I’ve been running all of my personal websites on WordPress platforms since 2007. That’s when I moved off the Blogger/Blogspot platforms I’d been using since 1999, which had followed four years of cold-coding my sites via hand-crafted html pages FTP’ed into the ether over a slow modem. I’m long-time online, for sure. I’ve been happy with the WordPress experience over the years, and equally happy to pay for a $100 premium account every year for each website I still care for. That investment gives me advertisement-free experiences for my readers, enhanced media hosting capabilities, and various other behind-the-scenes benefits. Beyond my personal websites, I have either launched or relocated a variety of professional sites on WordPress over the years, and have recommended that others do the same if they want to create affordable, adaptable, easily-usable platforms for sharing quality content in pleasant formats online. I think I qualify as a loyal, trustworthy WordPress customer accordingly.
But as is so often the case in our technological times, WordPress has decided that what made its platform best for me, and many others, is not really what we want. They rolled out a new editor (e.g. the page where writers create, format and post content) in late 2018, and I found it utterly awful, clearly prioritizing quick-load, short-attention-span cell phone and tablet functionality over any other considerations for “big screen” users, who might actually have a vested interest in the aesthetics of their pages. But that was okay at the time, because as a long-standing user, they allowed me to keep using the “Classic Editor.” Good choice. Let the n00bs learn the new platform which, while trying to give everyone the ability to do things that 95%+ of them will never want or need to do, ends up doing the basic stuff poorly and in a most counter-intuitive fashion.
In recent months, every time I’ve created a new post in the Classic Editor, I’ve gotten a pop-up saying (essentially) “New ‘Block Editing’ Goodness Is Coming!”, but it has featured a “Not Now, Nope, Nuh-Uh!” opt-out button, which I’ve happily pushed, and gotten on with what I wanted to get done. Still no hurt, no foul. But then when I hit the “New Post” button a couple of days ago to create this, the crappy new Block Editing system (also known as “Gutenberg”) appeared before my dismayed eyes, without any opt-out options obvious. Dammit!
I waded with deep annoyance into the counter-intuitive morass, where it took me much longer to create a post than should have been necessary, and where there were things that I wanted to do that I couldn’t. Please note well that I’m an accomplished and sophisticated long-term communications technology user with strong computer problem-solving skills, generally able to figure out whatever I need to figure out, so this isn’t just a case of a dumb old person being befuddled by a shiny new application rolled out by and for the kidZ. It’s really just objectively bad. So I looked into how and whether I could return to the Classic Editor, and learned that WordPress was, indeed, offering an Add-On that would allow users that luxury — but in order to access and load it, I’d have to upgrade to a Business Account, at a cost of about $200 more per year that I’ve been paying. No Effing Thank You.
A quick survey via Google shows I’m not alone in thinking that this upgrade is a real stinker. Two of the most long-term and accomplished bloggers I know, Roger Green (15+ years of daily posting) and Chuck Miller (10+ years of daily posting) both beefed about it on their pages, and I feel compelled to join them in lodging my protest. I hate when companies do things like this. I hate change for change’s sake. I hate not being given a choice in how or whether to go along with such change. I hate that I have to waste a post telling you that I hate how I have to make a post. Hate it, hate it, hate it. Bad tech company! BAD!!! [rubs tech company’s face in soiled mess on virtual carpet, while hitting it with rolled up virtual newspaper]
As is typical, of course, nerds gotta nerd and geeks gotta geek, so folks are already figuring out some work-arounds. If you are an equally frustrated WordPress user, you can click on the links to Roger and Chuck’s pages in the preceding paragraph to learn about some of them. I’m using one now, happily clattering away in Classic Editor, without having to pay more for it. (Though I’ve learned that if I press the “Edit” button to tweak something on the post once it’s published, I’ll get jammed into Block Editor World again, so I have to go through several other back-of-house steps to avoid that). I suspect the work-around I am using will be short-lived, as I can’t imagine that WordPress will allow such a loophole to remain open once it spreads widely and cuts into their anticipated new Business Account revenues. Grumble.
I really have no desire to move my platform, and hope I don’t feel obligated to do so. But this is shitty customer service in support of a shitty product that people have been actively resisting for nearly two years now. I think it’s important that WordPress hears such sentiments from folks who have been with them since their earliest days, either paying them for the privilege, or generating advertising revenue for them via free accounts. Feel free to share, cross-post, or otherwise deploy this piece if helpful to making the point in your own sandboxes.
In closing: please don’t poke us with any more sharp sticks, WordPress. It’s not nice, not good for the community you’ve built, and not a worthy reflection of the technological face you want to show to potential new customers. Did I mention “grumble” and “hate it”?