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The Mysterious Reading List Becomes Even More So

This week, we're seeing a noticeable increase in reports about problems with reading list content.

People are, once again, reporting empty reading lists - and many deny the suggestion that computers used by the readers might have anything to do with the problem. Neither filtered cookies / scripts, nor using the wrong Blogger account, appears to be involved in some of this weeks problems.

One account owner reported having cleaned her Reading List - and after having removed just one entry from the list, the Reading List content became visible, again.

This suggests that the owner may be following too many blogs - or possibly, following one blog which recently increased feed size. Either could be true, based upon the common complaint.
I didn't change anything! It just stopped working, last week, on its own!!

The problem, as reported, resembles the different causes of the earlier discussed dynamic template problems.

Unfortunately, there is no Reading List setting, similar to the adjustable "Timeout" variable in the dynamic templates, that might easily provide relief from the Reading List problems.

If an excessively large reading list is responsible for this weeks problems, the problem could have either of two causes - and each cause could have different success in diagnosis.
  • Simply following too many blogs.
  • Following one blog, which now has a relatively large newsfeed.

Some people may be simply following too many blogs. This should be easy enough to diagnose, and to treat. If enough people, complaining of the problem, are able and willing to state their Reading List size, we can simply recommend that they each reduce Reading List size - by deleting one entry at a time, until the problem goes away and their Reading List shows content, again.

Other people may be following one blog, which now has a relatively large newsfeed. The size may be caused by meta content caused by Base64 encoded images, or by use of Microsoft Word, in composing posts.

In either case, identifying a problem blog in ones Reading List, by visually scanning the Reading List content, may not be easy. Every helper in the forum knows how subtle a Base64 or MSWord problem can be - when diagnosing auto pagination problems, for instance.

In the latter case, it's unlikely that simply un following single blogs, one at a time, will be consistently useful. One blog, with Base64 or MSWord content, could be the size of half a dozen properly formatted blog newsfeeds.

Identifying a problem blog won't be an easy task. The problem blog, in any one Reading List, could be the blog most recently followed - or it could be one that has been followed for months or years.

We should also point out that if your computer filters inappropriately or you are using the wrong Blogger account, you won't be able to use Blogger: Manage Blogs I'm Following - or even Google Friend Connect: Sites I've joined - because neither will list blogs being followed by an improperly identified account.

At any rate, we now have a new Rollup Discussion, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, where we are requesting details from everybody who is experiencing this problem.

While we wait for action by Blogger Engineering, everybody experiencing this problem is strongly urged to contribute their details to the Rollup Discussion. Problem diagnosis being as it is, any one person, contributing their details, might contribute the one essential detail that leads to successful diagnosis of the problem.


Marilou said…
How would one go in and delete the size of their reading list if it had disappeared? Not sure I quite understand that solution, Marilou
Chuck Croll said…

Simply remove one Reading List entry at a time, until the problem goes away.
Marilou said…
If one had a Reading list to delete from, one would not have the problem we are addressing:)
Ms. A said…
Mine disappears quite frequently and has for a long time. Refreshing brings it back, although sometimes it takes doing it several times.
Chuck Croll said…

If your Reading List maintenance list wizards (both Blogger: Manage Blogs I'm Following and Google Friend Connect: Sites I've joined) are empty, I say again, you have a problem with being identified - and have either a cookie / script filter problem, or you are using the wrong Blogger account.

Your problem is not related to the Reading List, if neither maintenance wizard displays blogs.

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