There are feeds like Hacker News, Engadget, The Register, which post dozens upon dozens of stories every single day. For these sites, 14 days’ worth of content could possibly fill a book, so the cut off is fairly acceptable.
And then there are feeds like Raymond Chen’s and Eric Lippert’s blogs, which get maybe 3-4 stories per month! I could read 2 months’ worth of stuff over a single lunch on these blogs.
With this in mind, if you have to have a limit on the amount of “unread” stuff for technical reasons, can it please be a certain number of posts rather than a certain number of days?
That’s the Google Reader model. Their max is 1,000 stories, and then they stop counting. I always thought it was hiding part of the story behind the “1,000+” number, so I went with an accurate count that would give you a pretty good idea of how much stuff is behind it.
If you don’t get to Hacker News for 2 weeks, but you see a 4,000-some number, then you know how spaced out those stories are.
That would be the ideal. The reality is that what you’re recommending is how it already works. NewsBlur trims feeds, deleting old stories past 500 back. And for feeds that have very few subscribers, even fewer stories are held. One of my big goals for next year (along with shipping Social, training on the iPhone, and search) is to have a proper archive that never ends and keep every story I fetch. It’s an enormous task and I’m not quite sure I’m up to it, but even 5,000 back would be better than the current 500. So we’ll see.
Samuel: your answer is wrong. It may be that there is an N-item limit, but Newsblur itself tells me I can’t mark stories older than 14 days as unread.
I can live with an N-item limit (especially if N>=500!), but 14 days is way to short.
I use RSS to keep up with sites that DON’T update very often. Some only update once every month or two. At times I am AFK for many weeks at a time. I depend on my RSS reader to keep track of what has happened while I’m away.
The 14-day limit is the one absolute show-stopper issue with Newsblur, and the reason I will probably end up using CommaFeed instead.