17 Comments


  1. Hmmm, my personal blog (rvoodoo.com) does that. Well, not in the RSS feed, but on the site. I only implemented it like that on the one site, the others use a text/icon link. I set it up like that without really thinking, pretty much back when the formats were in Beta. I hadn’t really even thought about it. But I can see the point here…. Luckily, I was just starting on a new theme for my blog, I’ll be switching up how I handle links.

  2. Daniel

    It’s really OK if you clearly emphasize it’s an external link, and by this I mean placing an icon beside the title that suggests it’s an external link and that the presented content is just an excerpt from the actual article. See how WPCandy does it for an example.


  3. RSS, rightly or wrongly, is being removed by a greater number of blogs and websites, who have found it’s use dropping at a scary rate in the past 18 months. Thanks to Twitter (140 chars including link) and Facebook (500 chars max including link, but only 140 chars shown), people are no longer interested in consuming information in the way we did 5 years ago or actually 12 years ago with RSS was defined.

    This approach violates all the experience we have become familiar with in blogs and especially RSS feeds

    Can’t the same be said for Twitter? the iPhone? Just because something is familiar, doesn’t in any way make it the correct or modern way to do things.

    themers PLEASE do not implement themes that break the standard UX for blog

    There isn’t any Standards. There are no hard and fast rules.
    UX is about user experience, and that’s ever evolving.
    What users “expect” from today’s blogs is massively different from 5 years ago. Massively.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love my RSS reader, but like any technology, it’s only useful when a certain percentage of people use it. That’s no longer the case. And that’s probably not a bad thing.


  4. I don’t like the new design of Google Reader because it goes against the standard UX for Google Reader.

    Based on my experience with non-WP RSS feeds, I actually kind of figured that this behaviour was the whole point of the Link post format.

    Most of John Gruber’s posts on Daring Fireball are like this. He writes his views on the link, you read his views in the feed then click the link to go to the source. His views on the source aren’t up for debate as they’re usually pretty short and simply highlight parts that he finds interesting. He also posts multiple times a day which could raise comment administration to unmanageable levels if he did allow commenting.

    Given all this, I actually think it’s a great way of providing commentary without having to craft longer-form posts and getting bogged down in discussion. I have a bunch of (usually non WP) blogs in my Reader that do this and I don’t think the practice is going away.

    A permalink is generally provided at the bottom of these posts (which I think is good practice) should you wish to link to it but I feel most of the time, linking to these posts isn’t really the point—they want you to see the source.


  5. I concur with the post. It’s becoming a common enough practice (at least among the blogs I read) that you could almost call it a new standard, but it throws me off every. single. time. Especially when I’m clicking from RSS, which I do often.

    RSS has always had a niche userbase, and Kevinjohn is right that Twitter is replacing it for the mainstream. However, I don’t understand why anyone would remove an RSS feed. It’s not hard to maintain and provides myriad possibilities for syndication and automation. But to each their own. I read exclusively through RSS, so no feed, no read.


  6. Please don’t make the post title the actual link to an article when using the Link Post format. It prevents me from linking to you and it’s not the behaviour I’m expecting. I’m excepting to click the link to read comments or such on the post but because the title acts as a link, I pretty much have no way of getting there. It’s a frustrating experience and that’s why I agree with Mike!

    I already replied to the hackers thread, but since content is reproduced here I wanted to weigh in quickly in this space as well.

    If a link post is a blog post, then you and Mike are 100% correct. If a link post allows comments, sharing, and other blog post-type features, then the title links should take me to that post.

    But if a link post is really a link – as in a bookmark to external content, then I think making the title point to the content is the right way to go. If I’m linking to a 3rd party, then I want you to link to that third party … not to me. It’s a hassle to link to a link to a link to great content. You lose readers with every click, and if my post is really a bookmark I don’t want people commenting on it anyway.


  7. I really don’t see a problem with it at all. If all you’re posting is a link, esp. with no commentary, then why make the user go to your web site just to click on that link and go to a second site. Start with the source if all you want to do is point. Why point at a picture of yourself pointing to something else? That seems like unnecessary cruft just for the sake of tradition. Not to mention it’s probably more economical just in terms of server load – which makes it ever-so-slightly greener to do. The past is dead and gone. Get used to the shifting paradigm of shifting paradigms!


  8. I disagree. People using RSS readers aren’t likely to be “confused” by something like this, and they likely don’t care. If they click through, they go to the content. That’s all they care about. And what is the point of going to a blog permalink page with a short note and closed comments, just to click a second link to get to the content they’re looking for? That seems more “confusing,” as well as inconvenient.

    Anyway, it works for Daring Fireball.


  9. I agree with the post. Having titles that behave in two different ways in the same RSS feed makes for terrible usability. My suggestion would be: imitate Asides in many themes and don’t use the title field at all, but place the link in the body of the post, styled for emphasis.


  10. I’m excepting to click the link to read comments or such on the post but because the title acts as a link, I pretty much have no way of getting there.

    Expecting ?

    I don’t understand what you want, you want to go straight to the comments of the article without reading the article itself? Why would someone link directly to the comments? Posting the article would be a waste of time.

    Please clarify.


  11. Links are a post format. If they didn’t behave differently from other posts there would be no point in defining a separate format for them.

    If you’re posting the link in order to discuss it with your readers, it should be a standard post or an aside, because that’s more than just a link. But I don’t see a problem with allowing people to bypass my blog and head straight to the other site if I’m not adding any actual content.


  12. Themes really have no business altering feeds. That’s plugin territory. So, I’ll leave that out of the discussion about how themes should handle the link post format.

    Let’s look at WPTavern.com as an example. For your “aside” posts, you’re breaking user expectations with the post title. On your home/archive pages, there’s no title for these posts. Of course, it’s relatively easy to figure out how to get to the post permalink page. However, you’re still changing the typical user experience.

    I won’t argue that this change in user experience is wrong. Post formats are meant to change the user experience. That’s kind of the point.

    Now, let’s look at the “link” post format. People have been using the post title for external links like this for years, long before WordPress ever had a feature called “post formats”. Where do you think the design idea for this came from? It’s from seeing how blogs were already utilizing this feature around the Web. If anything, my expectation is to click on the title and be carried to the actual content, not to a single page that has the same thing I was just looking at.

    I’m excepting to click the link to read comments or such on the post but because the title acts as a link, I pretty much have no way of getting there.

    You have a valid point here. However, I would argue that the design is wrong if there’s no way to get to the permalink page or see the post comments. There should be a clearly clickable “Permalink” or “Comments” link to get to this page.

  13. Freddy Rob

    @Simon Fairbairn – Yeah, I totally agree that Google Reader’s interface isn’t very good… however, it’s killer when using Flipboard on the iPad.

    I was never all that into RSS feeds till Flipboard started using GR. Now almost all my daily reading is via RSS (indirectly).


  14. @Freddy Rob

    I don’t like Google Reader’s UI either, but it makes an excellent sync service. I use Reeder on OS X and iOS, with Google Reader keeping the two apps in sync.


  15. Would you post a link on twitter that goes to a page that holds a single link to another website? No. That’s why your argument doesn’t make sense. If you click a link then get distracted and come back later and don’t understand what that website was, that’s your fault for being easily distracted.


  16. So here’s the deal. I’ve come to expect that if I click on the title of a post, what I’m really clicking on is a permalink to that post, NOT a link that will take me to some other website. My first thought when that happens is that something is broken. The last time I checked, Post Formats were a way in which folks could visually establish what type of content was within the post, not actually changing the behavior of the post. Whether the post is just a link or not, at the very beginning it’s a post and I’d like to see it behave as one. My preferred method of the use of the Link Post Format is to have an icon or some other visual queue that lets me know that the post is more of a link and then see some comment or a couple of sentences with the post and the first link within the content is what is used as the link.

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