We’re back to, “Keeping up, with the Joneses”

What is it today, with all the Internet platforms trying so hard. I get wanting to stay competitive, but it’s like they are afraid of, losing a moment to someone else. Everyone wants to provide a multiple experience. Whatever happened to, “If you do something, do that one thing well”. Blogging should be blogging. If you want to create a software for website building, then create one, but don’t try to squeeze it into your current product, that is already a stable success.

For many years, WordPress was the go-to for blogging. It was just comfortable, and easy to grasp. Then apparently, panic set in that they would be “one-upped” by someone else, so a mad rush was made to outdo the competition. In just a very few short years, a blogging platform has turned into a website building platform. Hardly resembling a blogging experience. Not to just bash WordPress, because I have some bones to pick, with my forum software below as well, but it is frustrating to those that want to blog, being pushed to the side for commercial interests. Sadly, sometimes that rush for fame and fortune leads to ruin.

Remember the antivirus programs of yesteryear? They were great at one thing, security. Then, to chase the dollar, they decided to get into adding various utilities for optimizing your computer. Buying up smaller companies/utilities that were good, and incorporating them as a suite. They became so bloated, that they couldn’t even do their primary task well. The few that survived, have gone back to the one thing they do well, and foregone being a suite.

The allure of one-upping the competition

WordPress, is not alone in the “over doing” arena. My forum software, over the last few years, has changed to chase the commercial interests. I started out with a software called IPS (Invision Power Services), a great software, that you had to learn, just like WordPress. If you wanted something extra, you had to learn how to insert code clips provided by others to get what you wanted. Then the fever hit. As the platform grew, the allure of one-upping the competition arrived. They worked feverishly to bring better things. At one point, we were getting updates several times a month. If you had a theme you used, or some add-ons, they were usually trashed by the new and improved update. We had to wait for those that had developed the items, to re-code them to work again. Only to have them broken the next month. What became fun to build things for, now was nearly a full time job, just to keep them working.

You will pay a price

Some might see where this is going. Developers, that enjoyed doing things for free, became frustrated. They started charging for add-ons, or themes. The free section of themes has gone from 40-50 in the last four years, to maybe four. The widgets have dwindled. Now, if you want something like a theme or add-on, you will pay a price for it, and then a maintenance fee every six months, in case updates break something. A theme can cost you $20-$40, with a recurring 6-month fee (usually half the price of the item) to keep it up to date. The same with the widgets or add-ons ($10-$60+). Why? Because IPS has also started chasing the “website look”.

The business plans of these companies, such as WordPress and IPS, defy logic. Yes, you can become great, you can rake in big money, but at some point it will be at the expense of losing users, then the revenue takes a hit. Apparently, this is happening to IPS, a once great forum platform. This year, out of the blue, the support center cost went from $25 per six-months, to $45 per six-months.

Killing off their original user base.

Support is fine, but if you’re smart enough to run the software after about a year, you seldom have to call on support. I haven’t had to use support in the last 3 years. But, and here is the catch, they only provide security updates, and software updates, if you have the support plan. So we jumped from $25 bi-annually, to $45. Plus, everything you want to enhance your forum comes with a pretty good price, and bi-annual fee. They are, essentially, killing off their original user base. I don’t begrudge the bi-annual fee for security and upgrades at a reasonable fee, but a $20 hike is just a bit on the rough side.

Let’s hope developers or WordPress that make our widgets etc., never truly get money hungry, like my IPS forum platform.

Comments, always welcome.

Dear WordPress. Please stop mucking around with a great product!

Okay, 5.9 just landed on my site. I thought that the introduction and changes with blocks and the Gutenberg editor were hard. Wait till you see this mess. I just wish, that WordPress, would stop trying to one-up everyone in the blogging world. WordPress, for many years, was a solid, simple, enjoyable blogging experience. In the last few years, they have made it complicated, and no longer a blogging platform. It has devolved into a webpage builder.

Now, with the landing of 5.9, which I had to force a reinstallation of it, to get it to show the new features, many of which still aren’t showing. It has turned into a “developers” tool. It wasn’t enough that we had a webpage builder foisted on us with blocks and new editor, now we have more tools that most of us won’t need or use. Not only that, but it looks as though they had developers build this new version, instead of bloggers. If you’re going to maintain and improve on a blogging platform, then for heaven’s sake, get blog developers that actually use the platform for blogging, to make your new upgrades.

The above is a screenshot of my new post editor. This new option has shown up on the left side, under “patterns” which are actually templates, you can pick headers, banners, text, gallery images from an outside gallery they are going to provide. Basically, a list of templates to make a page. All you have to do, is replace the text, and or the images. I can do that already with the block editor that I finally learned to use! That’s not blogging! It’s building a webpage of static items.

Apparently all the new features, such as a new drag and drop theme editor (which I will never use) hasn’t installed on mine, nor the new images section. All I have, so far, are the so-called “Patterns”.

Confusing is an understatement. Please, WordPress, leave things alone and let bloggers be bloggers. If you must muck around with something for webpage builders and developers, make a separate product for that, and stop ruining a once former leading product.

Let me know in the comments, if your blog has updated, if all the new options are working, and what you think of them. Me? If another platform ever develops a community section, as we have with WordPress, where it’s easy to find other bloggers, I’ll go to it. I don’t have time nor patience anymore to be a test subject. -Ron

Comments, always welcomed.

Update to add video:

My menu settings for the Gutenberg Editor.

After realizing many are still struggling with the block editor intimidation factor, I created a video tutorial that I hope will help some get started. Having a familiar or standard layout of things you use often is the first step in getting comfortable learning. These are the basic menu settings I use, to lessen the overwhelming options in the block editor.

If you like the video, please like and subscribe to the channel. That way you will get notifications of future videos. I may make more tutorials based on the feedback and questions left here, or in the YouTube video comments.

If this helped you, please let me know.

Comments or questions always welcome.

Dear WordPress. JUST STOP IT!!

We already know you don’t listen to input. The business model and money drive what was once an enjoyable hobby. The incessant badgering about the new block editor (which isn’t new anymore) is reminiscent of the crazy world of Windows 10 when it was forced on the world. We get it, just throw the damn switch already! I’ve been using it for months now, Why do I have to cancel a “Welcome to the new editor” popup this morning? I am fortunate that I use my desktop mostly, as from what I have gathered, the mobile versions of the new block editor, or should we call it what it is, Web page creator, just stink. Mostly unusable from what I gather on some devices.

Try doing it quietly

And while I’m in this ill mood because many great bloggers I know are talking of walking away to other platforms, let me clue you in on another stupid idea. WordPress security. You mean well, but for the love of all that is holy, stop putting out the alerts expounding on how you found twenty zillion vulnerabilities in this or that plugin, that is used by hundreds of thousands of WP sites. Makes one think perhaps they shouldn’t log into their WP site, let along use or purchase an add-on in your massive plugin/theme store. Try doing it quietly in the background, unless you actually have an ego the size of Jupiter that needs this attention. If half as much effort had been put into the launching of the new editor, as the scary security alarms the Guttenbust editor would have been a wonder to behold.

Here’s a novel thought. Maybe have those teams of highly paid security units, vet the plugins BEFORE they are released, and not scare the bejesus out of the rest of us. It’s getting depressing reading all the security holes in WP add-ons. Actually, you’re starting to convince me, that perhaps I should look elsewhere for a blogging platform.

Okay, thanks for patching them. However, why even mention it.

Moments ago, the Wordfence Threat Intelligence team published details about two vulnerabilities that were discovered and patched in Facebook for WordPress, a plugin installed on over 500,000 sites.

email this morning.

Okay, thanks for patching them. However, why even mention it. It doesn’t instill a lot of confidence knowing they were there in the first place.

Please, stop fidgeting with my defaults. Every time you update something, I have to go on a safari to find simple things that used to just “be there” because I used them before. Like this morning. I wanted a simple “Quote” block. Clicking for a new block gave me..

First. WTH is a Eventbrite Checkout or a cute and cuddly sounding Calendy. I simply wanted to use a quote block that I had used before, and should have been there at my fingertips for convenience. No, I have to wade through business site related options that I will never use. Maybe a rebranding from WordPress to SitePress would be more appropriate at this point.

Please. Just stop trying to help me.

Comments from actual bloggers welcome. Don’t worry, if the way we comment has been changed I’ll wait.