WordPress.com Reader Update

It seems changes are being made so mobile users can do everything in the WordPress.com Reader.  Why click into a blog to see premium themes and/or customizations and all that other jazz the blogger devoted time and energy into creating there, when you can do it all in the Reader?

The concept of visitors actually visiting a post and reading it on the blog it was published on, is quickly becoming history due to the mobile explosion. The mobile web is growing at a phenomenal rate, and is forecast to overtake the desktop web in 2014 and that’s just a few months from now. Then more people will access the internet for the first time using a mobile phone rather than using a desktop or a laptop.

  1. Publish posts in the Reader ie. here http://wordpress.com/post/
  2. Comment on posts in other blogs in the Reader
  3. Respond to comments on your own posts in the Reader
  4. Respond to responses to comments you made on other posts in other blogs in the Reader
  5. Click like buttons in the Reader
  6. Click sharing button for social media sites in the Reader
  7. Click reblog buttons in the Reader
  8. Browse blogs by Tags/Categories and so on …  Who knows? Maybe the next big surprise will be a live chat feature in the Reader.

Is the WordPress.com Reader is becoming the new black and possibly the new blog?

wordpress.com reader

Here are some excerpts ie. feedback to the latest changes made to the Reader from a forum thread titled – Reader changed? 

  • Headline font is HUGE! Seriously, way too big. And the preview text from the article is double spaced and too big also.
  • I see fewer posts on my screen at a time (so for the same amount of scrolling, I’ll read fewer articles).
  • Additional word count is gone. Now I have no idea if there is an article there or just 4 more words.
  • The tags no longer show above it to help you determine what to expect.
  • I do not want people to view the bulk of my posts via the Reader, thus have no purpose for coming to my blog itself.
  • The reader is now clumsy to use, not at all user-friendly. It encourages people to leave comments without reading the post, what’s the point in that? Now they have to click twice to read a post and then again to close the window when they go back to the reader!
  • I hate the pop up window.  If I am going to have to read something in a window, I’ll just use my RSS feed and not bother visiting WordPress.com at all.
  • I don’t like the popup so I go the extra step to get the original view. I would also like to go back to where I clicked on a blog when I finish reading and not go to the top every time.I too miss the word count and info on how many pictures there might be.
  • The pop-up defeats the purpose of giving thought to blog customization and degrades image quality. Nobody will care to click through to your blog.

Jackiedana (Staff):
We’re reading your feedback and will take it into consideration as we continue to improve both the Reader and WordPress.com in general. Concrete suggestions on how to improve things are therefore very useful to us, as well as any feedback pointing to functionality that may not be working as intended. – Reader changed?

What do you think?

Is the WordPress.com Reader is becoming the new black and possibly the new blog?

Do you have any constructive feedback for Staff on the latest reiteration of the WordPress.com Reader?

Have you noticed that if the post titles were permalinked it would take a single click to read them in the blog? There would be no need for the X on the top left corner and the “View Original ” (link). There would be no need for the passive aggressive  “Sorry this blog allows us only to show the first section of the post. Read full post (link) …” either.

Full Text in RSS Feed or Not?

I don’t apologize for not displaying my full posts in the RSS Feed because I haven’t done so for years. When I first began blogging I quickly learned providing the full post in the RSS Feed makes it easy for blog scrapers to steal it within seconds of publication. I don’t want to waste my time checking to see who has ripped off my posts, tracking down their web hosts and filing DCMA take-down notices to have my content removed from their splogs.  Read more  here  WordPress.com Reader, show full text or not? and take note of the ongoing discussion on page view stats.

NOTE: I’ll be off the grid for 24 hours starting tomorrow at 5 AM, so I won’t know what your response to the latest reiteration of the WordPress.com Reader is until I am back online and able to approve your comments.

UPDATE (November 7) to this update:

They’ve deployed some changes, including now the timestamp in the “stream” view is the permalink to the post.

Clicking on the title still opens the pop-up with the full-text view, but you don’t have to click through there to get to the actual post URL anymore.

They’ve also added back the “xxx more words” and the headline was changed to have a lower line-height value than the “old Reader” did, so it should be more compact.

November 12, 2013

Sometimes the best way to deal with a tool that doesn’t work the way you would like it to and that provokes frustration is to stop using it. That’s what I have decided to do. Here are my last words on the WordPress.com Reader:

I have decided that life is too short to set myself up for repeated disappointments and frustrations. My needs and wants re: the WordPress.com Reader were very simple and yet have not been met and are not likely to be met. All, I wanted and needed was a list of permalinked post titles (direct links) to the most recent post published on the blogs I follow.

It’s clear to me that what I want and need will not be delivered by the WordPress.com Reader and if I continue to use it I will continue to be pissed off every day – day in and day out – by the frustratingly unintuitive design. Therefore, I made the happiness choice this morning and put a smile back on my face. I unfollowed all blogs I used to follow in the WordPress.com Reader.

65 thoughts on “WordPress.com Reader Update

  1. I’ve been away for a few weeks and came back to a mucked up reader. Reading this has helped me understand what I missed. It seems I’ve missed the initial teething problems but I am still not happy with it.

    I am considering abandoning the reader. My options are (as you do) to manually follow a list of sites I like or move to email notifications instead.

  2. I want to thank all of those who commented here. I became too emotionally involved in this issue to respond to each comment but that doesn’t mean I did not read and appreciate every single one of them. I will be visiting your blogs with a smile on my face now as I have set myself free of the WordPress.com Reader. See “Last Words on the WordPress.com Reader” in the post above as I have edited it to include what I have done in response to the latest changes. I have a simple list of the URLs of the blogs I follow and I will visit them as often as I can by using it, until I set up a new feedreader account probably at Feedly.

    1. Hi timethief and everyone else who has taken the time to comment here.
      I’ve been coming across various discussions of the reader issue–and a few others–and thanks very much for this being about the most ‘positive’ discussion I’ve followed so far.

      @sylvia–I think you’ve got a very good point about us being responsible for creating our own sense of community by taking our time and visiting whoever’s blogcasas interest us for conversation and/or content. I’m sure WP will figure out how to keep making money in new ways with or without us.

      Some times I catch things on the Reader, whatever state it’s in, and other days I just visit folks via my blogroll links. For a few I rely on the email notices of new posts–though not all blogs seem to work the same on that score either. I’m not sure. Generally I’m looking for whatever strikes my fancy enough to actually read and comment on in order to let the other person know I’ve paid attention. I don’t know if all the ‘likers’ generate email notices–but in the past those have been decent for finding those people who aren’t sure what to ‘say’ beyond ‘like’. It seems to be a lot of hit and miss on that score–as it is with many communication venues.

      As for changes—the other day I peeked behind my theme to the widgets for some rearranging and discovered all sorts of changes that sent my non-geek grey matter into a tailspin for a time simply because nothing LOOKED quite the same as the last time I’ve gone there. It was like–what wormhole brought me here? But I got over it. :)

      Hopefully we can keep on connecting with each other without any serious hassles.
      Namaste )

  3. [ Whispers ] The WordPress Reader is my favourite WordPress feature of all time (Too bad, I still can’t find myself in it).

  4. Oh TiTi, I am so tired – just when you get the hang of something and into a steady roll . . . now I have to go back into the drawing board to check on being permalinked. Am I or am I not permalinked? I feel so stupid for not even knowing. I do know that I don’t provide the full text in the feed but what is a full text when it is sometimes one photograph with a few words anyway? Plus, I have never forgotten your history!

    For what it’s worth, is WP chasing the Tumblr style?

    (Please know, I want to press “Like” but on so many sites now it is in a permanent state of loading . . .)

    1. @Patti
      I too am tired of it all. I’m not feeling well. It’s the middle of our busy season in the business. I can’t handle the stress of coping with this Reader fiasco. I just unfollowed all blogs this morning and that’s why I can’t answer your question. What I do know is that one has to click the tiny little time stamp clock icon on the bottom left hand corner of that hideous pop-up as that’s where the direct link to the post is hidden away.

      1. Thanks for that tip…I’d never have figured it out, and I’ve been so frustrated trying to get to blogs I read. But as you can see, I still somehow found my way to yours from the reader :-). I think Reader is my least favorite thing about WordPress.

        1. Hi Sylvia,
          I’m so glad you were able to work out how to get here. One would tjink developers would be producing intuitive stuff but they seem to have some other agenda whwen it comes to the Reader. Pwerhaps they are trying to server too many despaiarete grioups of users. I don’t know. I’m just too tired to go through any more of this Reader run around.

          1. TT,

            I think you may be right about the disparate groups of users. I’ve been blogging with wordpress since 2005, and to say it has changed is quite the understatement. Lately, it seems that there is more of an emphasis of the things that generate income for them. WP is a business, and so I suppose we should expect that. But for those of us who have been around a long time, it didn’t use to feel that way, so the changes are disconcerting. I do feel that there has been a lot of emphasis on the high profile – VIP type blogs. And so I think the changes probably benefit them. Our little $30 here for no adds, $90 there for custom upgrade probably just don’t compete with the VIPers who are paying, I forget but $10,000 or something?

            I think really, the only solution for us “small” bloggers, as that we ignore the changes, and just change our behavior back to what it used to be when blogging was fun, and felt like a community. For me, that means I’ve resolved to never like or comment from the reader, but go to the actual page first. Perhaps it is more convenient to do it from the Reader, but then we lose so much of what the blogging experience should be. I prefer to read a few blogs a day, and spend time on the site with bloggers I enjoy, than scan through tons and hit like. It’s so surface.

            I suppose the point of all that long paragraph is this: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you like people to actually come to your blog and read there, then do likewise yourself. If enough of us changed our behavior, then WP changes would really be meaningless. They don’t control who we interact. It’s not out of our control.

            Hope you are feeling better soon.

      2. That’s no good TiTi and hope you are feeling better soon!

        Found the little clock-click but sometimes forget then the merry-go-round starts again . . . . for what my opinion is worth, I suspect more changes ahead, as in a rolling pop-up reader, speed-dating style for commenting and liking, visits optional. Which it almost is now . . ..

        You take care!

        1. I’m just a little peaked Patti – just a little run down and tired but I’ll recover soon. Your speedating analogy could lead to a rant that might even be humorous if I wasn’t too tired to write it.
          All my best

  5. {Sorry if this was talked about above…]
    I read my WordPress blogs through the Reader. I use an Asus eeePad Transformer tablet (Android) to read my blogs thru the Reader. I was confused at first when a pop-up had me read the blog in a teeny little window when I was used to having WordPress open up the blog on the blogger’s site. The pop-up doesn’t work on my eeePad at all, and actually has the comment bar cut right across the middle of the blog post, interfering with reading. I have taken to have the pop-up “open the original” anyway. I wish there was a setting that would turn that off, because it’s an extra step… I hate it when things like this change. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

  6. Is there a way I can contact WordPress about removing a “follower” that appears – from a photo – to be a pornographic site? I was stunned to see this in my e-mail and have reported it as spam.

    1. If it’s a free hosted WordPress.com blog then report it as a mature content blog. See here > http://en.support.wordpress.com/report-blogs/

      Then go to > Dashboard > Settings > Discussion and scroll way down the page to “Maximum Rating” under Avatars and select:
      G — Suitable for all audiences
      Thereafter only avatars that are rated G will be displayed on the blog.

      We cannot block or delete subscribers from public blogs. Everyone on the internet can view and follow any public blog. That is in fact what the public designation means and anyone anyone with internet access can follow your public blog’s RSS Feed.

      1. I followed thru with your suggestions and sent an e-mail to support.wordpress. My blog is already rated “G.” Thank you – as always – for your helpful advice. I do appreciate your efforts.

  7. Thank you so much for this post. I use the Reader nearly every day, and liked to scan the excerpts quickly and click on the title to go to the blog for a post I’m interested in. I think WordPress just implemented this change in the Reader for me in the past few days.

    I hate the change. It would be particularly sickening if someone could click on a YouTube video on a post on the Reader and go to YouTube and never come back. The Reader should be a tool for the WordPress blogging community to access other bloggers and click to go directly to the blog.

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