To me it seems less and less people are actively subscribing to RSS feeds these days and that planet GNOME is getting less and less attention. At the same time Planet GNOME is not very prominent on the gnome.org website making the problem worse. People usually also share their blog posts on other social media platforms (mastodon, reddit, …) to increase reach.
I believe it would be good to look at making Planet GNOME reach more people again. There are a few things I could think of:
- GNOME has a mastodon account. We could automatically share TWIG and Planet GNOME blog posts there.
- We could automatically create topics on discourse.gnome.org which would also allow people to receive emails for new blog posts.
- We could make Planet GNOME easier to discover from gnome.org.
- The website really needs a make-over.
Do people agree on this in general? I would put in some resources if that’s the case.
I think the https://planet.gnome.org is primarily meant to be accessed via RSS feed readers. But, it’s not very obvious in the UI. If you scroll a few pages the content ends. For a newcomer, it looks like there is just few pages of content, and that’s it.
There should be instructions on how to access the articles in Planet GNOME at the top of the Homepage ( preferably via a link URL )
I think Planet GNOME should serve the articles in the website and support feeds as well. Folks who want to read the articles in their feed reader can subscribe to the feeds. Those who don’t want to, can read the articles directly in their web browser. I’m not sure if this involves a lot of effort. There is this OMG Ubuntu site which is pretty decent when it comes to presenting content, and I have a feeling it’s maintained by a single guy ( or a couple more ).
RSS as a technology is still used a lot by users without them knowing they’re subscribing to RSS feeds. Users subscribe to podcasts via RSS feeds in their favorite music player ( like Spotify / Amazon Music ) on their smartphones. This is possible since the music player connects to some aggregator like Apple / Google where all podcast content creators submit their content metadata.
That’s not the case with regular RSS feeds like that being used in GNOME Planet. Here, the user really needs to know what they’re doing. RSS feeds reader apps though very effective, are not very popular among the masses as it once was. It’s much niche nowadays. So, I think we should present the articles in the Planet GNOME website directly, and provide feeds for those who use Planet GNOME a lot ( for which a feed reader makes more sense ).
I think having a bot Planet GNOME account on mastodon could be already an improvement on the discoverability of the content.
That would have been my guess, but it turns out that GNOME contributors still use Planet as a way to keep track of the state of the project:
From: FOR GNOME CONTRIBUTORS: How do you find what people are working on?
Which means people inside the contributors sphere still care about Planet.
Increasing the visibility of PGO through social media is good for letting people outside the project keep up with it: the X.org/freedesktop.org community is aggregating blog posts from their Planet instance on their Mastodon account.
The main editorial direction to remember, though, is that blogs on Planet GNOME are personal, which means they can be used for any topic. This has usually been a good way to humanise the GNOME contributors community, but it also introduces the possibility of people not caring about non-GNOME-related/non-technical posts. This editorial voice is also why we don’t have project blogs on Planet GNOME: even the “project” articles (GTK, Shell) are author feeds—essentially, a second RSS feed for some people.
Alright, so can we automatically post planet gnome to mastodon then? Apparently there exist a bunch of tools already to do this but maybe we can ask the freedesktop folks what they use?
As a frequent reader of Planet GNOME, please don’t bring it down!
The guidelines should be reworked and moved into the README of the repo PlanetGnome - GNOME Wiki!
For example the guidelines state
Do I have to only blog about GNOME things?
No. Planet GNOME is a good way to know the contributors. This means we’re happy to have you post about your life, or the latest recipe you cooked (especially if you add a photo!). Keep in mind, though, that if you don’t post anything of interest to most of the community, people will not enjoy your posts.
But in a ticket, it is mentioned
Also, be aware that Planet GNOME is for GNOME things. I suggest creating an alternative RSS feed for things tagged for Planet GNOME.
I think the website blogs.gnome.org might be relevant as well here. Some of these blogs appear in Planet GNOME, some do not. Some never had posts and some had their last post in the year 2017. As far as I know it neither serves another purpose than Planet GNOME nor has another target audience.
I would recommend that maybe: all blogs are visible as a feed under planet.gnome.org and the same blogs are nicely listed and sorted by topic/name of the developer/etc under blogs.gnome. org (spaces due to new user restriction).
Currently if you’d like to get all the updates about GNOME (published in blogs) you’d have to read planet.gnome. org and regularly check all the blogs in blogs.gnome. org for updates, which I don’t think is ideal.
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