I make active use of Discourse’s RSS feeds feature to read my own forums; indeed, I primarily view the Discourse forums I follow in that way. It took me a little while for me to fully wrap my mind around why I do that, and I wanted to write it down here.
In my favorite RSS reader (Feedly), I view the “latest posts” feed for my forums, e.g. https://meta.discourse.org/posts.rss
Here’s what that looks like in Feedly (click for the full-size version):
This is an extremely compact view of the entire forum. Unlike the “Unread” or “New” view on Discourse, it shows me everything, with a tiny snippet from each post, in chronological order.
It also allows me, as an admin/moderator, to get a quick sense of tone as I’m skimming. If one of those snippets starts with, “Hey, asshole…” I can immediately jump in and take a look.
I can straightforwardly skim over snippets for dozens and dozens of posts a day, getting a pretty good sense of what’s happening on the “entire forum” this way.
And that made me think: heyyyy maybe this should be a feature of Discourse itself? Maybe if it were, I wouldn’t feel a need to view my own forum in an RSS reader!
Relatedly: is there a plugin I could install (or ask other forums to install) that would do something like this? (I already have RSS, so I guess that’s fine…)
P.S. The other nifty thing about reading Discourse forums this way is that it’s really fast and easy to read multiple threads. The full contents of every new post appears in the RSS feed, so if I want to click on a snippet, Feedly will expand it right there, in place, without requiring an additional HTTP request to download the thread. It’s way faster than clicking on a Discourse thread, then clicking back, then clicking on another thread, and clicking back, because Discourse does (has to do) an HTTP request each time to load all recent posts in each thread.
P.P.S. Even better, I can read all new posts in Forum 1 and then continue reading all new posts in Forum 2. Feedly downloaded all of those feeds in the background in parallel, so all I have to do is load Feedly once, and then I never have to make an additional HTTP request; it’s all there, instantly. (And if I do want to see the entire thread in context, it’s only a click away.)