Curating the News Feeds on Rehabsector.org - Somebody's Feed is Down

We are always looking for the latest public safety news to offer through our social media presence. Frankly, it is the bait which we hope will bring our primary targeted audience to us, so we can nag them into working and living safely.

That audience is the First Responder community, a subset of the Public Safety community. That's a subset of the communities they serve.

While the public is able to read this content, that is not our focus.

When you visit Rehabsector.org, you see news and information from over a hundred agencies, organizations and other sources. Most of it is very, very, fresh. But, we don't have an army of people typing all this. (As if you thought we did.) It is distributed by .rss feed.

.RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and it involves putting content into a standardized format that can be processed by an RSS reader or another web site. If your organization hosts a blog or a collection of news releases you may have an .RSS feed.

We search out for feeds that we think will interest our human readers. And, we try to share them.

Frequently, a feed doesn't make the cut. Your Agency's content was last updated in 2012? Your Public Safety or Emergency Management news is buried in a general feed of proclamations, school lunch menus and meeting notices? We'll pass. And, if it doesn't validate, technically… well, nobody can use it. Normally, we'll pass on that too.

Feed Validated Graphic

Most of the time, it works pretty well. But, a feed's address might change or a parameter change made at the feed's originator may break the feed. If it is new to us, we'll probably skip it.

But, if the feed is from a vital state agency or major city or key Non-Goverment Organization (NGO), we're probably going to going to try to track somebody down, who knows that you have an .RSS feed and hopefully cares that it works and knows how to fix it.

Nobody pays the Web Team here at Rehabsector.org. If they did, it wouldn't be enough. We'll generally try a few times to find the right level to get the problem fixed. After all, it is usually a message they want distributed and that the readers want to receive.

You have read this far and you may be disappointed that we're not naming names.

The closest we've come is when we've had to post a notice that the broken links that pointed to our site, were due to a misconfiguration at a state agency's site -- and the date when they were first notified (Implying: "So don't complain to us. Talk to them.").

We recognize that when we call, it is usually an uphill battle. Sometimes, we have to explain what a feed is, prove to them that they have one, and that it is broken, at their end and that they want to fix it.

Hey! It is on the Internet and it is broken. You gotta fix it. What if somebody on the Internet was wrong about something? Can you let that pass?

If you have .RSS feeds, you can validate them at

https://validator.w3.org/feed

Our's validate. Here's an example:

https://validator.w3.org/feed/check.cgi?url=www.rehabsector.org%2Ffeed

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