Must Read
January 24, 2013 9:22 AM   Subscribe

Must Read
On Must Read, you choose the one article you think everyone should read—right now—then share it with a note explaining why. Follow people who post great must-reads, and your timeline becomes a command center for vital reading; you see their current must-reads, and nothing else.

I work at Readability. Last month, Arc90—the people behind Readability—held a two day hackathon. I pitched an idea and pulled a team together. We worked on it for two days, then spent a bit of time polishing it up.

Now it's live. Check it out! :)
Role: Project Lead
posted by defenestration (14 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
This project was posted to MetaFilter by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on January 30, 2013: Must Read

I love the idea. I wonder how long it'll take until the public feed gets too unwieldy to be useful (like Twitter when they turned off the public timeline).

I tried to register using but it's asking me for 'write' permission, does the site tweet stuff automatically or something?
posted by Memo at 5:32 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

A friend and I were discussing our desire for something like this literally yesterday, and I'm looking forward to trying it out. I do second the question about write permission on Twitter, though. Also, is there a way to comment on things that someone has shared? I'm not immediately seeing it, but I sometimes miss obvious things.
posted by MeghanC at 6:34 AM on January 25, 2013

Hey there!

It doesn't tweet anything automatically. It asks for that because of our implementation of Twitter auth.

Currently, the only tweets sent through Must Read are when you share, and they use Twitter's Web Intents — that pop up thing — which is something that doesn't even require Twitter auth.

In the future, we may make it so you can have it automatically fire off a tweet when you post a must-read, but that will be completely opt-in. We'll never tweet without permission.

Sorry about the confusion surrounding that. It's worth thinking about — we don't want to scare people away, and I understand the concern.

There's currently no way to comment. We wanted Must Read to be fairly minimal, to start. One at article at a time, and a note from the poster. Like a slow web haven from the realtime, never-off social media shitshow.

The public feed could certainly become unwieldy, but you always only see each user's current must-read, which helps. We hope we can keep discovery on Must Read something that's possible.

I think it's also about getting people you already know on Twitter — and wherever else — on there too. Then you can go to, at any time, and know the exact thing they think you should be reading, at that moment.

Or, of course, you can follow them and others, and get a snapshot of their current must-reads when you log in. I'm already discovering a lot of great reads and we launched it yesterday.

Note: you'll probably run into some issues here and there. It's very much in beta, and we're just getting started. If you experience any issues, you can reach out to me here, or send us an email at
posted by defenestration at 7:25 AM on January 25, 2013

Like This Is My Jam for articles? Neat!
posted by comealongpole at 4:15 PM on January 25, 2013

It's a great idea, but userbase is everything, I guess. Would you anticipate the posted content evening out? Broadening to a greater variety of fields of interest?
posted by Miko at 8:05 PM on January 26, 2013


Yep! That's the basic gist. :)


You're right — userbase is everything. We're just getting started, so there isn't really a community yet. I hope an awesome one grows around it. I'm already finding great reads, even with the small userbase, though.

I'd love to see you on Must Read, honestly, because I'd love to know what article you think I should be reading at any given moment. As far as content goes, I'd like to see things go as broad and diverse as possible. The article you share could be about anything—as long as you consider it a must-read.
posted by defenestration at 12:08 PM on January 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Well, I admit that one came immediately to mind. If I have some time to get registered and all this week, I'll post it!
posted by Miko at 1:27 PM on January 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

This reminds me a little of GiveMeSomethingToRead (now called TheFeature.Net). There's definitely a need for article recommendations because there's so much information out there every day that we can't possible filter through ourselves to find the best stuff.
posted by Dansaman at 10:40 PM on January 28, 2013

So come to think of it, what does this offer someone who is thinking "I need a set of high quality articles to read every day" that he can't get from Readability's Top Reads and Instapaper's TheFeature.Net?
posted by Dansaman at 10:47 PM on January 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Top Reads uses data to bubble up popular posts on Readability. The Feature is the work of a single editor.

Must Read is many-to-many. Anyone can post. And that's the value. In this case, I don't want to know what's popular based on data, or what one specific editor thinks I should read. I want to know what specific people think I should read.
posted by defenestration at 7:48 AM on January 29, 2013

That's not the best explanation. Here's what it offers that those things can't:

A list of current must-read articles—and a note explaining why they are must-reads—handpicked by a group of people you handpicked, with one article per person.

So it's personal, and the people are selected by you. Since you trust them, the context they provide with their note adds value as well. Since they're forced to pick one article at a time, they have to think about what they're sharing, and make an editorial decision. In the end, you wind up with a regularly updated list of current must-read articles, handpicked by people you trust, with context they've provided.

The end is the same: you find great stuff to read. But it's a different approach.
posted by defenestration at 8:02 AM on January 29, 2013

Makes sense. In a way it sounds like a form of social bookmarking but with an emphasis on quality rather than quantity. I recently had a similar idea (with some important differences), which supports the contention (as does MeghanC's comment) that there is a problem that needs to be solved, namely the need to cut through the ever-increasing clutter, or should I say the desire to cut through even more clutter than one could possibly cut through on one's own to find the true gems. Do Top Reads and The Feature have a lot of users? One thing I don't like about The Feature (as far as I understand it) is you can't subscribe to notifications of new articles on selected topics. It's just a jumble of articles (albeit excellent ones) on all kinds of topics (albeit very interesting ones), and that means for me, as a very busy person, there's still a clutter problem.
posted by Dansaman at 8:17 AM on January 29, 2013

it took me a while to check it out, but now that I have I love it.
posted by forforf at 5:19 PM on February 2, 2013

Thanks to Dansaman recommending you I also belatedly found this! Awesome idea and site.
posted by ellieBOA at 12:34 PM on March 11, 2013

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