Google Reader auto sort

[[|Google Reader]] offers several options for [[|sorting feed items]]. After having played around with the “auto-sort” for several months now, I am reverting back to “Sort by newest”.

{{|Google Reader}}

The problem is that the auto-sort mode is a little too simplistic. Here’s what it does in their own words:

//This works by prioritizing subscriptions with fewer items. So, with this setting, your friend’s blog with one item a month will not be drowned out by higher volume sites such as the New York Times because we’ll raise the blog to the top.//

The general idea behind auto-sort is good, but unfortunately the execution hasn’t evolved at all to become smarter. For instance, some blogs I read haven’t been updated in a while. And I’m really not interested in the stuff they wrote some months back. So I never read those few old posts and yet they continue to hang around at the top of my feeds, which gets annoying quickly.

Ideally, the auto-sort should also take into account my reading trends (they obviously collect all this data, so might as well use it). In my case, what I really want the auto-sort to do is this: if there are some old posts and I’m consistently choosing not to read them, then perhaps they don’t need to be raised to the top any more. If I need to find them, I can always do so. In fact, I wouldn’t even mind if the old posts were raised to the top of the list once in a while.

An even smarter auto-sort will also take into account my reading habits. If there’s an infrequently updated blog that I read religiously, then I definitely don’t want to miss even an old post, no matter what. Similarly, old posts from an inactive blog that I have stopped following should be given less weight.

How do you sort your feeds?


  1. Chip Killian

    So I would expect this sort to be quite useful — assuming you also are using the show-unread-only feature. Then you don’t have all the old posts there unless you want them.

    For myself, I don’t bother sorting (as I don’t use the view all), I just use the show-unread-only, and then select each feed as I want to.

  2. Diwaker Gupta

    @Chip Killian: Yep, I have show-unread only set. However, I like to read items in a “river of news” fashion, and not feed wise, so its really important for me to have a smarter way of looking at items across various feeds. This becomes specially crucial if you have a huge number of feeds :-)

  3. Rarian Rakista

    Google Reader can quickly useless if you set it to auto. I did and forgot about it and found myself migrating back to SAGE before I switched it to ‘sort by newest’.

    I’ve thought of similar sorting features myself, or for the love of god allow us to write plugins. I really need to be able to do something with the same damn stories being broadcast hourly from some sites. I have one particular site that RSSed me the same story 30 times today, once for each time someone commented on the article it looks like. There has to be a way of setting priorities for poorly managed sites like that so I am not bombarded with crap.

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