What’s Wrong with the WP Reader

Honey suckle 1

Honey suckle 1

Heads up – Rant follows. Should you wish to avoid it, you can skip straight to the like button!!

This post will take 5 1/2 minutes to read. GO! I’m timing you!


Display, Font size and Brightness.Β I can’t see this!

The new Reader is virtually illegible. The print is so faint on a bright background that it really strains your eyes to try to read it. Adjusting the brightness on your laptop or tilting the screen makes little difference and your only option is to increase your zoom in an attempt to read this faint smudge.

I read most of my follower’s posts in the Reader, because my internet is rubbish and so slow that I usually cannot load the original blog. (But I will visit your blogs from time to time and keep up with how your posts are actually supposed to be.)

I waited a while after the new Reader first appeared, to see what other people were saying and if anything would be done about this particular problem. When I realised nothing was going to happen, I commented.

Scifi The writing in the new Reader is harder to read as it appears grey rather than black on a very bright background. I don’t know if the font has changed also?

A day and a half later I received this reply.

WP – Yes, the font has changed.

So, not addressed my problem at all.

I wrote again.

ScifiΒ – It is really difficult to read this print, as it is so pale. I am not alone in this. Please can you choose a clearer option? Titling my laptop screen or altering the brightness does not help. I have increased the zoom, but it is still very tiring trying to read posts in my Reader now. Otherwise, the speed has definitely increased, so thank you for that πŸ™‚

This time I received no answer at all, though, eventually, my comment was approved and the reason I knew this, was that someone else had liked my comment.

I see Tom commented twice also and he fared better in receiving a reply both times. However, they basically told him thatΒ this is the new Reader, get used to it, because we are not going to change it.

Someone complained that the selection of ‘Posts you may like’ had disappeared. The response was, “Yes it’s gone. Did you use it often?” (She/he did.) If WP communicated with us they would know this before they started changing everything.

Many people commented unfavourably on the new Reader, but I do not see their complaints addressed – as yet. They complained that all posts look generically the same now, photos do not appear to their best advantage, poetry is not presented in the way it was carefully written, but in one long jumble of words, (see my Haiku post Swan yesterday. It made no sense whatsoever the way it appeared in the Reader!) and other things.



Now there is a tiny one line comment box when you try to comment from the Reader. The send button is at the right hand side next to the up/down arrows. As you use these arrows to try to read your comment one line at a time to check for typos, you are always accidentally pressing ‘send’ long before you are ready!

Now, after complaints (Doh!) there is a little feature on the bottom RHS of the comment box, which you have to click and drag to expand the box.Β Yet more clicking.


Featured image

Now you have to set a featured image to make sure that the first photo shown in the WP Reader is the one you intended, when you placed it first in your post! More clicks and time wasting here!
In the old Reader, the photo that appeared in the Reader was the first one you placed in your post. As people have pointed out, it spoils the whole effect you have worked for in your post, by building up to the final photo, only to see it flaunted there in the Reader!

Like most other bloggers, I take a great deal of time making my post the best I can and that means deciding which photo to place where to illustrate the story I am unfolding.

Further to this, I find that having set this featured image, when I now go to my actual blog, this image is shown at the start of the post – and then again in the post. How daft is that?


Like Button

I am not 5 years old. I do not need to see the like button flash and cavort before settling down, lit in orange to indicate that I have liked a post! And why are the number of likes no longer indicated, but the comments are?

I always noted the likes on other peoples blogs. Sometimes when browsing through new blog topics in the Reader I’d see a post with over a hundred likes and go check it out. Likewise, I’d notice what I thought was a good post with no likes and also go check it out and offer some support and encouragement to a new blogger.

Surely if you can make something dance and flash you can get rid of the word ‘like’ and replace it with a number?



Apparently this is the little picture you set up so people know it is you. With the old Reader, my Avatar or Gravatar showed perfectly well. Now, along with just about everyone else’s, it became the generic blue and white world circle sign in a square. If you want your Avatar picture to show there now, you have to do the following :-

Click on this link and follow the instructions.Β Blavatar

Basically go to your Admin (the old Dashboard may it RIP) and



RHS is Blavatar –

Upload your image

Crop to size,



What I have to say to WP

I appreciate that the WP system needs overhauling and updating now and then. But before changing something so important as the Reader (and before that the Notifications) and implementing your own ideas, why do you not ask us, the bloggers what we want?

Ask us our experiences before you go ahead and change everything.

You could find out what we like or don’t like about the current Reader and what we’d like to see or not see in the new Reader. If, by this involvement of the WP community, there was a consensus to make the print faint and unreadable in the new Reader, then I would have to bow to the majority, who would apparently have 20/10 vision, and accept the changes.

While we’re on the subject of asking our opinion, why not have a survey and find out who actually uses WP?

Ask about age groups: are bloggers eg 30 to 40, 40 to 50 etc. I would be interested to find out the average age, as I suspect that many youngsters would prefer fb, twitter and/or Instagram.

Also find out how often they post and what they post: photos mostly, writing, combination. What do they use: laptop, iPad, phone?

And yes, I know I get all this for free, but how does WP make its money from people like me? Well, I assume by the adverts.

And if we, the bloggers, get fed up and stop blogging (I am seriously considering this: I am tired of squinting and tilting my laptop) there will be nowhere for the advertisers to place their ads, and you WP will lose your income.

So, do I think that all my grumbling will make one jot of difference?Β Nope; since ‘speaking’ to WP directly did not work.

But I feel better for venting!


DisclaimerΒ This is my own personal rant and probably has as much to do with my annoyance at the ‘younger-instant-gratification-click-generation’ that runs (ruins) our internet experiences, as anything else. Yes, I have Windows 8!

post script: I do not just vent indiscriminately. I have edited this post 19 (make that 22) times over a period of 5 days.

50 thoughts on “What’s Wrong with the WP Reader

  1. faburlifekhloe

    Sorry to hear it Sci! I rarely use reader these days, but I totally agree with you that you should have asked what we like and dislike first. They tend to change the settings based on their preference and we have to follow whatever they have changed. This is not we wanted I’m sure. I know they are trying to improve, but I do believe valuing end users’ opinions is very important.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rachel M

    Ok, I’ve been wanting to comment on your post but have been waiting to get a bit more information about the changes to the Reader first.

    Regarding the font/brightness/contrast, I’ve passed your feedback along. I’m not sure what the plans are for this but our developers are aware of the issue. It might help to send in a screenshot of how it looks on your computer if you get the chance. Would you be interested in doing that? If yes, send an email to help@wordpress.com and let me know so I can fish it out and pass the image on to the right team.

    For the comment box and the small size, there are plans in progress to change this. I’m not sure when exactly but I suspect in the fairly near future.

    For featured images, you can still publish a post without a featured image and the Reader will use an image in the post. It’s not a requirement to set a featured image but it does give you some control over which image will display in the Reader.

    The Like button, yes you’re right, I can’t see a tally for the number of Likes in the Reader stream. I’ll pass this along as a feature request.

    The Gravatar was also changed to the Blavatar in the Reader stream. The Blavatar is your site icon, or favicon. It looks like you’ve already figured out how to set this. I don’t think they’ll change this back as it makes more sense to have the blog icon there. It’s a quick way to distinguish between different blogs as you scroll down the list since the blog icon is specific for your site. It’s also good to have a Blavatar anyway as this is what will display in the browser tab when your site is open. Does that makes sense?

    I tend not to use RSS Readers, including the WordPress.com Reader, as I prefer to get email notification of posts and then I click through to sites from my inbox. This is why I was a bit unsure about some of these changes and this is why I took so long to comment! Sorry about that. But I’ll be very happy to pass your feedback along.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. scifihammy Post author

      Hi Rachel and thank you for your detailed reply.
      I have emailed some screen shots to help@wordpress.com
      Yes, I think the comment box is being worked on.
      I do have to set the featured image when I have more than one photo, as I do want the first photo in my post to be seen first.
      The Blavatar info I got from the comments in that WP Reader refresh post, and included the instructions on my post, as many were not aware of this. It’s fine, as it is a once off adjustment and I have no problem with it, now I know what needed to be done.
      I do all my blogging from the WP Reader, as do many others. I read all the posts there. My internet is so bad during the week it is impossible to visit actual blogs – they do not load.
      This is why I would like the text to be more legible. I did not have a problem with the old Reader, so I am hoping this can be fixed. If you read some of the comments on this post, you’ll see I am not alone. At the moment I have to tilt my laptop to try to get the best legibility.
      On a very positive note, the speed is much improved, and I do prefer the new Reader when you click to read a post, that it opens up fully.
      Just as Mike said in my comments – Did you post something? The darn font is so light I can hardly see it.
      Thanks again πŸ™‚


      1. Rachel M

        Thanks so much for the screenshot. They’ve just increased the font weight of the font in the Reader. Can you have a look and let me know if it’s easier to read for you now?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. scifihammy Post author

        Thank you so much!! I reloaded my Reader – and YES! I can read it more easily now. That adjustment has made all the difference. πŸ™‚
        Please pass on my Thanks to the WP team. I am very grateful that they addressed our issues. I know all the others like me who have been struggling to read posts, will also be very grateful.
        And Thank You to you too Rachel, for taking the trouble to sort this out for me, when it wasn’t your problem. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Joseph Nebus

    My biggest problem with the Reader, and a lot of what WordPress is doing now, is that I have an awful Internet connection — low bandwidth and balky — because AT&T doesn’t want to serve Lansing, Michigan, and is trying to dump us as customers. But the side effect is that the kind of bandwidth-heavy, Javascript-heavy, endlessly-streaming thing is exactly the kind of web page that doesn’t render at all.

    So on top of the user interface catastrophe of not realizing that tiny off-grey text on off-grey backgrounds is a bad font choice they’ve added the user experience catastrophe of making it not actually work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. scifihammy Post author

      I have exactly the same problems as you with poor internet and what WP is doing doesn’t help matters.
      Maybe someone from WP will hear our comments?


      1. Joseph Nebus

        That’d be nice to think, but I know it won’t happen. Designers work on the assumption of high-speed, reliable bandwidth and never test what things are like in rotten conditions. It’s like music producers who engineer the production to incredible precision and never listen to what it sounds like on a car’s cheap stereo when the radio is cutting out.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. scifihammy Post author

        WP has just improved the font in the Reader, so it is a little more legible now – I mention this in my post later today. As to our poor internet, I guess we will always be lagging behind; certainly over here in SA.


  4. Midwestern Plant Girl

    I love your rants. Am I strange? πŸ˜‰
    I don’t use the reader on my ‘puter as it was not friendly the day I started blogging in January 2013. I use the app. No fuss.
    Let me ask you this. . Are you posting complaints in response to a post a WP employee wrote? If so, I feel that will for sure fall on deaf ears. I do pay for a ‘Non WP site address’ and can address the “complaint dept” when I need to pitch my bitch and that had worked like a charm in the past when I have bitched. I have seen the updates have addressed my specific complaints (like being able to set a static upload size for photos, comments disappeared when phone was tipped landscape, and not having as many edit buttons in the app)
    Not sure if the ‘free folks’ have this option. I think you may be able to search the bitch department, but not use it (?) Ie post a complaint.
    I need to write this afternoon on my ‘puter (I do still use my ‘puter to write after uploaded my photos via the app). I’ll actually pull up the ‘new and improved reader’ and see what you’re ranting about. I’ll then go check out the bitch section and email you anything I find.
    PS I had no idea about the gravatar thing. I still see handsome Mr. SL in all his cuteness on my blog, so I’m confused.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. scifihammy Post author

      I follow WordPress.com news and this it what they posted about the new Reader –


      I commented – along with 230 others before they closed the comments – on that WP post, and the response was from that WP person.

      I can only use my laptop to blog – I have nothing else.

      I had to add a photo to my Blavatar – to keep TJ (not SL actually) smiling at you all.

      And I think it is probably different on a phone as opposed to a computer?

      And Thanks for liking my rants! I do try to be at least sarcastic while I’m ranting! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Midwestern Plant Girl

        I have gotten onto the puter and had to consult your blog for the blavatar dealio! Mine was the blue world =P
        Oops, sorry about the TJ / SL mix-up. It is a pretty small photo.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. scifihammy Post author

        I’m sure many peeps have no idea they are now generic on the WP Reader! Glad you have a face again. πŸ™‚
        And no worries over the TJ/SL photo – I’d not had SL long when I started blogging, and the best dog photo I had for an Avatar was old TJ. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    1. scifihammy Post author

      Yes, I think you are right about the mobile devices thing – the notifications seemed to go that way. Good for you Twittering πŸ™‚


  5. pensitivity101

    I hate the new reader. It’s more difficult to follow, and I’ve discovered that in some instances posts are in between posts I’ve read previously and I can miss them. The cute little swirl on the ‘like’ button is tiresome, and yes, I liked to see how many ‘likes’ a post had. As for the time it takes to read, pfft. At least they brought back the number of words. WP is forever fixing things that ain’t broke!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. scifihammy Post author

      Oh, I’ve also found that – with a new post appearing down among the ones I’d already read. I was puzzled! And yep, I jokingly said you had 5 1/2 mins to read my post – I see they gave it 5 mins in the WP Reader! πŸ™‚
      I’d put up with all of it if I could just read it more easily! Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Midwestern Plant Girl

        I guess I didn’t pu the 5 minutes to read this thang. Are you saying the reader gives you a time limit to read a post? Seriously? Really? That is lunacy! Farting crazy! I can’t wait to open my reader now, to see this craziness!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. scifihammy Post author

        Yes, when the new reader first appeared it no longer gave the number of words in a post, but an estimated reading time! Everyone mocked it, so they have put the number of words back, but still can’t help themselves, apparently, with the reading time. My joke of 5 1/2 minutes to read my post wasn’t far off – they gave you 5!! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Midwestern Plant Girl

      I can answer the part about posts happening ‘in between’ posts you’ve already read. It’s the ‘posters’ fault. 😨
      If someone starts writing a post today and is called away to take out the rubbish, cook dinner, then take the dog out.. THEN finally returns to their post to finish writing and post. The post will reflect the exact time they STARTED writing the post and if they don’t change the ‘publish time’ on the post, technically, when they hit publish, it will appear in the past in the people who follow them’s reader.
      This is how they get out of order. And how a post can get missed in the reader.
      Is them’s a word??? πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      1. scifihammy Post author

        Hmm – this could explain it, but I have only noticed it since the new Reader came into effect, so yeah, let’s blame it on that! πŸ˜‰
        Also, I keep saving my post as a draft, and if I publish, it appears at that moment, not the 5 days ago that I began writing it. So I don’t know.
        ‘Them’s’ is a word now! You just made it so! πŸ™‚ Purists may use ‘their’ but I refer them’s πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Midwestern Plant Girl

        Maybe it was because you do save, that it goes to the ‘newest’ date. But, sure! Let’s blame the reader!! =-O

        Liked by 1 person

    1. scifihammy Post author

      Yes, I did see your comments on their WP post πŸ™‚ I doubt anyone from WP is listening, which is why I had my rant. The new Reader is faster – but that’s about the only positive that I can find. Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚


  6. Genie

    Yeah, WP has made a lot of stupid changes, the reader for one, another one is that one can no longer add WP as a ‘verified site’ to their gravatar profile, now get this — one can add other ‘verified sites’ as long as they are notWP?! such as their twitter, facebook, google blog and/or profile, linkedin, skype, etc. Why on earth do they not allow a person to add their WP as a ‘verified site’? …it *only* adversities their won site! how dumb is that?
    As you say, poetry is now in a long string of words, not poetry friendly, that’s for sure, along with a whole lot of other things wrong with the new reader.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mike Fuller Author

    Did you post something? I’m not sure since THE DARN FONT IS SO LIGHT I CAN HARDLY SEE IT! Jeepers, what are these WP page screwer uppers, 12? I guess they haven’t passed that age where their eyes are catching up with the rest of their failing bodies. I too have, without effect, complained to WP. The 12 year old web gremlins are laughing and hoping all of us over 12 will just die already. What will they screw up next? What was that link to google plus again?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. dizzylizzie72

    Wow, I am slow, must have taken me 6 minutes to read that. I have noticed a lot of problems with WP and one is trying to read this gray colored text. Do not know what the answer is or how to fix it. I also have windows 8, which is not my favorite version of windows. Hang in there, these young twirps may get the message someday and fix things.

    Liked by 1 person

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