La La La La, Linklog
For awhile now I’ve been making sure to link the RSS feeds of my archive on whatever read-it-later service I’m using at the time (I’ve bounced back and forth a lot between Instapaper and Pocket), so that people can follow along with things I’ve been reading. For a bit less time than that I’ve then been sending each read link to a Tumblr as a public linklog.
That last step is an annoyance, because it always felt like wasting resources when I only ever have a very limited resource budget in any given day. I could have automated it using something like IFTTT but I didn’t want to have to deal with reblogs, and Tumblr hasn’t yet made their “no reblogging” flag a blog-wide setting; you have to set it each time you post.
More than once it occured to me that most of this would be solved if any of the read-it-later services let you just make your archive public on the web. None of them seem to do this.
This week I played around a bit with Raindrop, which doesn’t have an archive function, per se, just a save-to-folder function, and their folders can be made public on the web and via RSS so I spent a day looking into this as an option. Instapaper has public folders but I’d never found an RSS feed for them until one of the people behind the service told me on Mastodon that public folders do, indeed, also have RSS feeds; they now are autodiscoverable by feed readers on folder pages.
I’d made a pros-and-cons list: Instapaper has public folders, sorted newest-to-oldest, with a RSS feed; but no public search. Raindrop has public folders, with an RSS feed, and public search; but their sorting is broken.
For now, I’ve decided to use a public Instapaper folder as my linklog (here’s the RSS). It’s taking awhile to move everything from my archive to the public folder, as I’ve something like 5,000 links and the app only lets me move them in batches of 100 at a time. I’m also going set up some IFTTT actions to copy anything I save to my Instapaper public folder to my Pocket and Raindrop accounts, just to create failsafe backups.
Meanwhile, I’m hoping to convince them to add a public-facing search to public folders; not full-text but limited to the basic title, description, and URL fields. If they added that, I’d probably restore my Premium account.
(Also, apologies to anyone previously subscribed to the RSS feed for my Instapaper archive, as that feed is getting repeatedly repopulated with older links as I migrate everything to the public folder.)
I’m a little bit going to miss having my linklog at its own domain, but unless I feel like self-hosting it and having it serve my Instapaper folder via frames, I’m going to have to let that go.
A final note: one thing this entire process has made me miss is the old Delicious social bookmarking site, which got passed around a few times and then bought and killed by Pinboard. Social bookmarking seems like an area that’s perfect for a federated solution, especially if the software gave people the ability to host a public linklog at a custom domain. Someone should get on that.
After all of the above, I late discovered that there’s one flaw. Linklogs, like most blogs, should be sorted in newest-first order. However, while links saved from Instapaper’s home list to its archive are sorted in a newest-saved-to-archive order, links saved to a folder are sorted in their initial newest-saved-to-home order. I’ve sent Instapaper a support request wondering about the rationale here, and I’m hoping it was an oversight that will be corrected.
I’ve already heard back, and they say there’s no rationale and it’s more likely just a bug. They asked for my opinion on what sorting order should be, and I did reiterate that (and I think this is true regardless of the linklog issue) links saved out of the home list should be sorted by newest-saved-to-archive/folder.