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Account Owners Can't Maintain Their Reading Lists

We've been seeing suggestions, for years, that the Reading List is unreliable.

Many Blogger account owners have reported the mysterious disappearing Reading List. A few have reported a second problem - inability to remove blogs from the Reading List.

Few account owners connect the two problems. The two problems may each affect different account owners. Of the few affected by both problems, not many are likely to see them as having a common cause.

Aggressive cookie / script filters contribute to both problems with the Reading List.

Inability to identify the account owner affects using and maintaining the list.

Both the empty Reading List, and inability to remove Reading List entries, may result from inability to properly identify the account owner. Since the Reading List is unique to each account owner, lack of identification, caused by cookie / script filters, can lead to either problem.

Most account owners can recognise a problem with displaying the Reading List. This problem - even with the cause unknown - is obvious. It's not hard to recognise an empty Reading List.

What's not so obvious, though, is that an account owner, if not properly identified, can't successfully accomplish removal of a blog from a Reading List. Only the owner of the account can request removal of a Reading List entry for that account.

The dashboard Reading List - and the Followers gadget - complement each other.

The Reading List complements the Followers badge. The Followers badge, found on many Blogger blogs, lists everybody who Follows the host blog.

The Reading List, found on many Blogger account owners dashboards, list the blogs which an account owner is Following. In order to remove a given blog from the Reading List, the account owner must stop Following that blog.

You can use either a dashboard script, or a Followers GUI, to un Follow a blog.

The process for Un Following a blog starts from a link on the Followers badge, or in the Reading List. Both the link in the Followers badge, and in the Reading List, lead to scripts that are subject to cookie and script filtering.

In order for you to Un Follow a blog, using the Followers gadget on the blog, you have to identify yourself using the correct Blogger / Google account. When you remove a blog from your Reading List, you are identified by your login cookie - if the cookie is present and is readable - and if the script is allowed to run.

When the un Following is actually done will affect success of the process.

Some scripts run while the account owner is present - and those scripts may return an error message, while the account owner is watching, indicating a problem. Other scripts may run while the account owner is not present. Those scripts, when not successful because of cookie or script filters, can't display an error message, because the account owner is not watching.

In the latter case, the account owner starts the process of deleting a blog from the Reading List - and later finds that the blog was not actually deleted. And then wonders why the blog is still listed.

And this is why.

Account Owners Can't Remove Blogs From Their Reading Lists
Account Owners Can't Maintain Their Reading Lists


VP said…
I don't think this is the complete answer to the problem. I add the blogs to my list via the URL option, not from the Follower list...
Chuck Croll said…

Add another blog to follow - and look at the caption in the popup window.

"Reading List › Add blogs to follow"

When you add a blog to your Reading List, using the "Add" button at the top of the list of blogs, you are adding a new Followed blog. Pure and simple.

Take a look at Follower #494 on your blog. I just used the "Add" button on my Reading List. See Member #494?

"Reading List" is simply an aggregated list of all Followed blogs, for each Blogger account owner.

Now you are probably right, I am willing to bet that this is not the complete answer to the problem. However, having some of the blog owners fix the problems that they can, by not filtering cookies or scripts inappropriately, we can eliminate the problems that Blogger Engineering cannot fix.

If we can eliminate some of the problems that Blogger Engineering cannot fix, they may be able to see, more clearly, the problems that they can fix. And some of the FUD about the "unreliable" Reading List may be put to rest - and this will be good for everybody.

It's a long journey, I'll grant you - but maybe taking the first step will get us somewhere.
VP said…
I see you!

Thanks for clarifying - I'd never twigged I was adding to my Following list by doing that!

At least I know how to clean up my own list now :)
i was just checking my reading list for a recipe (from a blog) and noticed a new blog was added to my reading list without my knowledge. how did this happen? i did not "follow" or "add" this to my reading list. how do i remove it? does this mean anyone can access my dashboard/reading list??? thanks.
Chuck Croll said…

You're Following a blog that either changed hands, or is using a redirected feed.

Identify the problem blog, then let me know the URL.

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