Jacob O'Bryant
Home · Archive · Twitter · GitHub · LinkedIn
A new take on RSS
10 December 2020

Findka now includes an RSS aggregator.

Example of subscribing to RSS feeds on Findka

If you subscribe to any feeds, then 50% of the articles in your regular Findka emails will be sampled from those feeds. I added this because, as I mentioned, I'm going to start doing more manual curation to make sure that Findka has a steady stream of new, great essays. I also think it's a valuable feature for anyone who wants a little more control over their Findka recommendations.

How's this different from existing RSS aggregators? For one thing, since this is built into Findka, any articles that you like will start to be recommended to other users, too. But there's more.

Most RSS aggregators keep your feeds separate. Findka instead merges them into a single feed using a bandit algorithm. If you've subscribed to three feeds—A, B and C—Findka will start out picking articles from the feeds uniformly. 1/3 of the articles will come from feed A, etc. As time goes on, Findka will adjust the distribution based on your usage data. If you never click on articles from feed A and you always click on articles from feed B, then Findka will show you fewer articles from A and more articles from B.

On top of that, the number of articles in your feed is controlled by you, not by the feeds you subscribe to.

Example of subscribing to RSS feeds on Findka

The result is that using RSS now takes extremely little effort. You get a single, small feed that improves itself automatically.

I'm planning to add more RSS-related features—stay tuned.