How to join 'salonika' (my Salon blogs salon)

· Salon Bloggers

Welcome Andrew Bayer of Andrew Bayer is Dreaming of China by Andrew Bayer, who has just added a ‘salonblogs’ category to his blog (even though you can’t find it as a web page anywhere) and notified me. I went to his site’s categories folder (\http://youraddress/categories/) and didn’t see a category there, so I told him to post something to the new category, which he did today, and notified me again. I went back to his categories folder and saw the XML file there for his new category.
I copied that filename in my browser and went back to my Radio desktop weblog homepage (where you write new posts). There, I clicked the News link in the main menu (usually atop the page), which went to my page of News feeds (also called RSS feeds, shhh!), the weblogs and headline services I subscribe to.
There I clicked the link in the introductory text that went to my subscriptions page. In the text box at the top of that page, I pasted in the address of the feed (\http://blogs.salon.com/0001033/categories/salonblogs/rss.xml), and clicked the form button. In a moment, I was told:

Congratulations, you have successfully subscribed to the “Andrew Bayer: salonblogs” feed. It now appears in your subscriptions list below; new items will appear on the News page every hour.

In the past, this has sometimes not worked for me on the first try. In those times, it has always worked when I tried again.
So, now, my news aggregator will poll (check) once an hour for any new posts to any of the feeds I subscribe to. (I have mine set to check at 19 minutes past the hour, figuring this won’t be a popular time. If you copy me on this, then it won’t work as well.)
Since we know Andrew has posted at least once to his new category (he happened to cross-post it to his home page as well, but that’s optional), then my news aggre-thingie will pick up his post at 1:19, Pacific time.
The process after that is not automated. I’m already using my aggregator to echo my posts to other blogs to the x-syndicate (formerly x-pollen) category, and Radio’s multiauthor web tool can only send all gatherred feeds to the home page or a single category, but not selectively direct each to specific categories, at least not without under-the-hood script tweakage.
Which is just as well, because what I will host will be filtered by me, or else where’s the value? Anyone can (and should) subscribe to any of these feeds themselves and preserve their own “best of Salon blogs” anthology. Andrew could provide a single-click link to his feed. You could also just get my digest of all the feeds by clicking the coffee mug on my salonika page.
(Because he’s never rendered the category as a web page, Radio has not generated a clickable coffeemug for quick-subscribing to his category. Andrew could cobble one together easily, copying the bit in his main template that produces the cup now, pasting a copy below it, and entering a title like “Subscribe to my salonblogs feed” or something. He’d have to tweak the URL in the link tag to go to the right feed too, but now I know I’m getting too technical.)
So what will happen is next time I look at my news aggregator and see Andrew’s entry, I’ll click the POST link there and add it to my salonika category (and not to my home page). Any other Salon blog can join in, and continue some of the discussions we’ve currently got buried and scattered on various comment threads.
So, how did Andrew make his new Category? I’ll explain that in my next post here.