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[syn] Why might a syndicated account not work?

More FAQ!spam from me. This time, it's a complete rewrite of FAQ 151 (Why might a syndicated account not work?) to try to make it not suck. If anyone can think of any common reasons that I've missed out then please holler. Similarly, if anyone feels like doing a spot of code diving to retrieve the exact error messages that we throw in all these cases (well, all the ones that actually give error messages) then that would be fantastic.

There are many possible reasons that can cause a syndicated account not to update. While it would not be possible to produce an exhaustive list, some of the more common reasons are given here.

* A valid RSS or Atom feed must be used as the feed URL. A normal HTML page will not work and the feed must contain valid RSS or Atom code. You can check that the feed's code is valid by using a feed validator. You can normally find one of these by searching for "feed validator" with a search engine.

* The feed must be updating. It is sometimes the case that the feed will stop updating, even if the site it is syndicating from is being updated.

* LiveJournal may be unable to connect to the other site to retrieve the feed. This may be caused by a problem with the other website, a network problem between the site and LiveJournal, or by the site deliberately blocking LiveJournal. In the first two cases, the problem will normally resolve itself within a few days. In the latter case, this is the right of the external site, and there is nothing that LiveJournal can do to circumvent this.

* The feed must be under 150KB in size. LiveJournal does not support larger feeds.

* The feed must use a text encoding which LiveJournal recognizes. If the text encoding is invalid, then the syndicated account will not update. If you believe that the feed uses a valid encoding which LiveJournal does not recognize, please raise this issue by opening a support request in the syndication category.

* The feed must contain accurate dates and times. If the dates and times reported by the feed are incorrect, this can cause LiveJournal to be unable to correctly interpret the feed and therefore unable to update the syndicated account. This applies both to dates and times within the feed's text and its http headers.

* The feed must use <guid> and <link> tags correctly. If the same <guid> tag is used for two items, then LiveJournal will interpret the second as an update to the first and edit the old entry, rather than creating a new one. The same applies to the <link> tag if different links are normally provided for each entry. On the other hand, if a new <link> or <guid> is given to an item in the feed when it is edited, this will cause LiveJournal to post a new version of the entry.

* Several syndication formats are extensible, meaning that it is possible for the creators of a feed to include extra functionality within the feed while still containing valid RSS or Atom code. LiveJournal supports the core formats, and several frequently used extensions, but will not always work with all extensions.

FURTHER READING

What is LiveJournal's syndication feature?
http://www.livejournal.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=178

My content is being syndicated onto LiveJournal and I don't want it there. What can I do?
http://www.livejournal.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=155

Who owns a syndicated account? Can I edit the feed URL of or delete a syndicated account?
http://www.livejournal.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=150

LiveJournal support area
http://www.livejournal.com/support/
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