Thank you Cindy Knoke for bringing us this valuable information.
I had to search to find this. Are you aware of the changes to the WP Reader? They are compressing and chopping posts in the Reader to accomplish what they call “streamlining” so the viewer can scan more posts more quickly while seeing less of your content in their reader. What WP is doing is giving your post much less than half the room it used to have in the reader, sometimes only two lines of text if you don’t have photos.
They are also now inserting blogs they promote in your Reader. So they are taking up the room they are saving by compressing your posts in the Reader with blogs you are not following and they are promoting.
This seems manipulative and non-transparent on WordPress’s part and not in the best interest of bloggers.