I have not been here for a while, hidden behind coding and infrastructure of Wikidot (which is getting larger and larger), but… Yes, I fully agree RSS is much better for notifications, and I have been always using them to catch things from other social networks too (e.g. Facebook). The big benefit, as opposed to emails, is that they do not flood your inbox with stuff. At least for me, even filters and folders do not really work, because keeping notifications in my inbox is not what I want. Why would I keep them? For reference?
From the very beginning Wikidot was all about RSS. And I am a big fan of RSS and always prefer them to emails. They perfectly solve a problem of aggregating events/notifications/news from multiple sources - any decent desktop RSS reader can make it easy to handle hundreds of sources. Google Reader also does a nice job letting you manage it.
Saying that RSS is a fail because it is a "pull", and email is "push"… Sure, but you still need to pull data from your mail server at some time intervals.
BUT there are pretty good reasons we went with email notifications:
- Adoption of RSS is still dramatically low.
- IMHO RSS is good for aggregation — like getting posts from the community forum, large number of sites, but still emails are better for getting events from particular sites you are working on.
- This is all up to users' preference. I have seen many people being inbox-centric, managing all their lives with the Gmail interface, some are more "Web 2.0" centric, preferring doing something else
- Emails are still much more reliable than RSS, also due to low RSS adoption.
- We know who watches what site/page.
- With emails, an average Wikidot user that does not necessarily use RSS can be more up-to-date, simply.
I think what can save email notification, and I wish it was here from the beginning as I recommended, is an option to receive a daily digest of sites you are interested in, but not necessarily want to be informed in real-time about every single change. This way you would get just one email a day summarizing e.g. community posts and activity on your other sites, but you could also get real-time notifications from other sites you want. And not get your email inbox flooded.
At some point I would like to upgrade our RSS feeds to work with the notification system, i.e. using the same events etc. Then you could stop receiving those emails and switch entirely to RSS.
BTW: Nice discussion! It really shows the different ways you people use Wikidot!