Comment Counts in Feeds and Updated Entries

Tim Bray just posted an
entry
about including a comment count in his atom feed. He said that
he soon disabled it as people complained that it meant they saw the
entry again as an updated entry. As I’ve recently done the same for my
atom feed, I’m confused as to why this is happening. In my case I don’t
update either <published> or <updated>, just the
<content> element. As the guid never changes, readers shouldn’t
consider it updated. Do readers really take a hash of the contents and
consider it updated if it changes? Why do readers ignore the date
fields. Is this affecting anyone? Certainly, it doesn’t seem to affect
Planet or the few readers I’ve tried it on.

3 thoughts on “Comment Counts in Feeds and Updated Entries

  1. The usual reason for ignoring the dates is that software doesn’t manage to fill them in correctly in various random ways (incorrect system clocks if nothing else) so it can be easier to ignore them than try to interoperate.

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