Why are posts from RSS feeds truncated?

Hi there,

I host my own microblog at https://latest.rosswintle.uk/

I’ve added the RSS feed from here as a “feed” in my settings. The feed is set (in the WordPress settings) to show full posts, not truncated excerpts.

But longer posts from the feed are truncated in micro.blog, like this:

I just revisited my WordPress microblog – this syncs to micro.blog Seems I was clever and made a little Dashboard widget for posting. I’d love for something like this to be my main posting interface. Not with the WP Dashboard crud. But post here an it sends to Mastodon (and oth… latest.rosswintle.uk

Why does this happen? Have I done something wrong? Is it just a limitation of the feed importing?


The timeline only allows 280 characters. A post without a title that exceeds that will be truncated with a link to the complete post. Sometimes, the interpretation of what constitutes a character can be a little funky. A post with a title will include the title as a link back to the original.

Your post is 346 characters and has no title, so it’s being truncated with a link to the original.

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@jsonbecker’s answer is excellent and if you want even more details, see Timeline display rules.

Is this due to micro.blog’s philosophical attachment to 280 characters? For myself, it doesn’t particularly bother me that the micro.blog timeline shows previews after 280 characters, but I wish that for untitled posts it would send a full 500 characters on to Mastodon before truncating.

That way it would behave in keeping with micro.blog’s philosophy on the micro.blog timeline—and with the Mastodon philosophy on the Mastodon timeline.

(On the topic of following the philosophy of the medium, I would note that the newsletter settings allow you to treat all untitled blog posts, not just ones under 280, as microblogs, and thus leave them unsent.)

Why choose any number? Micro.blog is not a thing that exists for interop with Mastodon. Micro.blog has been 280 since before Twitter was. The choice may change, but I hope it never changes because of some other system.

Yup! I’ve tried looking for UX research that talks about an optimal number of characters on a timeline view without looking like a wall of text. I’m sure this research has been done privately, if not publicly.

AFAIK, 280 is double of 140 which was the length of an SMS which was based on “160 7-bit characters, i.e., 1120 bits, or 140 bytes” [via].

Thanks folks. To add to these replies, I do hear from Mastodon users enough that I’m exploring how we could better truncate at 500 for Mastodon, while keeping the Micro.blog timeline the way it is.

I’m also thinking about “rounding up” the 280 to 300. :slightly_smiling_face: The 280 was picked because we wanted more room than 140, but not too much room, and 280 was nicely symbolic. With the chaos at Twitter now, it feels hollow.

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Thanks for replying, Manton, and that’s great to hear you’re considering truncating at 500 for Mastodon. (While leaving the micro.blog timeline at 280, or maybe 300 [!]) For my money, one of my favorite things about micro.blog is exactly the fact that it exists as its own thing, and that my specific blog is on my own domain—but also that it interoperates quite seamlessly with these other services. So if it can interoperate a bit more seamlessly with Mastodon, all the better! Either way, I’m going to keep posting to micro.blog first.