How is the tag chosen to show in Reader?

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    In the new Reader layout, how does it decide which single tag to show for each post?

    Why is there only one tag shown now, rather than the handful shown in the past?



    Provided you do not enter more than a combined total of 15 Categories and Tags to any post the posts will appear on the Topics pages under all Categories/Tags assigned to it.


    I understand that.

    Maybe you can help me make sense of this:

    When someone searches for a particular tag in Reader that I used in recent posts (as a category, actually), Reader shows my posts okay, and those of others who recently used the searched tag. No problem. Yet looking at the tag displayed in Reader on each of those posts, it seems to be randomly chosen.

    For example:

    In Reader, click “Explore” and search the tag “illegal dumping.” I used it in three recent posts as a category. At the moment there are also three posts from three other blogs who assigned it as a tag, not a category. (Presumably tag vs category does not matter to Reader. They are all “topics.”)

    On the first post by another blogger, the tag shown in Reader is Vancouver BC, one of the tags used in that post. Looking at the post in the blog itself (, there are four tags on it, shown in alphabetical order as usual. Illegal Dumping is the third tag and Vancouver is the fourth. There are no categories shown in that post.

    This goes to my original question. Why did Reader choose to show the Vancouver tag as opposed to any of the others?

    On my three posts in the Illegal Dumping tag search result, they all come up showing the tag “Balsamean” in Reader. They all started showing that same tag in Reader yesterday after I added that category to all my posts for testing. Those posts have several categories each. “Balsamean” is alphabetically the first category in two of the posts, second in the third one, so alpha sequence seems not to matter. Why didn’t it choose the first or third, as in the way it chose the fourth in the Vancouver example?

    In another of the posts in the search result,, Reader shows the tag “Dumping on Oakland.” In the post, that is the single category assigned, and the post has 6 tags.

    What made Reader decide to display Dumping on Oakland as the tag for that post, instead of any one of the other 6 tags on that post? Did it have anything to do with the fact that this post has Dumping on Oakland as its sole category? So far, it seems Reader has always treated categories and tags equally as “topics.”

    My third example, worked out the same way. Reader displayed the “tag” that happens to be the sole category (“News”) on the post, and the post also has 4 tags.

    Thanks for your time and insight on this.



    I’m sorry but I’ll have to tag this thread for a Staff response. I no longer use the Reader very much at all.



    When you create tags or categories for posts, and the blog is publicly viewable and set to be indexed by search engines, any tags or categories for that post will show up as topics in the Reader, assuming the total between the two is 15 or fewer.

    Yes, there is no preferencing of them by the Reader, which looks at them all equally, and displays posts with each tag/category with the newest first and then in reverse chronological order in the Reader.

    I’m not sure what the algorithm is for which of the tags/categories is shown as the one tag on the post, and I’d need to look into that further for you.


    Hmmm… my blog is publicly viewable but is set to NOT be indexed by search engines. How should not being indexed change things in the Reader?

    If I always go above 15 (I never have, yet…), does that mean that no topics will show on my posts in the Reader?


    sensink: If you go over 15, there won’t be an issue of which “tag” / topic shows in Reader, because the post won’t show up in Reader at all because of its 15+ baggage. That doesn’t help, huh? Especially in your case, where you go tagless but do use categories only for internal purposes, not meant to be displayed as a randomly chosen “tag” in Reader. So you can drive your posts out of Reader with tags Tag1 – Tag16, or let Reader randomly pick one of your categories to call it a tag/topic and wave it like a flag to Reader readers. I feel your pain.

    Hi Jackie,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Yes! The algorithm is the issue in my original question. How do they choose which single topic (tag or category) to display in Reader? It would be great if you could find out about that.

    BTW, since from the start in this thread and in sensuousinkspiller’s related forum post, this was about posts that DO show up in Reader, they were always ones with 15 or less tags+categories. That was never at issue.

    I also don’t understand Reader’s displaying only one tag now, as opposed to a handful of them in the past / earlier version of Reader. In the current layout in Reader, it is even more suited for displaying multiple topics than before. Lots of white space next to the one tag it displays. Can you slip that into the suggestion box?


    tt: I don’t use Reader either, at least not for reading. But, like you, I take an interest in how it connects my blogs to the world of Reader users (Readersphere?), especially the mobile ones, who are taking over the world as we speak.



    I checked with our developers and the tag that shows up in the Reader for a post is based on the tag or category used the most, on a per blog basis. We’re currently considering changing how many tags are displayed but a final decision hasn’t been made on that.


    Thank you Jackie. That’s good news, because it gives me a way to resolve my own concern.



    You’re very welcome! If you want to weigh in further on how showing a different tag (or tags) would benefit readers of your blog and the Reader itself, feel free to post a suggestion in the Ideas forum for further consideration.


    I’ll do that!

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