AFTER SEVEN YEARS OF BLOGGING … Marilyn Armstrong

WordPress has a lot of issues, most of which they have never fixed and will never fix. Some months ago, my graphics gallery stopped working if any of the pictures included a caption. Sometimes, the gallery just doesn’t work at all and hangs the entire post. Sometimes, I lose the post in the process.

The text shows up in a different format that its designation. The spacing between paragraphs has always been a gamble. They change formatting so often it’s not unusual for your template to become obsolete while you are in the middle of writing a piece.

Landing Titmouse and Junco

Comments disappear entirely or show up days — and occasionally months — after you write them. Or never.

Pictures may or may not show up. The size in which they show up? It’s like playing craps with busted dice. Frequently, the intended picture isn’t in the post or a picture appears that was pulled from a sidebar or someone else’s post. Sometimes photos are much smaller or larger than designated — or appear as a straight line or a black box … or nothing.

They have a lot of text issues they’ve never addressed which is one of the many reasons I strongly objected to them floating a whole new version of text editing when they never managed to solve their previous problems.

Nuthatch

WordPress never repairs anything. Their “happiness engineers” mostly specialize in telling you it’s not a problem. It’s just that one day, half your followers disappeared because they don’t like you anymore.

“Overnight?” you ask.

They explain that you don’t write what people want to read, the implication is that the problem is not their dipsy database, but your writing.

They know this how?

They don’t know anything. What they really know is that they are not there to solve problems, but rather to explain why the problem is not their fault but yours.

Instead of fixing problems, they move on to “something different.” If the new format has issues, they won’t solve them. They will just move on to something else and you can follow … or not.

They don’t care about bloggers unless they are a business prospect. If you aren’t paying the highest price for a business site, they have no interest in you or whatever problems you have.


I’m tired of WordPress. Tired of their bad attitude and failure to realize that we, the writers and creative artists who built their brand are still the people who bring in business. Without us, people would only come to do business and most of their visiting population would be gone.


I’m paid up through 2019 but after that? I don’t know whether I want to continue. I love the friends I’ve made. I get good responses to my work, too. But it’s so difficult to work around the embedded issues that are always part of WordPress. I wonder if I will continue past this year. The main reason I keep going is my friends — who matter — and I’m retired and don’t have that many other things to do.

I love writing. Not answering questions or figuring out how many prompts I can stuff into a 200-word response.

I want to see WRITING. Something new, out of your or my head, using our own ideas.

The audience has changed, the concept of what blogging is has changed. We all used to write about what our world and what was happening. Now, it’s all prompts and “Question & Answer” stuff. Almost no one is writing about what matters to them.

Each day feels less like fun and more like work for which I don’t get paid. The bloom is off the rose.

Ultimately, I’m tired of the hassles of WordPress. They don’t care about us.  No matter how brisk our stats show our response to be, they don’t care unless we are a business application. Why should I pay for a business plan when I don’t have a business?

Junco on a very cold morning

That’s the direction they are going. You, me, all of us who began blogging for the joy of writing or whatever our creative thing is are no longer valued. WordPress does not care. We aren’t making enough money for them. And it isn’t as if they are failing for lack of funding. They just aren’t getting as rich as Jeff Bezos.

If you think it’s bad now, it will be much worse in a year. If there was a viable alternative, I’d be there, but Blogger (Google) has its own issues every bit as bad as these and no reasonable way of directly responding to posts.

Whatever is wrong, you can bet it’s about money. No company wants to simply be profitable. They have to make enough money to rule the world. We are not part of that goal.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

51 thoughts on “AFTER SEVEN YEARS OF BLOGGING … Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. I used to self host. It’s much cheaper and you’ve got maximum control. I moved to the wordpress platform because I was tired of trying to figure out solutions to some of the issues that confronted me. While this platform isn’t ideal, it has taken away my headache. But as I said, it is much more expensive. I don’t believe I could justify a business plan – premium is my limit. Maybe WordPress should introduce a rewards scheme, where people such as yourself are discounted due to time served? It could encourage people to stay and perhaps allow them to be more accepting of those bugs that test us on a daily basis.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have had that gallery problem too, not as bad as you describe but almost every time I would try to insert one my computer would hang. Not just my 7-year-old computer my 2-year-old laptop does it as well. I found that the only way to get around it was to use the new editor which will let me insert a gallery although not with the multiple choices of format that we used to have. I’ve also found that I can’t comment on some posts when I try I am asked to log in even though I already am logged in and in the end, I get fed up with trying.
    Most of the bloggers I read do write about their lives which is what I prefer as well. I do a few prompts and challenges but I don’t want to answer questions all the time either. That does feel like work. if I had wanted to answer long questionnaires I could have become a Scientologist.
    I wish there was an alternative but I think you are right, we are out of step with what WordPress wants or what they think that bloggers want or both. We may have to form a penfriend club and just exchange letters with interested parties.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was thinking that very same thing. Find a way to just keep in touch. Send each other stories and pictures and screw the professional platforms. There’s got to be a way to keep in touch without having to march in step with whatever idiocy WP has in mind.

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        1. I know people who run newsletters via email, so it’s actually not impossible. You just have to keep your list of contact up-to-date — and that’s a little more work than most of us do. But it’s really not impossible. And it wouldn’t cost money, either.

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    2. @Taswegian; WP manages quite often to do the same ‘asking for logging in’ while I’m actually commenting to someone’s blog…. my icon is up there in the right hand top corner, I’ve the ‘bell’ telling me what’s new AND I’m not even a blogger…. I deeply admire all those who go through the hassle of blogging.

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    3. On Messenger you can write to a group and include pictures and links with previews. A group of high school friends uses this for notices on events and keeping in touch with all of us at once. You get Messenger with facebook if you want it, or you can sign up independently. It’s not the alternative to WP, just a way to keep in touch.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. The gallery thing is a mystery. I think it must depend on the theme you are using. Each has different features. If I put a gallery on SERENDIPITY it comes out differently than if I add one to Sunday Night Blog. I don’t know why that is.

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      1. That’s interesting. It used to work fine, I haven’t changed the theme on either of my blogs for some time and suddenly it stopped working. My desktop is old so I assumed it was the culprit and at first I could do it on the laptop but then that started doing the same thing. If it is a WordPress thing I doubt they are going to fix it as they will just say “use the new editor”.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Just change to a new template. You don’t need the new editor, just a new format. If you pay an annual fee, all the templates are free. Pick one that’s similar to your old one and with a little luck, the information will just flow from one to the other. It has nothing to do with the editor OR your laptop. They don’t tell you that your template is about to become obsolete, but it happens, sometimes more often than it should. This one has been working for a long time and I hope it keeps on keeping one because I like it, but sooner or later, it won’t work and I’ll have to change again.

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  3. “We all used to write about our world and what was happening.” To be frank, I live a very boring life and there’s really very little going on in my world that people would be interested in reading about. So I do respond to some Q&A prompts, but I mostly write flash fiction or sometimes political posts. And in many of them I try to stuff as many one-word prompts as I can into a 200 word, give or take, post. I actually consider that to be writing, something new out of my own head using my own ideas. It’s challenging to try to take a half a dozen random words that people throw out on a particular day and to create a cohesive short tale, or to see a photograph and develop a fictional story around it. But most of all, it’s fun. And what comes out is really a lot more interesting and entertaining than anything that is happening in my personal world. I realize and accept, though, that that’s not everybody’s cup of tea. C’est la vie.

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        1. Maybe not as boring as you think. You know the old line about writing? Write what you know? There’s a reason why they say that. Many wonderful books were written by very ordinary people living what could be construed as dull lives, yet the books were often deep and frequently hilarious. It’s all a matter of how you look at it.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the original idea of blogging is just disappearing. Where there used to be many platforms, now there’s just this one and it’s pretty sad. They offer us nothing even though we pay them. There are something like 20 million users on WordPress. Maybe 75% (probably more) are bloggers who pay between $50 and $100 a year. The rest? Free.

      Fewer than a quarter of their users are businesses. Everyone else rides for free for as long as they blog, which seems to be somewhere between a few weeks and a couple of months after which they vanish. I don’t know where they think all the money they rake in from us is going to come from. Business users have plenty of choices. WordPress is just one of many.

      Bloggers, on the other hand, are more or less stuck with WordPress. If our money and creativity disappear, they are in direct head-to-head competition with AWS (Amazon) and Google and who knows who else. In THAT power market, I have a feeling they aren’t going to do nearly as well as they think.

      But they are pushing us out. I saw this coming a couple of years ago and it has arrived. I really don’t know what to do about it. I’ve got time to think on it. I keep hoping another choice will show up somewhere.

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      1. It has always seemed strange to me too that the people whoeffectively pay their wages are the ones to whom they refuse to listen. I’m all for progress and keeping up with technical advances, but give us a choice, for goodness’ sake…or at least fix the things we need fixing!

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        1. They used to fix things. Remember back when they made an effort to help when we asked for it? They had pretty good customer service for years … and then, it started to slide. I think it was when the guy who designed the company got ousted from his CEO position and someone else took over. Some greedier individual who was sure that bloggers were dragging the company down. They needed BUSINESS and we weren’t business enough. A lot of this information about the company is online. I believe they are on the wrong track and that their greed is going to get them, but I’m just a blogger who pays my hundred dollars and gets a place to write and publish pictures. No one asked my opinion — and no one will.

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            1. And that being said, eventually, we will quit anyway because we aren’t going to let them keep rolling over us. Or, at least I won’t. Most of their senior bloggers ARE seniors — or close to it. We don’t actually need them. I love blogging, but not more than my self-respect.

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                1. True. But it would be interesting if we could convince them of that. Although there are a few little breakthroughs — Coca Cola aiming for full recycling by 2020 along with other soft drink makers and a couple of other companies whose ads are more like promos for women’s rights. A few companies ARE trying. If only they would also be nice to their customers too!

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  4. I’ve been here 7?years as well, and have seen it change over the years as well. I really just want a place to express myself,to share it, to read others’ offerings and to stay connected to those I share with. Wp does not make it easy for those of us who want to keep it simple and at this level,and I for one, am glad that you are here –

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m grateful for everyone who still writes because writing is fun. But everything changes. I know that from the rest of life — which also never stops changing. So maybe the idea itself is disappearing. I have a year to think this over, but I’m bummed.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Amen to all of this! I didn’t realise that it SUCH a huge hassle to keep doing what you and others here are achieving. I would be absolutely devasted to loose you, now that I’ve found you!
    BUT I totally get your frustration. Even I get frustrated because some times ‘you’ get deleted from my subscribed blogs, other favourites too, or as I said above, although I AM active right now, I might be asked to sign in ‘again’ (and it’s not as if I were active on another post at the time)….. it’s just a pretty messed up (I would opt for another choice word) situation.
    THANK YOU for staying, for holding on, for plodding on for your joy and ours, for keeping in contact, for letting us participate in your thought process (always a worthy subject and never dull), for your rants and observations, for being you!

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    1. If they would occasionally actually admit there’s a problem and fix it, that would go a long way to improving relationships, but they have acquired the “NEVER OUR FAULT” attitude so common with IT departments these days. Even admitting that you didn’t break it, they did, would help.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You raise some really good points and this is year ten for me. I started to pay for a business plan although I have no business because I was convinced (don’t judge) it would be more satisfying experience. My blog was showing up to people as dreaded SPAM. I noticed there was no “end of year report” sent from WP this year telling of our most viewed and cheering us on. I enjoy many fellow bloggers but not sure what the future holds. Those happiness engineers don’t really know what to do to make us happier.

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    1. Their “happiness engineers” are not engineers nor have they anything to do with happiness.

      Basically, they’ve abandoned us. There’s the platform, with all its glitches and we can use it or not. They just don’t care. The thing is, WE are the people who bring in “new” people and when we get too tired to keep slogging away, half their audience will vanish because the hordes don’t come for the business platforms. They come for the fun of it. Take away the fun, and it’s just another business platform. Like a million others out there. They really don’t get it at all.

      We — bloggers — built the brand. That’s what makes them special. There are literally hundreds — maybe thousands — of business platforms on the Internet. We are the draw. People only go to business sites to get a job done. They don’t drop by for entertainment.

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  7. The biggest frustration, I think, is the pictures. I have tried to make sure there is a picture, not just a video, in the article so that when I reblog to Sunday Night Blog, the picture will come through. Often it does not. Sometimes the header picture or a side bar picture comes through to facebook and/or twitter preview and not one from the article. The header would be OK if it was not cropped so badly in the preview. Sometimes when I look at the font or some changes I wonder if I did that. I know when you fix the format or content, that’s different and distinguishable from random changes from Word Press. The old editor which we still use is workable. That new “Gutenberg” editor they are pushing is not. You are right, it is better than the other blog sites out there and likely has more users and readers than the others. That is a sad comment on the others.

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    1. We actually do very well, collectively and individually. But all these weird problems that are absolutely WordPress’s issues and NOT ours make even simple things complicated. You should just be able to copy a post’s contents and have the header show up automatically. It should be mindless. Sometimes copying pictures doesn’t work. In which case I copy the picture separately from the rest of the post and that usually works. If that doesn’t work either — I use a different picture. But it shouldn’t BE that difficult. It really shouldn’t.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Generally, so do it. Except when I don’t. Usually, I copy everything and past it down in a new form and voila, done. A little cleanup of old typos and it’s finished. But now and again, the text goes totally weird, changes sizes. The pictures vanish or are completely wrong-sized and eventually, I start over again in a new form and mostly, it works. There are some problems built into WordPress’s format which having never been fixed, pop up something for no particular reason. Actually, I’m sure there IS a reason, but figuring out the reason is above my pay grade.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I would love it if you’d write a piece about what blogging means to YOU. I’m one of the crowd who does the Q & As and stuffs as many prompts as I can in a short story. But, for me? That’s one facet of my blogging. I can share a bit of myself that way and not worry about hackers or ID thieves gathering up what probably shouldn’t be shared ‘on line’ any way. And I love short stories, they’re my best work (IMHO). But I get discouraged when I read that you, whom I admire and look up to as perhaps one of the best examples of what a ‘good’ blog ought to be, say that’s fluff and not worth anything. And I think (hope) that the personal bits I do share about my world are frequent enough. But when one’s world is comprised of ill health and a sour attitude (as mine is in the winter months) why keep writing about it? I’m sick of my own voice in that arena. And grousing about that horror show in Washington D.C. and how bad things are and how much worse they keep getting just feeds my depression to the point that I have to think suicide is a viable option. I’m going to start researching what other blogging sites have to offer and I’ll share that. If I find one that might hit all the buttons, I’ll share it and encourage the writers to go there. I’ll hope to see you, but I know you’ve invested so much time in this site that you’re daunted to go elsewhere and ‘start over’. Just my $1.50 worth as usual.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Maybe what’s happening is that writing a blog is no longer the same for you it was 7 years ago. Maybe it’s not giving you what you want as a person, or a writer. Maybe the little glitches of WordPress (most of which I haven’t encountered because, maybe, I just don’t care as much or expect as much) are more frustrating to you now because your heart isn’t in it. Maybe it’s just time to take a break or write different things than you have until now. I don’t know. Change that we control is often good and an opportunity to grow as writers. I like Melanie’s idea of your writing a post about what blogging means and has meant to you.

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    1. And because I’ve been doing this a long time, I’ve bumped into more issues than people who only use a little bit of the platform. For example, I use a lot of graphics and you don’t use as much. Many problems I encounter are graphic, not text, And you are right insofar as I’m tired. I’ve been doing this a long time and I don’t have the energy I had. Time and effort have had their way. What I’ll do? Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe just do less.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t see why it’s such a big deal. For me this is a totally elective activity. A person can take chances with it if they want to, try out new things, stretch their writing or whatever it is they do. I’ve been doing this six years — when I don’t feel like doing it, I don’t do it. Breaks always help. Personally (not very since anyone can read what I’m about to write) I think pain, winter, and politics have led you into a kind of depression. That makes total sense to me.

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  10. I understand Marilyn as it happened to me too. You put your heart and soul into something and it’s gone, just gone, nowhere to be found. It happened to me too. 1 1/2 years worth of effort wiped off the slate as though it had never existed. Stories written, disappeared. I was heartbroken and wasn’t sure I wanted to continue so I get it. I’ve been forced to download the latest version of wp and I’m having a miserable time learning how to work it, ie can’t change the font, paragraphs don’t work, it creates blocks when I don’t want one. I fell in love with wp when my son found it for me. Here were honest to god writers, sharing, caring, involved. The format and how you do it doesn’t matter to me, whether its q and a or in-depth articles. I love them! I love the heartfelt care that comes from your souls, not just words on a page, but real valuable thoughts ideas and more. Love you Marilyn! Hope you can continue. I’d miss you terribly to be honest.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. im so technically inept that it’s a wonder i get anything posted. i have a horrible time with “spacing” and what shows in the preview is often not what gets posted. what are previews for then? i don’t know that anybody else would be better though and i might then have to relearn a bunch of stuff – so i’ll stick with this till i know different. all in all it’s been mostly ok for me.

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