Saturday, 10 September 2016

Blogroll Blues

It would appear that my blogroll is broken. In fact I suspect it's not just mine.

I noticed a few days ago that there seemed to be fewer new posts than I'd expect. If I only used my blogroll to read blogs then I might have just thought it was a quiet week but I read most posts via Feedly and that was still fizzing away like usual.

Cross-checking showed that plenty of blogs were pinging new content to Feedly but weren't being picked up by Blogger. All the ones that don't use the Blogger platform.

A closer investigation suggests that Blogger blogs are updating the roll as normal, including a timestamp, while all the rest have been shuffled to the bottom of the pack. Blogger blogs that haven't seen a new post in months or, in some cases, years now take precedence over non-Blogger blogs that posted earlier today.

Some kind of communication between Blogger and its enemies competitors compatriots must still be taking place because the pack of undated blogs is shuffling itself according to most recent activity - or at least I think it is.

The blogroll just seems to have established a new hierarchy that favors its own. I'm assuming this isn't intentional. It certainly wasn't announced.

It's also possible that it's nothing to do with Blogger per se. For months there have been issues with comments using a WordPress login and I'm wondering if all the affected blogs in the roll are WordPress ones too. It may be a WordPress issue rather than a Blogger one.

If anyone's seeing their non-Blogger, non-WordPress posts being demoted to the lower leagues perhaps you'd call it out in the comments, just for a bit of triangulation. Similarly, if other people are seeing Blogger blogrolls working as normal, please mention that, too. I guess it could be just me...

I doubt that, though, because I took the trouble to check several other Blogger blogs with lengthy blogrolls - Nils, The Grumpy Elf, I  Have Touched The Sky, Null Signifier for example - and as far as I can tell they are all being affected in the same way.

I know that the Blogger blogroll is a well-used and much appreciated convenience, here on my blog and on many others. It would be a very great shame if it ceases to be reliable and trustworthy due to negligence or disinterest on the part of either Blogger, WordPress or any other intermediary. Let's hope someone who can do something about it is paying attention.

In the meantime, until normal service is resumed, you might want to take the trouble to scroll down once in a while.


17 comments:

  1. Yep, having the same problem with mine. I actually noticed that it was on and off for a few days, alternating between working as normal and being broken, but by now it seems to have firmly settled on the latter mode. I'm still hoping that it will be fixed, but with Google's minimal interest in Blogger I'm trying to be prepared for the worst. When my YouTube widget broke, they never fixed that either.

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    1. Yes, it kind of flickered like a dying fluorescent strip for a while and then went dark. Let's hope that's not a metaphor for the whole Blogger operation.

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  2. Ravalation is also affected. Very annoying, as I am using my blogroll as a reader, and have been missing out on a lot of posts from blogs for a while without noticing.

    Google's neglect of Blogger is really a shame. I love the platform for not having adds, being free and highly customizable, but things like this make me long for something else.

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    1. I guess the upside is that if Google do ever decide to abandon Blogger we might actually get something better from someone else. Feedly certainly stepped up to the mark when Google Reader went down. I don't relish having to port five years of content though.

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    2. No, porting five years of content (four for me) would be horrible. We'd probably lose all the comments, too, and those are what I love about blogging!

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  3. According TechDirt, there was some brouhaha within Google due to them forcing Feedburner... part of Google... to change over to using Google's URL shortener, which has some issue. If you want to see if that is in play there, you could try swapping my blog over from the Feedburner feed, which I asked everybody to switch to when WordPress.com's feed was having issues, to the WordPress.com feed to see if that makes any difference.

    WP feed: https://tagn.wordpress.com/feed/
    FB feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheAncientGamingNoob


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    1. I've just tried it with both versions and it puts TAGN in the list twice at different points, one almost at the top of the undated posts. The one at the top is the Feedburner link, which suggests Google is picking up the fact that there's a new post that way, even if it isn't datestamping it.

      Interestingly, though, that makes TAGN the only WP blog that Google still reliably senses activity from. Hardcore Casual, where new posts are also seemingly still being recognized, appears to be some concoction of SynCaine's own that uses neither Blogger nor WP.

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  4. This has been a problem for me too. My other Blogger blog also underwent a background color change that was painful to try to read through, but that has corrected itself. Only about half the blogs in the roll have time stamps, then they go away. Frequently updated blogs such as Massivelyop and Rock Paper Shotgun languish at the bottom of the list. Glad it isn't just me, but it is annoying.

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    1. For a long time I thought the various glitches i was getting were down to my using a non-standard layout but increasingly it just seems to be Blogger being Blogger, unfortunately.

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  5. From my end the non-time-stamped blogs aren't really following any rhyme or reason. I haven't checked them all, but my latest post from earlier today is listed behind some that are days, weeks, or (in at least case) over a year old.

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    1. Yes, I just had a closer look at them and they are all over the place. Can't see a pattern.

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  6. Thanks for the input, everyone. Like Atherne, at least I'm glad it's not just me!

    From what Wilhelm says it looks as if Blogger is the culprit, which is bad news because as Ravanel points out Google hardly seem to remember Blogger exists these days (other than to fiddle with bits that were working perfectly well and thereby break them).

    I also noticed that there's one stray Blogger blog (Gamer Girl Confessions) lurking way down the list in the middle of a forest of WP blogs, so there's even less consistency than I thought. If this situation looks like its going to be the permanent state of things I may just reset the roll to A-Z or, if Blogger allows it, have a Blogger Blogroll and an Everything Else one. I bet they don't let you use the widget twice though...

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    1. You can have multiple versions of the widget if you like, I already do as I have two blogrolls separated by subject.

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    2. Aha! Thanks - I will definitely go down that route, then , if this goes on for much longer.

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    3. Yup, I have a SWTOR, GW2 and LOTRO one up on my blog. One positive thing that may come out of this is that I might finally go use one proper reader thing for all the blogs I follow. And then just use a boring old fashioned stationary blogroll.

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  7. Yay it's working again tonight! Back to lovely timely updates.

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    1. Wow! Yes it is! Fingers crossed it stays that way.

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