BETRAYED AND SEEKING NEW HOME

Like many others, I’ve found the “new” WordPress block editor to be clunky and awkward to use. It doesn’t matter where I use it. It’s equally difficult on my 15.6 inch PC laptop as it is on my 14-inch Mac. I’m not a phone blogger, but that’s because I don’t see well enough to be able to edit on anything that small.

Some people feel their problems are linked to trying to use the block editor on a phone, but the real problem is the poorly thought-out software design. It has made it difficult to work with images and impossible to use when having written text, you now want to add graphics. Why such a massive failure? Because whoever designed the software doesn’t use it and doesn’t understand what writers and photographers need to produce satisfying results. Good software disappears when you use it and you don’t “feel” the software. Using word processing software isn’t supposed to be the issue. Your words and pictures are important. The software is not.

I always hoped WordPress would fix their editor to make it more responsive for writing and editing, to provide us with a better, smoother integration of fonts and images. Instead, they did exactly the opposite. I don’t think I would willingly use this software for anything — not creative or commercial. It is as hard to work with as Framemaker without its power or elegance. Granted Framemaker was not easy to learn, but once you set it up, it stayed set up. And the results you got with it were amazing — and worth the effort. There was almost nothing it couldn’t do. This block editor lacks even the basics which ancient versions of MS Word used 20-years ago. It is NOT worth the effort.

My dislike of it is not that I can’t figure out how it works but why I should bother? It pushes you into working in a very specific way which cuts off creative freedom. What’s more, the elementary school crayon colors are annoying and look terrible with photographs or any art. They don’t add quality. Some of the layout designs for graphics look pretty, but you can only make them work when you are writing a first draft. They are non-editable after insertion. Once you have put them together, you can’t move the pictures around. You have to delete and — if you are still in first draft — redo the gallery. If you have moved along, all you can do is delete it and later, add a picture. One picture. Maybe some people only write a single draft, but that ain’t me. Maybe other people are able to get it all done in one go, but I have never been that person.

A good writing application leaves you alone. If it requires set up, you do that when you get started. After that, you write your story, add pictures where you feel you need or want them. If you’re me, you go back and move everything around, rewrite sections, copy and paste text and graphics often many times. How else can you write and come out with an intelligent, well-written and properly edited post?

Meanwhile, I’ve spent a lot of money over the eight years I’ve work on this blog. I resent having WordPress strip away most of what I paid for. I’m not thrilled with any of the alternatives which are all even more costly though they give you more for your money — at least so far. Do I trust they will continue to do so?

No. I don’t know how many platforms I’ve worked on that either folded up, sold out, or went fully commercial. So to start over from the beginning? Again? I don’t think so. Having spent eight years powering through this blog, I resent being forced to abandon it. For no valid reason. A lot of my life is bound up in Serendipity and I should be supported in continuing to use it. Of course, that is not what is happening.

I will never like the block editor — unless they completely revise it, which they are obviously not intending to do. I could force myself to figure out how to make it more or less work for me — but I don’t want to. This is my hobby, not my job. Like many others, I now find myself pushed into a corner. I can abandon all the work I’ve done and start anew elsewhere, or throw in the towel. Neither option is appealing.

I have to remind myself that nothing lasts forever, especially not blogging platforms. But this is different. In every other case, the whole platform closed, often with little or no notice. This is more like being forced out of your rental apartment because they’ve decided to “go condo” and you are a mere renter. I guess that was what we all were. Mere renters.



Categories: Blogging, creativity, Editing, Retirement, Software, Technology, Writing

Tags: , , , ,

27 replies

  1. Try the Classic Editor plugin in. That may be what others referenced above.
    Classic Editor is an official plugin maintained by the WordPress team that restores the previous (“classic”) WordPress editor and the “Edit Post” screen. It makes it possible to use plugins that extend that screen, add old-style meta boxes, or otherwise depend on the previous editor.

    Classic Editor is an official WordPress plugin, and will be fully supported and maintained until at least 2022, or as long as is necessary.

    I use the block editor on another site but not often enough to feel comfortable using it. Certainly not enough to like it.
    When I first started blogging I used the GoDaddy editor. It was clunky and you could not add Alt Txt to photos. I could go on.
    But, it did use blocks. They did not have all the options this new editor has, but you could move the boxes around, overlap them and resize with click/drag. It was so easy to move photo boxes around and decide which photo would overlap the other.
    When I moved to WP I was surprised they did not allow you to move even just photos around on a page. It’s left, right or center. How innovative.
    Every editor has it’s good and bad. If you use the plugin I use, you will have the Classic Editor until at least 2022.

    Like

    • WordPress.com installed the Classic Editor plugin for its users, in WP Admin on all WPcom sites. Go to the WP Admin Posts or Pages dashboard and click the arrow button next to the “Add New” button at the top of the screen. Then you can choose between Block or Classic. You can also choose Classic when editing previous posts. The link is below the existing Post or Page title on mouse hover.

      My biggest concern is what is it specifically about the Block Editor that folks get stuck on. Saying it’s too confusing doesn’t address what exactly is confusing. Personally, once I understood what was going on in the sidebars (I’m writing in a browser on my PC) it became very easy to use.

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      • Yes, I KNOW. But if you use that method, when you need to edit something, you have to go back in through admin and you can’t open a classic site by clicking “Posts add new” in the dashboard. You can ONLY open one in “All Posts” which, if you edit and change your posts (as I do) becomes very slow and tedious. If you use the update I sent or which you can find in my posts, you’ll get “Add new” back AND when you have a posted piece and see a typo (or want to change a picture or a paragraph or whatever) and you click change, you’ll go back to the classic format and you won’t have to go to admin and “All posts” to get the format. AND you won’t get all those flags asking you if you are SURE you don’t want the block editor. It isn’t the way is was — they’ve deleted that piece of programming — but it’s a lot closer than just going trough Admin, which is what I had been doing before. It isn’t difficult to do. I’m no tech genius, but if you just follow the instructions with a little generosity offered since the offer was written by a German-speaker who has pretty good, but not perfect, English.

        What you CANNOT do is — short of copying and pasting each and every post you’ve written separately — save your posts in a readable format. I have 11,000+ posts, so this is not such a small issue for me.

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        • Agreed, the internal navigation to get to WP Admin to write or edit in the Classic Editor is not so user friendly and I’m glad that tpenguinltg’s script still works for this. That was the workaround we used when the MySite/Calypso Editor was introduced in 2015. But I’m not certain how the second thing you mentioned is related. Exporting your content isn’t dependent on the Editor you’re using and the resulting export file has never been anything other than a machine readable file (XML) for importing it somewhere else. What is it you want to do?

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      • Change is probably part of it. And the Classic Editor worked for most of us.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You’d think they would listen to their customers.
    Leslie

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  3. Very fortunately I discovered their Widget/App of the Old Editor that you can install quite easily.
    Back in business.

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  4. I also find it difficult to use, but I’m still able to use a workaround to use the old format…the one long before even the first block editor.

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  5. Use this link t get to Classic Editor, and save it as a favourite, Marilyn:
    https://teepee12.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php?classic-editor

    Like

  6. It’s not just WP either, the whole world is busy tinkering, changing things, just for the hell of it.
    I have stopped worrying about it, no point really, for they will probably change it all again next week!

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  7. Very well stated, Marilyn. I’ve been experimenting with both Blogger and Medium and both offer a more word processor-like user interface. But Blogger has no “like” button and no Reader and less flexibility in the site overall (or maybe, having spent less than two days at Blogger, I just haven’t figured it out). Medium has a reader-like feature, but it seems to built around selected topics of interest rather than specific blogs or bloggers you follow.

    It’s really too bad that WordPress decided to shove the block editor down our throats and to phase out the classic editor that worked perfectly well (okay, maybe not “perfectly,” but more than adequately) for most of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. They have added so many new blocks in recent months and although I can use the block editor quite well on my laptop or desktop the addition of more blocks that I don’t use has made it more time consuming. I basically use half a dozen blocks, paragraph, image, various version of gallery and occasionally, list or quote. I can do a draft and move the photos and paragraphs around to suit myself but any of the fancy blocks with text and images don’t really work for me and I don’t need them. Editing a gallery can be tiresome too.
    I am not as badly off as some bloggers but it was so unnecessary. I don’t think anyone wanted a new editor. We just wanted the old one to work properly. As Fandango mentioned, the “Happiness Engineers” (how I hate that title) have zero interest in keeping the classic editor going for those who want it and no sympathy. Their attitude seems to be “Too bad. Get over it.”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I feel much the same, Marilyn… and especially would like simple continuity right now.
    I just want to write and post a few pictures, not jump through hoops. And I would have liked to stay with WP and its community.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You do know how to get to the classic editor, right? You can completely avoid the block editor.

    Like

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