    3. I get full posts, but without paragraph breaks, which makes them fairly unreadable from within google reader. Drives me nuts.

  • Autistic Lurker says:

    firefox 3.6.6 (wondering why it's not updating itself but anyway...) including its rss parser, I don't use a dedicated reader.

    I see the full post.

  • 1.Google Reader on
    2.Google Chrome (ubuntu, lastest)
    3. some blogs are ok (markcc, yours, christina's LIS rants) most are with paragraph breaks and the [caption] tag from wp presented as plain text (zuska, drugmonkey, melodye, whizbang, palmd, isis ...) . Seeing all as full posts.

  • A Nony Mouse says:

    Google Reader in Firefox 3.6.8 on Win Vista.

    I subscribed to the aggregated feed on the Scientopia front page.

    Book of Trogool - so far, full post, no paragraph breaks.

    Drug Monkey - full post, pics show, pic captions show as HTML code within square brackets, no paragraph breaks.

    Christina's LIS Rant - full post, no paragraph breaks.

    This Scientific Life - full post, no paragraph breaks, embedded Stewart video shows, embedded Onion video does not show, pics show.

    Thus Spake Zuska - full post, no paragraph breaks.

    Whiz Bang - full post, pics show, no paragraph breaks.

    Childs Play - full post, no paragraph breaks, pics show, pic captions show as HTML code within square brackets.

    Ethics & Science - full post, no paragraph breaks.

    Urban Ethnographer - full post, no paragraph breaks, pic shows.

    So--In general, full posts, no paragraph breaks, all quotes show as separate, indented graphs, and wrapping, in general, sucks. Also, whenever a poster used pic captions, those showed right in the text.

  • John says:

    1. I use FeedDemon, which syncs with a Google Reader subscription list.

    2. Mostly Pale Moon 3.6.3 (a Firefox mashup), but sometimes Google Chrome or Firefox 4b2.

    3. Full posts, with paragraphs.

  • Dan says:

    1. google reader
    2. chrome at home, explorer from work
    3. I see the full posts with paragraph breaks in both chrome and explorer.

  • Tom says:

    1. Akgregator at home
    Google Reader mobile

    2. Google Chrome at home
    Safari mobile

    3. Full posts on Akgregator with no paragraph breaks Quotes are indented and preceded and followed by line breaks

  • Connie says:

    Not using a reader, reading via Chrome at the moment.

    Firefox otherwise.

    Just started visiting from Science Blogs.

    If I could suggest one thing, please, please find a way to incorporate a "Last 24 Hours" button similar to the one at Science Blogs. I loved the ability to sit down, hit a button and get a quick look at what's going on. It was my favorite feature and the one thing that differentiated Science Blogs from your current siteas well as nearly all other blogging sites.


  • Cathy says:

    The RSS links for the combined feed on the home page are all screwed up. I emailed Mark about this from the Contact Us page earlier in the week.

    The HTML for the home page has link tags for these dead feeds:
    title="Scientopia » Feed" href=""
    title="Scientopia » Comments Feed" href=""

    The link tags in the HTML header are what show up on the RSS icon in the address bar, so having the wrong links means that most people who are trained to use their browser's features to identify feeds and subscribe are getting this old feed that stops at July 30.

    The correct feed is available under a Grab the Feed button that has a funny red version of the RSS icon. Guys - it's hard enough to get standards on the web, inventing your own icons and ways to do things that are already standardized is very poor form.

    As for the feed content, as others have said, the combined feed has no paragraph breaks when viewed in Firefox with Google Reader.

  • akela51 says:

    1. currently Brief plugin for
    2. Firefox 3.6.8
    3. The text up to the fold, images etc. No banner, sidebars etc.

  • Fia says:

    1) NetNewsWire (for Mac)
    2) Camino
    3) used to see only the first paragraph in reader (I hate that), seems to be better now.

  • horton hears a who says:


    Google Reader

    Used the button, which gives full feeds, but no paragraph breaks.

    Let the haters hate, it works well enough. No reason not to make it better though.

  • grrlscientist says:

    thanks everyone for your comments. i have been sharing these comments with mark on a special board he set up for us to post our "shopping list" (i also understand that he pops in here to read this comment thread as well). at the end of this week, i'll summarize what's been fixed and ask you to check to be sure these fixes work in all your readers and browsers, etc.

    and then at that time, we can work on another set of requests for ponies! šŸ™‚

  • InfiniteLoop says:

    1. Google reader
    2. Google Chrome
    3. Full posts with no paragraph breaks (it's a bit annoying)

  • stephanie says:

    Google Reader
    Firefox or Safari
    Full posts with paragraph breaks - everything appears formatted correctly


  • HennaHonu says:

    Google Reader
    Firefox version 3.6.8
    full posts (normal breaks and images, unless blogger puts in a jump)

    ... no problems here =]

  • Kamel says:

    I realize that this thread is pretty old, and that this has nothing to do with RSS, but this is the closest I could find to a 'suggestion box'.

    I tend to not use RSS feeds, but I would love to see a feature akin to Scienceblogs Last 24hrs page (basically a chronological RSS on the site). I find it frustrating to visit and have to dig through several posts I've already read on the front page to find new stuff.