RSS feed for replies?

Is there any way a forum user can get an RSS feed of replies to their posts?

The question is different from the one posed earlier - RSS feed or list of latest replies?

Like this? RSS feed for replies? (Make sure your browser will display XML or open the URL in something that handles RSS feeds)

It’s just the URL to this topic with “.rss” added to the end. Make sure a post ID isn’t also on the end. So it should look something like ...topic-title/12345.rss, not ...topic-title/12345/2.rss

From looking at other topics with more than one (zero before I post this) reply, it looks like the RSS channel description is the first post and the items are a subset of the replies in reverse order.

That is, the first item in the RSS is the latest reply, followed by 20-something previous replies.

Update: Actually now that I’ve posted this and looked more closely at the feed for this topic, I see the opening post is also an item in the feed if it happens to be within the 20-something latest posts.


“replies to their posts”

I mean, a feed of all replies to my posts - the equivalent of what is in a Notification pop-up (albeit without the clutter of gamification awards).

Whilst RSS feeds of private-inbox-type material are not commonplace, Reddit manages to achieve it by virtue of some unique, mystical, crypto-encoded ID in the URL - Log in

Ah I see, I think you’re saying you want a single feed containing (presumably some latest subset of) the replies to all topics you are currently watching.

Well, every reply, rather than a “subset”)… every new reply is the “latest” at some point. RSS’ reverse chronology handles that.

Reddit’s method for doing this is pretty cool.

The reason I mention using a subset is because there may be performance/storage concerns on the server with managing RSS feeds for each user, or even performance concerns for the users retrieving the feeds.

For example, I might set myself to watch every category, which with no limitation would lead to my user having an RSS feed containing every single post. For the server, this one RSS feed would either be cached and effectively double the text storage use or generated every time it’s requested and use a significant amount of CPU time.

Additionally, such an RSS would potentially be very large, taking some amount of time to download and then be a lot of XML for the client to process, possibly resulting in several minutes of downloading and processing before your RSS client can actually do something useful.

In a Discourse community with users very likely to embrace RSS, there might also be bandwidth concerns to consider.

In regards to your original question of whether it’s currently possible, I think the answer is no. As you’ve mentioned in relation to Reddit’s method, this will require a mechanism to both uniquely target the appropriate user while also avoiding leaking information about the topics a user is watching, which for this sort of thing is commonly done with a unique token generated for the RSS feed URL.

Because of this, if the work had already been done for such a mechanism, I would expect to see it used somewhere on my profile pages, such as with an RSS link on the Notifications page or a section in Preferences for creating RSS feeds.

In terms of getting this functionality added, the best thing to do will probably be to flesh out the details of how this would work for users, ideally with details of how it could work behind the scenes as well, and then either:

  • Update your original post in this topic with those details and then hope someone wants to take up the task of adding it to core or creating a plugin; or
  • Create a new topic in / update this topic and move to #marketplace if you are able and willing to fund it being added to core or a plugin being created

I suspect the authentication/access is a more troublesome issue than bandwidth and storage…

Discourse already stores reply info at the user level…

And even pledges to give live notifications as such.

It’s about outputting that in a different way.

This isn’t a big enough pain point for me to go through significant trouble.

It was just a question because I’m a) overwhelmed by information, b) trying to push everything into Inoreader (RSS reader and more) and c) a member of a couple of Discourse forums.

I’m more likely to do this workaround…

  • Enable Discourse reply notifications as email.
  • Set these emails to go to an inbox recognisable by Inoreader.
  • These items appear in Inoreader, ostensibly as though they were RSS items.
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Sounds like a pretty good intermediary and not something I’ve thought of.

I would love to hear how that works out after a week or two of use!