Marco Arment, responding to Jacqui Cheng’s absurd notion that RSS is “poisonous”, makes the statement:

You should be able to go on a disconnected vacation for three days, come back, and be able to skim most of your RSS-item titles reasonably without just giving up and marking all as read. You shouldn’t come back to hundreds or thousands of unread articles.

I’ve been out, away from my computer all day. It is Sunday on a U.S. holiday weekend and I last checked RSS over 10 hours ago, likely longer. I have 232 unread items. Any other day of the week and it would likely be well over 600. I subscribe to almost 600 feeds, some updated constantly, others not.

To claim that RSS is bad for you if you subscribe to too many feeds is absurd.

What’s bad for you is letting a tool like RSS overwhelm you, take over your life if you will. I have gone away for 3 days, as Marco suggests, and come back to thousands of RSS items, I read them all in time and it never bothered me.1

If it bothers you, then blaming the tool is not the solution to this problem.

A tool is a tool. Should I get mad at my car because there are thousands of miles of road I haven’t driven yet to drive? No.

If you don’t like RSS don’t use it. If you want to use it but don’t want to have thousands of items, then use it like Marco does.2 Or use it like I do and check the feeds more often.

But don’t blame RSS.3

The best advice I can give you if RSS is too much, but you don’t want to miss out on the latest: follow this Twitter account.


  1. As Marco suggests I don’t allow red badges. Reeder for Mac doesn’t do that, and in fact has a very nice subtle indicator in the Dock. 

  2. I have no problem with Marco’s method, or Cheng’s method. I just have a problem with blanket statements that blame a tool and not the user, when it is clearly a user issue. 

  3. I almost can’t believe I have to write this. 


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