I feel a little guilty about the vehemence with which I expressed my dissatisfaction over the recent changes to blogs.msdn.com’s RSS feed. I don’t pay for that service, so I really don’t have a right to bitch that loudly. Scoble says it’s a bandwidth issue; I can see how that would be a problem.
There are two problems here: one, the RSS distribution model doesn’t scale to Microsoft proportions. Two, the main feed on blogs.msdn.com is very large, exacerbating the problems inherent in RSS. The first problem is really tough; the second problem is easier to solve.
What about getting rid of the massive main feed? It’s big and only getting bigger. I doubt that there are many people out there who are interested in everything that comes across it. However, the main feed has a certain “all in one place” appeal to it that makes people willing to fast-forward through the stuff they perceive as noise to get to the stuff they care about.
I suggest replacing the main feed with several smaller feeds, organized by MS business unit. For example, put the DevDiv people on one feed, the Office folks on another, and the Windows people on a third. DPE people could have their own feed, too. That way, I could subscribe to just the portions of MS that I’m interested in.
In the worst case, people will subscribe to all of the feeds in which case they’re no better off than now. However, I don’t think a lot of people would actually do that. Most people probably are only really interested in a particular business unit inside of MS, and would only subscribe to that feed. This would reduce the bandwidth being consumed and increase the signal/noise ratio for everyone.
The current solution is a horizontal partitioning of the feed (more people, fewer words). I think a vertical partitioning (fewer people, more words) would be much better.
Update: I can't spell 'partitioning' to save my life.