Why the VSL posts are now truncated in RSS readers.

 A few readers have asked me why the posts are suddenly truncated in their news feed apps. I thought I would explain. For years I've been writing this content. It takes time and effort. The end product is intellectual property. By putting the full post on the RSS feed it makes it super easy for unsavory and unethical people to automate the theft of the entire post, with images, automatically. These gutless slime then take the articles, wrap advertising around my content and present it as their own content on their websites. They use my site name and my name and content to drive eyeballs to their sites in order to generate advertising click throughs. If I truncate the articles you have to go through the "arduous" task of clicking through a link to read the FREE content. Sorry for the heavy lifting (sarcasm richly intended).

I don't mind writing the blog content for free but I sure have a big problem with people leveraging my work to sell stuff that makes them money when I go out of my way to keep advertising on the site to a minimum. And when we do advertise for something it is at least topical.

The web is a such a wonderful place for criminals but at least it's hard to get physically mugged online...

Click the link or just give up and read something over at someone else's site. I'm doing my part; it's the writing and photography. Ease of distribution isn't anything I necessarily signed up for. Just thought you'd like to know.


  1. well played young man. I can abide anything you do except going dark.

  2. No complaints from me so long as there is enough in the RSS to give a flavour of the post. I use an RSS reader to find posts and then add them to my reading list (in Safari on iPad) to read later.

  3. Way to go Tuck, with you all the way. Can't stand people that take what is not theirs.

  4. I can't blame you one bit. Meanwhile, once folks click through to your site, they may just take the opportunity to click around and check out your "back catalog."

  5. Publishing truncated content in one's RSS feed is just another way of saying one cares more about advertising dollars than readers. Unsubscribed and good luck.

  6. You have my full support, Kirk. :-)

  7. Hi James. You have me pegged just right. Thanks for your contribution. Good luck to you in your quest for free and easy stuff. I'm happy to have you unsubscribe, please don't read any more of my stuff.

  8. By the way James, our magnificent take of advertising dollars (Amazon Affiliate) equals a whopping $214.11 last month.

  9. I've really never understood how people like James can't understand that an attempt to minimize other people profiting from one's work isn't the same as pure greed about one's own profits. Theft is still theft (and I know people who would argue it isn't theft, but it is), and it still sucks.

  10. I completely agree with your actions, but the grumpy tone in your writing is most out of character.


  11. Wow, double wow.
    Wow for the fact that there actually are creatures that not only copy and use someone else's content as a click bait on their own site, but even automate the process. Talk about lowlives. Surely that can't be just a bunch of clueless, uneducated kids, right?

    Speaking of clueless, wow again for the comment of the James character. Doesn't sound like a troll, so looks like some people really don't get it, and/or expect everything to be spoon-fed to them for free.

    On the positive side, looks like the truncating of RSS feeds actually works. Even if it maybe doesn't stop all the copying and repurposing of the content, it does seem to work like a subtle yet effective filtering mechanism.

    Good to know. Thanks for the testimonial, James. ;)

  12. What do you suggest for those of us who are starting websites to protect our images from the thieves?

  13. Hi Kirk, no problem for me as I use the RSS feed but I prefer to read the content on the main site anyway.
    As a programmer I have to tell you that this change is going to be irrelevant for anybody trying to use your content: like a 15 minutes effort instead of 10. Probably they are already grabbing the content from this source and not from the RSS as there is actually not much difference.

    Like shooting jpeg vs RAW: when the tools and workflow are setup correctly you won't notice the "extra" effort.

    The big risk is too annoy your readers more than anybody else.

    Thanks for this blog anyway you choose to go.

  14. Don't feed the trolls Kirk. Reading Is Fundamental and it is obvious certain people lack that skill. I get your stuff in Feedly and I *always* click through so never even noticed the truncation. Thanks for what you do.

  15. It's a shame there is no sure-fire way to prevent such theft. The internet has brought out the underlying and thieving dark side lurking in a lot of people who have kept it hidden (like all cowards) or who feared getting caught.

    It's sort of like leaving something valuable on the seat of your car. You can lock the doors, activate the alarm, but if they want it, they'll just break the window, take it and run.

    I'm convinced that, like all crime, the only way to stem the tide is through some sort of legal prosecution, which in the case of the internet, will require an easy way to signal the theft and then back-track to identify the thief. How one would do that is beyond my capabilities, but just because the thieving is "easy," it is in my opinion no less prosecutable as a crime than the slime the breaks your car window.

  16. Hi Kirk - long time reader and first time poster. I fully accept your given rationale, but also think this may be counterproductive. I don't think truncated feeds pose a real challenge to software which can scrape whole websites with relative ease, while it does break the reader I use for offline feed reading. Good luck and hope it works, but bye (for now)!

  17. I have had a similar argument with some younger friends about music and movies. They pay for nothing and think somehow that they are putting one over big business. Do they even care about intellectual property or how artists get paid? No, they don't.


  18. Tim, I am sorry to have "broken" your reader. Come back when you get it repaired.

    Nicolas, you underestimate me. I'm nearly always grumpy about some stuff. Mainly people who think I should work harder to make free things easier for them...

  19. No problems here. I've been reading your posts in my RSS feed for a while and have been feeling guilty that I'm not actually clicking through to your blog. I'm happy to hop over here to read what you have to say so the truncated posts are a good push in the right direction.


  20. No problem, it is just nice to know why.


    ... this just in: I'm cool with that.

  22. Shoot, posted too quick. This happened:

    "I over extended my rss clicky finger. My lawyer will contact you"

    Ah, I jest... But alas, I shed a tear because of the two dozen feeds I read, I always had your posts to read in full when out of range of Wi-Fi or VZW coverage... The others were just partial teases... Never knew why that was, but things change and I'm sure I'll adapt. Glad you are taking care of you.

  23. I have strong doubts about the classic copyright concept in the 2015 world.
    Is this activity actually damaging anyone? I doubt.
    Is someone profiting from your work? Maybe.
    But think about this: you spend the weekend painting and fixing your house. The next day a guy comes by, takes a beautiful picture, sells it and makes money out of it profiting from you hard work.
    Where is the difference? There is skill involved both in taking the picture and in taking the content.
    But why the picture is not stealing? Nobody is actually "removing" something, they are just making a copy. If I add a "copyright notice" on my door should I be able to prosecute anyone taking pictures?
    Think about the "facts" and not about current "laws".

    Coming from the opensource software world I see a different mindset: I do my stuff because I love doing it and I am happy to share it. I do not care if it is free because there is no reason I should make someone pay for it. Not because there is no value in my work, but because I'm doing this for my enjoyment: if someone plays volleyball in the park and someone else enjoys to look at the show should he charge them? And if people "complaint" about the problems of my "free things" I'm happy, as much as possible, to solve their problems because this means that they care about my work. They are NOT greedy miser people whimpering for more.

    I do software for a living and I do software for fun and there is no confusion about when I should be paid or not.

    "Younger friends" understand the modern copyright world better then most persons because they are not burdened with obsolete "pre-digital" concepts.

  24. I would like to ask you to reconsider your position on this rather than simply saying "goodbye". I rely on my Rss reader for entertainment and information when I am on the move and often have no connectivity. It's not that I am too lazy to click through - it simply will not work in those circumstances. I have relied on your blog as a great source, and this takes it from me.

    The current truncation approach also makes it impossible to see enough to quickly assess which articles to download for offline Reading when I do have connectivity.

    Please reconsider. I can't lose VSL and Top Gear in one week!

  25. Lorenzo, you don't understand copyright. If you take a picture of my house and use it commercial you will be required to have me sign a property release and you will need to pay to use the image. A friend of mine makes good money licensing the use of his house to commercial production companies.

    You may think that the law is past tense but until it is off the books it's in force. The whole idea is to compensate artists for their work, are you against that? Or do you think if everything is free we'll all make enough money to survive.

    Again, you don't understand copyright law or the (necessary) reasons for its existence.


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