Hacker News, Twitch and YouTube Repairs

While there are some major improvements on the horizon for Fraidycat, now is primarily a time of patient study and observation - how is Fraidycat doing as a tool for long-term use? This involves patching up problem feeds as decay occurs.

Since Fraidycat experienced a very encouraging Show HN two months ago, I realize that many of you hail from there - and those feeds have had some issues (or are absent in some cases.) Therefore, I am now using to paper over the basic feeds for the time being.

Here are some of the feeds you can now subscribe to:

  • A feed for the front page. (Translates to
  • A feed for only the top items (> 300 votes). (Translates to
  • A feed for a user’s comments and submissions.
  • Feeds for Ask HN, Show HN and Newest.

You can also tailor your own feed by following the instructions. You can make feeds for specific users or search tersm. And there is this immensely useful URL for seeing links to recent replies to any of your comments:

It may seem a bit strange that Fraidycat is relying on these other feeds - rather than relying on HN directly - because these feeds could go away. But I think that using these feeds encourages the creator of them to keep them alive.[1]

Twitch also recently stopped allowing unauthenticated access to their API. (Details here.) This change requires Fraidycat to identify itself now and to periodically “log in”. These follows are working again and we will see how the next few months go.

YouTube playlists similarly broke - the YouTube API also will not allow us to log in directly. We are back to scraping the data. For now, dates for each video are not included - this will be fixed in a coming update.

NOTE: All of these changes are available without an update to Fraidycat! I’ve simply updated the central scraping rules. This is one of the great benefits of Fraidycat - it can route around broken follows without needing much work. For more on this strategy, see the video “Fraidycat as Stuxnet”.

  1. These useful tiny projects are called tultywits. “Talk of and use the little things you want to survive.” With the death of so much of the RSS support system, it’s important for us to encourage further redevelopment in this sphere. is a very carefully crafted and finely tuned RSS offering - there should be much more like this. ↩︎

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