Anybody who has a WP blog will note a major change going on at the moment where WP is trying to force its users down the road of The Block. Some will also have noticed that millions of people are desperately unhappy about that. Unfortunately when you are talking about an organisation that now ‘powers a third of the internet’ millions doesn’t amount to diddley squat.
I’m engaging in a discussion in their forums about this at the moment. This is the last comment I made and I’m curious to know what others think about the situation.
Hi supernovia. Thanks for engaging. I won’t be the first to have written in these forums along these lines.
In a piece of bad timing I wrote an academic paper not long ago, suggesting that WordPress does a reasonable job of sticking to its core original policies. And indeed it keeps to some of them rigorously.
But in other ways not and some would say how could it? We all know it now ‘powers a third of the Internet’ and you can’t do that based on the requirements of your original core users which were that it should be all about a beautiful place to make beautiful print. You will recall the days before The Image became almost everything and then Monetisation became the God of All Who Use the Internet.
If you are just a person who wants to have blogs and put print on them, it is extremely hard to find any resource online that isn’t either image or marketing obsessed. There are some very small sites that recognise the need for the minimalism. Just you, your screen, keyboard and cursor. But of course, we are all scared about ongoing continuity. A little business that promises we all will be for you for ever. Very easy to say.
This puts people like me, who have zero interest in monetisation, nothing on my blogs is about making money, in an invidious position. Didn’t they all die in the great plague of 2010? Those people who wrote blog posts and weren’t trying to sell socks or sex from it?
Maybe this is the bottom line for me. If you are able to power a third of the Internet and counting, then you have a pretty lousy model if you can’t afford to support the Classic editor. Especially since you have received literally millions of complaints about it and there is at least one serious fork as a consequence. Unfortunately the fork isn’t for me either, as it is for business users.
I would be perfectly happy to use a model of WordPress that charged a small amount to keep Classic going. A few bucks a month times millions of users isn’t nothing. But if you tell me that lil’ ol’ WordPress can’t afford to keep the Classic editor going, something is seriously wrong.
As for specific issues with ‘Block’, it is really hard to talk about this with people who aren’t writers. If you are a writer the idea of having your screen the very opposite of a beautifully blank space is very difficult. For example, right now, I’m not writing in the tiny square I get to write comments in. I’m writing elsewhere on a large plain screen and I will cut and paste it here. If you look at your last paragraph, you will see how the relationship between you and me is a total disconnect. What I want is very simple. An aesthetically pleasing screen, not too much rubbish on it, and a large blank space to write as I want to write. Not as WP wants me to write. Not as The Block wants me to write. But whenever anybody says this to WP, somebody like you replies that this isn’t helpful. Tell me if your images aren’t loading properly. Well, you know. You can define as ‘helpful’ things that let you do what you want instead of what we want. But I’m struggling to see, from my point of view, how that is ‘helpful’. As for the idea that we should stick with something that is so immediately and permanently enraging and we’ll get over it. Not happening. For me, anyway.
Part of the issue is what defines a ‘writer’. Most of the people who call themselves ‘writers’ on WP and the internet generally aren’t. Mostly they are like this as a typical model, a ‘stay at home mom who loves cooking and writing about it and getting you to click on something that will make me money’. They monetise their blog in some way. And if you want their recipe for spag bol, you have to wade through incredibly tedious text about why stay at home mom prefers blah blah blah to bleh bleh bleh when they cook something mind-boggingly boring, a bunch of photos ‘this is me about to stir’, ‘this is me stirring’ ‘this is when I’ve just finished stirring’ and finally you have your bingo. You have got to the bit that is just ‘ingredients’ and ‘method’. At which point you discover that the reason it’s buried at the bottom of a very long and slow screen is that it isn’t any good. But hey, the photos were…ummm. Sigh.
It is not that I mind that many million such marketeers exist and probably call themselves ‘writers’. But there is a major difference between a ‘writer’ for whom that means creating words and a ‘writer’ for whom that means if you click on my pictures it’ll take you to Amazon and I’ll make a cent. WordPress is all over the latter. But I do wonder if WordPress thinks it would be so much better if that other type didn’t exist. That type like me.
From what I can gather from my research, there are lots of reasons why people hate ‘Block’. But you can’t do anything to make it work for me since the very idea of being trapped in a ‘block’ gives me….Writer’s Block.