Dear WordPress: Your New Editor is Terrible

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”?

“Anger” by William Blake. Because there’s a Blake painting for every mood and moment.

22 thoughts on “Dear WordPress: Your New Editor is Terrible

  1. I’m using it because I have to, but the block editor is terrible. You can only hope that the way it rearranges your classic text and images is not how it’s going to look when you convert a page to blocks, and sometimes entire sections just disappear. It’s still possible to go to WP admin and use the classic editor, but they are making changes to that too, and it gives a warning that anything converted to blocks may be lost if you edit in the classic editor. What they should do is maintain both of them as separate platforms so we can chose to keep the editor that actually works or the block editor for newbies. The other annoyance is the non-user-friendly changes to the tools on the right. Sometimes it’s even impossible to find them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep to all you said. I suspect it is only a matter of time before the WPAdmin backdoors close and you will have to have the $300 Business Plan to put the add-on back in. It really does seem to be about prioritizing the stripped-down AMP presentation of things. But I hate that. For better or worse, I do care about and put thought into the overall visual LOOK of my website, not just the flow of words. Laughable that WPs justifications for the changes cite greater and easier flexibility on that front as rationale for block editor . . .

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: What’s Up in the Neighborhood, October 10 2020 – Chuck The Writer

    • Much appreciated, thanks for sharing! Given high churn rates in the blogosphere, it has been interesting to see how many long stable and productive bloggers are openly annoyed by this latest round of change for change’s sake . . .

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve just seen the new editor today. Oh my gosh, it sucks so much.
      Thank you for this! I wouldn’t have picked up on that.

      I just don’t get why companies feel the need to downgrade their software, and tell us they’ve made it better! Mozilla did the same with Firefox desktop years ago, which made me switch to Opera, and the same with Android more recently, making me switch that to Opera too.

      I just don’t get it. It’s almost like they want us to jump ship. Like someone else said, the people making these changes are probably the ones who don’t use it. Classic editor is so easy to use. This new block crap creates such messy code, and I had to look up a tutorial just to work out how to add an image.

      WordPress, we’re supposed to be going up, not down! Will they listen? No.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The fact that they’ve been pushing it since December 2018, with most long-time WP writers not wanting to have anything to do with it, just makes it all that much worse . . . I’m glad for the work-arounds. Not sure what I’ll do when/if they decide to shut those back doors down!

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        • I always loved how easy and “straight out of the box” WordPress was, both the .org and the .com versions. And yes I grumbled each time they made changes (I think I started with the org version in about 2003?), but at least it was still usable. I mean beep beep boop was bad, but I could still use it when forced to without having to look up a damn tutorial.

          This new block rubbish is like a very bad April Fool’s joke.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Leaving WordPress | Oak Bay Starfish

  4. It doth sucketh, indeed. I read that they will “support” Classic Editor until 2022. Then what?
    BTW, the Times Onion blog still is using Classic Editor. A worst-case scenario would be for me to compose there and then add the graphic and copy the text.

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  5. As I said before, we live in a society where people aren’t happy with what works. They want to modify it, to the point where it’s no longer functionable, just for the sake of what they think will be better. Eliminating ties in hockey with the shootout, for example. The goofy-ass rules in college football overtime. It’s like trying to figure out that if a three-legged stool doesn’t wobble, taking one leg off and making everybody use a two-legged stool in the thought that it might be an improvement.

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    • The biggest problem I have is the fact that you can no longer just paste a YouTube URL and have the video appear – or rather the video does appear but it obliterates the text. To be fair, the WP support person was very helpful, and talked me through a rather fiddly work-around. This did work on that post, but when it came to the next one, it didn’t and I was given an alternate, even more complicated route.

      Grrrr….

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    • I used Blogger/Blogspot from about 1999-2007ish. WordPress was a big improvement at the time. Would be ironic if that older, simpler platform becomes a preferred hosting site again because WordPress alienates its long-term users.

      Like

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