Rafe used to provide only summaries but responded to my request for full posts, and is one of my favorite RSS-enabled authors. Nelson falls into the “really want people to see [his] great web design” category (and his blog is awfully pretty — I disagree with Chris that he’s flattering himself!), but he still lets me read full posts, if a little grumpily. Duncan recently turned off full feeds and lost me as a subscriber. I didn’t even bother trying to turn his opinion back to the right side — I just voted with my feed, as it were. People who don’t provide full feeds lose me, and I bet they lose plenty of other people, too.
The problem is simply one of time consumption. I use SharpReader even more than I used trn in college — and I need SharpReader to be as much or more efficient if I’m going to keep up. I want to read feeds from many different sources and I want to be able to keep adding feeds as I discover the beautiful outliers; but I also want to get work done. I can cruise through five or ten full-post feeds in the time it takes me to launch a window for each new post from one summary feed. It’s not worth it.
I think that feed reader developers could make this situation a little more tenable for both sides by supporting per-feed CSS. Let the feed author specify a stylesheet that formats their feed in the reader, and the author won’t care as much about forcing a new window for design reasons. It all boils down to HTML in the end — why should authors or reader developers force a usage pattern because the transport lets off one stop too early?
Update: Oh, the irony! It turns out O’Reilly’s weblogging system only provides RSS summaries, not full posts. I’ve manipulated the system to provide a full post in my feed; but I’ll have to talk the O’Reilly folks into reading the above and see what they think about changing their feed system. If I fail, I guess I’ll stop reading my own feed!