The Aggregator Lag [en]

[fr] A cause de Google Reader qui m'a servie une version "non rectifiée" de ce billet de danah, j'ai failli contribuer à propager des informations fausses, et ça m'énerve. Ça m'énerve surtout quand (en l'occurence) la technologie vient nous mettre des bâtons dans les roues.

This bugs me. It bugs me because it’s a situation where the technology which is normally supposed to assist us in communicating actually gets in the way of good communication. It’s even worse, actually: here, a technological issue could invite us to spread false information.

(Of course, there is a human issue behind this, but it’s not what I want to address here. Humans can make mistakes, and as long as they are honestly made, I think we should just accept that they happen.)

I just read danah’s last post in Google Reader and headed to [the Facebook group]( she was pointing to so I could get a little more information on the current situation.

Post in Google Reader

There, I found a message which indicated that [FaceBook had never sent the ArabLGTB group]( the message they had received. It was, in fact, a fake.

"We have been fooled"

Well, I thought I’d better [comment about that on danah’s post](, so I headed over to her blog. There, to my surprise (happy surprise), I saw she had already updated her post.

Post on apophonia

The update just hadn’t made it to Google Reader.

So of course, there is nothing extraordinary going on here. This story is just another case of misinformation spread by good intentions (and I’m thinking mainly about all the people who blogged about this on their LiveJournals and will never know it was not true — or bother finding out). But I’m annoyed that I almost got caught in it too, and that I always forget that we can’t trust aggregators to serve us the latest version of a post.

Check, check, check. When in doubt, don’t blog. (That’s for me.)

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4 thoughts on “The Aggregator Lag [en]

  1. Google Reader is bad on this point.
    It “read” the post only one time and if the post is updated the old version is alway show in Google reader. Also if the publication date is updated Google Reader don’t update the post!
    The other big limitation of Google Reader is the absence of a ping system to tell it that a new post was published.

  2. Tanks Dan, I know this ping service from Google. It work only for Blog Search.
    Google Reader and Google Homepage (iGoogle) is updated by the Google Feedfetcher that is not relied to the Google ping service.
    Maybe Google will update the ping service for working with GR too.

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