Aggregator Gone Awry

Well, it’s not really that bad, but the praise I offered yesterday is a bit more tempered today; at least regarding the technology (not the concept of the meta-blog).

It started when I went online this morning and saw that there were seven posts on the aggregator list by one poster, which might be totally legitmate; he may have posted them one after another all around the same time with no one posting in between. So, no problem. Then I went back about an hour later and saw that all seven posts had been replaced with new posts — so things were working as they were supposed to, right?

But then I returned a minute ago, and lo and behold all of those new posts are gone and all seven of the posts I saw more than two hours earlier were back! That means that some participating blogs could be getting little or no representation while a couple lucky bloggers are featured there for many hours.

This is just a technical glitch and obviously not intentional. But if people keep coming to Living in China and keep seeing the same posts listed, traffic will drop. A key reason for logging on again and again is, after all, to see what’s new in the community’s many blogs.

So I recommend we work this out as soon as possible. What makes Living in China so exciting is its robust, constantly changing nature and instant access to all that is new out there. That’s its “unique value proposition,” as we PR people love to tell our clients. If it doesn’t stay vital, it will rapidly lose its lustre.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 6 Comments

Yes I know you are talking about me and yes I swept a batch out this morning.

November 29, 2003 @ 2:58 pm | Comment

Seriously Phil, it’s not just you. I saw it happen yesterday with another post that went thru the line, disappeared and 20 minutes later was back on top, where it stayed for way too long.

I don’t mean to be too critical. It’s just that this has so much potential, but if the same posts are there at 11 am and at 3:50 pm, why bother going there at all?

November 29, 2003 @ 3:13 pm | Comment

Sounds like you need some coding fixed. You can’t blame me for having a busy morning!!

What I would do is this..

visit each rss feed, parse it, take only the first row or maybe first two) of each array produced by the parser, do an array add, sort by date and time then throw write then fopen the html file.

The Programmers know what I mean.

November 29, 2003 @ 4:17 pm | Comment

We’re working on it…

November 29, 2003 @ 4:53 pm | Comment

I’ve taken Phil’s suggestion, and it should be working a little better now.

If anyone notices more problems, you can send email directly to me, or to the admin address: http://www.livinginchina.com/contact.html

November 29, 2003 @ 7:48 pm | Comment

That looks much better. By doing it that way you are carrying the latest posts from all blogs rather than the latest posts of a blog whihc just stuck five stories up (which I do quite often)

November 30, 2003 @ 9:31 am | Comment

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