WordPress Reader — The Double-Edged Sword

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In the past, I used to believe that the WordPress Reader was the best feature that was ever created by WordPress.

Today, I am having second thoughts about it.

The WordPress Reader is like a double-edged sword — a feature that fills me with both joy and agony.

Did naughty gremlins from the underworld infest the WordPress Reader?

Or did the cyber-gangsters decide to make the viewing of the WordPress Reader a living hell?

You may have sensed that something is a bit off with the WordPress Reader (Now, before I get myself into some serious trouble with WordPress’s engineering staff, I would like to point out, that the WordPress Reader also has positive attributes and that the WordPress Reader is in no way an absolute failure).

Do All Of The Blogs That We Follow Show Up In The WordPress Reader?

One of my followers actually said to me, “I am following your blog, but it is not showing up in the WordPress Reader!”

I was somewhat baffled; I was unable to deduce the reason why my blog did not show up in their WordPress Reader.

Since they mentioned that to me, I have been wondering if there is some type of technological flaw in the WordPress Reader that causes us not to see some of the posts from people that we follow.

For the record, my blog posts do show up in other people’s WordPress Reader.

While there are posts that go missing from some people occasionally in the WordPress Reder, there are blogs from other people that never show up on it.

What I do know for a fact, is that a person’s blog will not show up in the WordPress Reader if:

  • They are using more than fifteen tags or categories.
  • Their blog has been flagged by someone (or some people) as being mature or offensive.
  • They have set their blog to be private or they hid their blog from the view of search engines.
  • They misused the tag feature.
  • Their blog’s language does not match their account’s interface language.

It is advisable, that all bloggers should familiarize themselves with WordPress’s User Guidelines (Which will prevent bloggers from landing themselves into trouble).

If your blog stopped showing up entirely in the WordPress Reader, you have a serious problem on your hands — one that only a Happiness Engineer can rectify.

People Wilfully Or Unknowingly Tag Their Posts Incorrectly

Oh, I have certainly seen my fair share of incorrectly tagged posts in the WordPress Reader (That sort of thing happens on a regular basis).

Whenever I want to check out blog posts that are related to “Blogging Tips” I would look for them under the appropriate tag and the same applies to blog posts that are related to “WordPress.”

All WordPress users know, that “Blogging Tips” and “WordPress” are two highly popular tags (And, a lot of bloggers have been using those two tags correctly as well as incorrectly).

In the past, I read a blog post about cleaning up after your dog whenever they defecate in a public area; it was a wonderful post that provided dog owners with useful advice, but the advice had nothing at all to do with “Blogging Tips.”

I also perused a blog post that was filled with lovely poetry; it had the “WordPress” tag and it had nothing at all to do with it.

I believe that some bloggers are abusing tags with the intentions of acquiring more incoming views, while there are those bloggers that are totally ignorant of their mistakes.

As bloggers, we need to keep the reader in mind; for example, if the reader wanted to solve a particular problem that they are having with Ubuntu, they would search the tags, “Ubuntu” and “Linux.” But, if they searched those two tags and they found an article on how to tie one’s shoelaces, they would be deeply disappointed or extremely annoyed.

It is utterly obvious, that the corresponding tags are supposed to be related to the subject.

Therefore, it would be wise of all bloggers to be mindful of the types of tags that they attach to their blog posts.

Some People Are In The Habit Of Spamming The WordPress Reader

It is a sad fact, that there are some bloggers who misuse various tags and spam the WordPress Reader with numerous one-line blog posts that are filled with links (Those people are not adding any sort of value to the WordPress Reader; they are actually making things worse by being a nuisance to the other people that utilize the WordPress Reader).

Could you imagine seeing, via the WordPress Reader, a single blogger who updated their blog approximately every eleven minutes?

Scrolling all the way down with the intentions of finding a legitimate blog post annoys the hell out of me. I should not have the cause to endure that kind of punishment (As far as I am concerned, it would be unfair of any blogger to experience that sort of thing).

We bloggers can do our part by reporting those spammers to the WordPress staff.

I want sanity to re-enter the WordPress Reader once again.

By the way, there is also the option of blocking the offending site on your WordPress Reader (But, blocking them is not enough because those spammers will continue to spam the WordPress Reader if they are not reported).

How do you feel about certain bloggers spamming the WordPress Reader?

And, have you ever reported a spammy WordPress blog to the staff of WordPress?

The WordPress Reader Will Always Be Useful

Like many of you, I am in the habit of utilizing the WordPress Reader with the intentions of locating blogs that I am interested in.

What types of blogs am I interested in?

I am interested in blogs that are passionate about:

  • Educating the reader about health-related topics
  • Reviewing various types of books.
  • Reviewing movies and television shows.
  • Carrying out the creation of prompts.
  • Dealing with things of a metaphysical and spiritual nature.
  • Enlightening people on ways in which they can improve their blog.
  • Dealing with music.
  • Highlighting beautiful photography.
  • Venturing deeply into the area of Linux.
  • Showcasing poetry.
  • Discussing psychology.

There is always a high probability of me finding whatever it is that I want to see via the WordPress Reader (They are easily found because the bloggers went out of their way to tag their blog posts correctly).

As a WordPress user, you have probably used the WordPress Reader to your advantage by finding fabulous bloggers to interact with (That happens to be one of the reasons why the WordPress Reader was created).

So, in spite of a few annoyances, one can still have a bit of fun with their WordPress Reader.

Final Thoughts

Technology, on the whole, is not perfect; which is the reason why technical difficulties tend to jump out of the proverbial woodwork (Therefore, it would be unfair to get angry with the creators of the WordPress Reader).

We can always forward our technical issues to the Happiness Engineers and they will, in turn, do their best to rectify our issue with the WordPress Reader in a timely manner.

And, I want the newcomers to WordPress to always remember, that if they exceed fifteen tags or categories, their blog will not show up in the WordPress Reader (In a lot of instances, they are the ones who are responsible for their blogs not showing up in the WordPress Reader).

We must also do our part by informing the WordPress staff of those blogs that abuse tags and those blogs that spam the hell out of the WordPress Reader.

The WordPress Reader can become lots of fun again by keeping the delinquents out.

You would not allow murderers, thieves and drug pushers to take over your neighbourhood. 

So, why should we allow shady characters to send the WordPress Reader down the gutter?

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77 thoughts on “WordPress Reader — The Double-Edged Sword

  1. Your puzzled subscriber may have missed the fact that subscribing to a blog by email does NOT translate into seeing that blog in one’s reader.

    It took me a while to figure out these are separate actions.

    Interesting post! Thanks, Tim

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I did not know about the 15 tag rule. Fortunately, I do not spam my blog posts with tags. This isn’t instagram! Hahahaha…

      I can see why you stumbled on my blog. My topics are among your interests. Does that mean I showed up in your wordpress reader?

      I also use wordpress reader, and have wondered why some blogs I follow do not appear. Most of the time, though, they get buried in other (thankfully non-spammy) blog post.

      Great article. Have a nice day.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting points raised in your post. The reader also dysfunctions when you are attempting to read posts from more that 12-18 hours back. It hides some of the posts. Why?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 🤔 Hmm. I haven’t the slightest clue.

      But, what I could recommend, is that you compare the WordPress Reader on the WordPress App with the WordPress Reader on your laptop computer (You might find those missing posts).

      Thank you for bringing that to my attention, Sadje.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. In another life, I was a librarian. This problem with tags is a problem with any kind of classification system. In a formal classification system, you would develop a hierarchical tree, scope notes, identify allowable qualifiers and map related concepts.

    The problem with a formal system is that they don’t deal with change well and making one is real hard. For example, let’s imagine we wrote an article on hemorrhagic stroke and we wanted to apply the Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) classification system, the most obvious entry would be Stroke.[1] But, if you look down into the tree, there’s further subdivisions that deal with location. Most strokes are acute, so when would we use stroke, acute versus regular stroke? Then, there’s a whole host of qualifiers: is it about surgery? rehabilitation? Something else on a long list of 50+ options? When do you choose a qualifer?

    Even with scope notes explicitly telling you how to use a term, it isn’t always obvious and different people have different notions of how to apply the classification system. And this is not a situation where bad actors are deliberately misapplying tags to increase their impact score.

    My guess is that WordPress will have to move to some kind of automated tagging system that evaluates text and images and applies tags based on some A.I. system. It would have the advantage of a consistently applied heuristic and it would eliminate spamy labelling. But, I’d guess that’s at least a few years off yet.

    [1] https://meshb.nlm.nih.gov/record/ui?ui=D020521

    Liked by 4 people

  4. How do we tell WordPress about the spammy bloggers? This is one of my biggest problems but I cannot unfollow these people… I wish there was a way to hide posts without having to unfollow.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 🙂 I can tell you how it is done on a laptop computer or a desktop computer (I stopped using the WordPress mobile app for over a year).

      Alerting WordPress about spammy bloggers is easy. When you are in the WordPress Reader, you will see three dots right after the “Like” button; pressing it will provide you with the option to report the offending site; it forwards you to fill out some type of digital form — one where you will have to explain the reason why you are reporting a blogger’s site.

      The same three dots after the “Like” botton in the WordPress Reader also provides the user with the option to block a site.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t actually blocked anyone on WordPress. If anything, I just unfollow them or don’t follow them at all. If the sites aren’t offensive but just spammy (as in, they think this is FB and cant seem to grasp the concept that blogging does not mean you post updates every hour of the day), will I be automatically unfollowing these sites if I report them to FB? I know FB works this way so I was just wondering.

        I also use the laptop version of WordPress especially for writing blog posts. Thanks for the info!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh. I never knew that using too many tags(even though they are all valid ones) could lead to your blog not getting displayed in the reader. Thank you for highlighting these issues.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. 🙂 WordPress is always changing things.

      Wouldn’t it be nice if a Happiness Engineer read this blog post and decided to comment on the tag situation?

      By the way, this is WordPress’s official statement on that topic:

      “You may have already heard the cardinal rule of tagging on WordPress.com, but it’s worth repeating it: you should never add more than a total of 15 tags and categories, (combined) to your post, otherwise it won’t show up in the Reader. This cap is used to keep out spam blogs — it means that you need to ensure that your tags are only those that are most relevant to your post.

      “15 is still a lot! Our advice: mix a few general terms with more specific ones, to appeal to multiple groups of potential readers.”

      Thank you for your participation!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Hi Renard, I just wanted to add that I also see posts on the WordPress reader that I subscribe to via email, so I get the best of both worlds. However, I seldom use the reader because I found myself forever trying to get to the top of it.
    Don’t forget, too, that WordPress condenses the posts of bloggers on the reader who publish more than a couple of posts within a short period. I see this happening a lot, mainly when bloggers publish lots of posts within a short space of time. Instead of seeing each post as a separate entry on the reader, they are condensed into one entry. It’s one improvement I’m glad WordPress made.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 🙂 Hugh, I am pleased to know, that you also see posts on your WordPress Reader that you subscribed to via email.

      Now, although WordPress condenses posts that bloggers publish within a very short space of time and merges them into one single entity, they are still annoying to encounter (Especially when I am looking for a legitimate post on the WordPress Reader).

      Thank you for sharing your perspective!

      Like

  7. I one time had a post that did not show up in the Reader and I was very annoyed as I spend a lot of time and effort on it and I did not see the interaction I normally get. It showed up a day later, but then of course it was on the bottom of the Reader. I contacted the Happiness Engineers, love that term :), and they were super quick in helping me and responding back, giving me some great tips as well. So if anyone ever has an issue with their WordPress account, I would recommend contacting them.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. 🙂 Anna, having one of your posts show up a day later on the WordPress Reader is definitely an anomaly.

      Also, it was nice to know that the Happiness Engineers rectified your situation.

      Yes, you are right about anyone having a similar situation should contact the Happiness Engineers.

      Thank you your valuable input!

      Like

  8. Honestly, I stopped using reader ages ago. Mainly because of do many bloggers who created multiple posts every day. And several of my fave blogs never appeared.

    It’s always frustrating when ppl abuse blog tags. Why do that to get more views when you are going to annoy ppl who may lash out in your comments.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually I don’t. I found my email became overrun quickly.

        Instead I have my favourite blogs listed on trello lists and visit several each day (normally, last few weeks due to family issues I wasn’t able), I worked out when most blogs posted and made sure to check those blogs the next day-ish.

        It may seem convoluted but it works so well for me 😊

        Liked by 2 people

  9. I had problems when tagging my post about my struggle with Ubuntu. Is it acceptable to put incredibly similar words in tags for example Distro, Distros? BTW thanks for liking my blog Renard

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That was a very useful post.
    WordPress does run into glitches once in a while . I have not encountered a problem with the reader yet but my scheduled posts have disappeared once or twice.

    Although I have not seen any spammy posts in the reader I have encountered quite a number of spam comments. Of course I blocked the sender’s but it was quite tedious.
    Any tips hete?

    Like

    1. 🙂 Akismet is supposed to be handling all of you issues with spam.

      Did the spam infiltrate your blog?

      Or was the spam trapped in the designated area for spam?

      If you wish, you cat set your comments to be closed within a specific time-period; that way, spammers will be unable to bother you.

      Like

  11. Hmmmm, now that I think of it, I’m not sure if you’ve ever showed up in my reader either. I always have to look you up manually. I’ll give you the fact that the reader isn’t perfect. Although, I do like using it for commenting and liking posts because sometimes doing this through the actual websites gives me trouble on my phone for some reason.
    I had never even thought about the possibility that some blogger’s posts may not show up at all! Come on, WordPress! Up your game. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 Well, Mathew, I only publish content on my blog on a weekly basis (So, my blog will only show up in the WordPress Reader once a week).

      And, it is a pity tht some blogs do not show up at all on the WordPress Reader.

      Thank you for sharing your perspective, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I was wondering why I can never find you there. I thought it was just me, lol Even just now i had to go to your site in order to see this post ironically, just not to miss anything. Still well worth the effort though 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  13. First of all, I do not follow people who post every 11 minutes, but every now and again, someone normal develops a trigger happy finger and posts way too often for my liking. I let it go for a while to see if it’s just a phase, but if it does not stop, chances are I will unfollow.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Great post Renard, I hardly use the WordPress reader because it shows multiple posts of blogs that I rarely interact with, (I guess I should unfollow them), and it doesn’t show the blogs of people I want to see. I don’t set my notifications to receive msgs when new posts are up for blogs that I follow and regular interact with but I’m thinking I should do that but I don’t want to receive tons of emails either. I wish there was an alternative to the reader and the notifications system but I don’t know what that would be like either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 I started using a service known as, “Feedly,” when I was over at Blogger.

      Feedly is like a RSS reader.

      With Feedly, you will be notified whenever a person that you are following updates their blog.

      Judy, I have a feeling that you are going to love Feedly.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Wow, thank you for this informative post. So many stuff I didn’t know haha 😀

    I can understand point 3 and 4 as a reason for post to not appear in the reader, but point 5? Seriously?
    and point 2- I didn’t know it’s even possible!

    Weird things happen to my following list too. Some of those I’m following vanished from the list, while some appears twice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 You are welcome, Jessica.

      I am pleased to know that you learned something new.

      WordPress can make us scratch our head (Especially with the way in which the technological aspect of it behaves).

      Thank you for your valuable input!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Hey Renard, another excellent post.

    Mm, l don’t think l exceed the 15 tag rule, l suppose on occasion l do though, but it’s an excellent rule of thumb noter to remind myself to not do so.. As to how anyone could have more than three catagories is beyond me, max l think l might include is 2, but mostly one.

    In truth, l hardly use the Reader itself perhaps twice out of every 100 visits to other blogs, so am not affected by that directly, but others might not see me, who knows. I tend to have my favourite bloggers in their own catagory and so everytime l am playing catch up, l go to the page and start going direct to blogs.

    But a well informed post, so thank you .. glad l made your passion cut 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I prefer using WP reader for following blogs over receiving them by email. I have encountered a few problems but noting to chase me away. As someone else mentioned above when I hit the follow button I have to make sure the message I get says “New posts form that blog will show up in my reader” otherwise I am probably just following by email. And like someone else mentioned some posts seem to disappear or just show up blank. It is not a consistent problem. It just seems to happen randomly. If a blog that I follow posts too many times and fills up the reader I unfollow. One thing I really like is that I can follow blogs that are not WP in the reader. I copy and paste the site address in the reader search then when the site comes up it gives me the option to follow. Thanks for sharing valuable information.

    Liked by 2 people

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