Newsfeed now largely unreadable with a green background

#1

The newsfeed at https://www.redstate.com/feed/ has somehow undergone a strange change that renders it pretty unreadable, per the screen shot below…
With the settings for the site set as follows:

…the actual stories end up looking like this, and are now almost unreadable. Previously, the news stories resolved as mostly just plain old text. Is this something that Newsblur can fix, or at least reinterpret the information coming from the RSS feed?

#2

Hmm, that’s a new one. It’s because they are explicitly painting it green and NewsBlur is pretty permissive when it comes to styling. So my recommendation is to email the publisher and just send them a screenshot. Also, it may be possible that they are doing it purposefully for the “Text” view, in which case they are trying to prevent you from enjoying that feature. They could disable it by emailing me (the API and FAQ reference this) but instead may have chosen to do it this way.

#3

Your excellent Newsblur code is used primarily to read text. If it is permissive regarding styling, I would suggest one of two approaches…

  1. Make the “Reading View: Text” option more restrictive to actually just show text, in a readable format stripped of styling. The “Text” setting (vs the “Original”, “Feed”, and “Story” settings) implies it anyway.
  2. Add a new Reading View setting that something like “Just Text” (or words to that effect), which aims to just show readable text only, stripped of formatting that might mess it up.

I would submit that Newsblur is probably primarily used by your user community to read…news…like the name implies. Which should mostly be text anyway.

I do note that most sites seem to put some ad right after the first paragraph, and then continue the story…but sometimes Newsblur only picks up the first paragraph, forcing a click on the article (which then brings up all the hellish ads on most sites). If there was any way a restrictive text setting could pull the whole article text, even with interfering elements, it would be highly appreciated.

I know every change to the user experience that improves the program also inevitably brings a slew of unwarranted complaints, so that is why I suggested a new text only setting, in case a subset of your user community is happy with the existing Text Reading View setting.

Thank you for continuing to make Newsblur a great RSS offering.

#4

I should add a point here…as time moves forward, RSS readers will be in a bit of a “war” with sites, Newsblur included. Sites may actively seek ways to have RSS feeds that still drive traffic to their sites, like this one that has tampered (deliberately or inadvertently) with it’s view…which kind of forces a click on the underlying news story.

You will probably need to tweak countermeasures to items like this to preserve site readability via Newsblur. Otherwise, it messes with Newsblur’s value add as a news aggregator, as all Newsblur will end up being able to do is show the headline of a news story, and not much more in a readable format. Maybe this is a warning shot of things to come.

#5

Hmm. This is weird. On the site redstate.com, this story comes up very nicely when viewed in Newsblur
https://www.redstate.com/streiff/2019/11/01/deadspin-writers-walk-company-management-refuses-let-inmates-run-asylum-anymore/

…but this one resolves with Newsblur’s Reading View: Text setting with the green-with-white-text background when viewed with Newsblur

I’m submitting this just in case it provides any answers to this issue. As you have already pointed out, it’s probably the site itself, and I’ll try to submit it to them as well

#6

I’ve noticed this in a couple of my feeds as well. This seems to be something to do with newsblur’s tags. I saw the following on a feed:

And upon inspecting the generated HTML, I see:

@samuelclay I would venture to guess that there is something on the original site that is interfering with the way that newsblur composes the tag portion of the header.

#7

Any chance of a work around on the newsblur side? An option to suppress tags per site if that is breaking things perhaps? Or some other fix?

#8

Ok, I made a manual change to strip tags with leaking and mal-formed CDATA in them. That should fix the feed, but not retroactively. So new stories should begin to work. Thanks for reporting this and lmk how it works.

#9

The problem is mostly fixed AFAICT, the stories are now readable. I still see one stray !<[CDATA in the story.

#10

The feed viewed by Newsblur seems to be back to normal now. Thank you for examining this and adjusting the code.

#11

Ok, I see a SMALL issue. It is not terrible, as the feed once expanded is very readable. However, when there is a summary of the feed, you can see the <!CDATA[[ just before the summary as shown in this screenshot.

That’s about it. The feed itself looks great once clicked on.