Missing MPs’ Blogs

A while ago, I set up Planet Westminster – a pretty simple site that simply aggregates all of the MPs’ blogs that I could find. It was largely created to scratch a personal itch. I wanted a simple way to subscribe to all MPs’ blogs in my feed reader. And that’s really how I use it most of the time. I just read it in Bloglines rarely bother to look at the site (which explains why I haven’t fixed the character-encoding problems that are obvious to anyone visiting the site).

But I had a look at it today. And I tweaked a couple of presentation problems. As part of the process, I ran the software which aggregates the feeds by hand a couple of times. And that showed me one interesting issue that I had previously missed. The program displays an error when it can’t find the feed that it’s looking for. It’s currently generating eleven “missing feed” errors. That’s out of thirty-six feeds that I currently monitor. Perhaps a couple of those could be put down to temporary network glitches, but that’s potentially over a quarter of the (small number of) blogging MPs who have either given up on blogging or have moved their feeds without putting redirection in place (that’s starting to become quite a regular topic round these parts).

At one point it looked like MPs might start blogging in reasonable numbers. We’d broken the 5% barrier. It would be a shame if they decided if it was a waste of their time and started to abandon it.

The errors I’m getting are as follows (with links to the missing web feeds) . If any of these are your MP, then perhaps you’d investigate what’s going on and report back. One of them is my MP, Martin Linton, so I’ll start by investigating him.

Update: Having looked into it a bit further, I see that many of the problems are down to people moving their web feeds without putting redirection in place. Obviously I don’t blame the MPs for this, but it indicates how little their “tech support” people know about how this stuff works.

A few of the blogs have closed down though. And it’s interesting to note that in a couple of places a blog feed has been replaced by a news feed.

I need to put aside some time to do some more research into this in order to ensure that the date I have is up to date. And this is exactly the kind of information that PoliticalWeb is supposed to provide.

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