In which I bitch about the new WP Block Editor before accepting my fate

Several months ago while creating yet another stellar blog post, full of pathos, droll wit and comic charm, I saw this in the lower corner of my editing screen:

New block a

Never one to shy away from a learning opportunity, I dived right in. For all of two minutes.

Seriously. I hated it.

Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that it was difficult or hard to understand. It was just…. well… frustrating.

You see, the old WordPress editor (now termed, “classic editor”) was basically like typing in a Word document. No biggie. But this block editor was like….

Here, I’ll let their how-to site explain its main function:

You can move content elements up and down,
edit them as individual blocks,
and easily create media-rich content.

Key words: “media-rich content.”

Meaning for those blogs not rich in media, it ain’t for us.

Look, I know the block editor can produce wordy blogs as well as “media-rich” blogs. But I have a hard time believing any writer was involved in the making of this editor.

Case in point, the damn blocks themselves:

new block editor

You see that toolbar? It shows up Every Damn Time I click in the “block”, i.e. any word in the sentence I just typed.

So for instance, let’s say my mind goes blank for a word and I open up thesaursus.com in a new window (it happens).

I find the perfect word, click back and boom, the toolbar pops up again!

new block 2

I don’t know how it is for you creating-wise, but for me, I need clean space. I don’t like things popping up on my screen. Even on WordPress’s classic editor, it took me a while to get used to its side bar. Yet now they expect me to accept a roving toolbar?

Because you see, the second you begin a new paragraph you get this little plus sign to the right. And should you click the plus sign, you have another pop-up…

new block 3

If you ignore the plus sign, your new sentence will remain in first “block”, but if you click the plus sign, you have an option to create a new block.

To be fair, if you ignore the plus sign and the toolbar and continue typing, they both disappear.

Which is all well and good.

But if you’re anything like me, your typing comes in fits and starts and you wind up clicking on a previous sentence to correct or add something.

Or to just to sit and stare and contemplate the purpose of life or watch the pretty bird outside your window.

In which case, the damn toolbar pops up again…

new block 4

I tried this editor more than once, I’ll have you know. I believe I gave it three shakes before I finally jumped ship and reverted back to the classic editor.

And then I found out come June 1 — this coming Monday — WordPress is switching everyone over to the Block Editor whether we like it or not.

Noooooooo!

Could WordPress be so heartless? Say it ain’t so!

Surely I wasn’t the only one who found the new block editor a bit…. blockish?

And then I found a discussion thread on WordPress.org support. Some blogger by the name of AME-Network wrote:

discussion thread

Ah. There we have it. Someone agrees with me.

Offering aid was Steve from Support:

discussion thread 2

I knew switching to the classic editor was possible now, but would it remain true?

AME-Network had similar concerns. They responded again…

discussion thread 3

Okay, the “Duh” was a little uncalled for. Also not sure if Support is the place to discuss free will?

Apparently Samuel from Support agreed. He decided to clear up any misconceptions we might have on this doctrine:

discussion thread 4

Okay, that pretty much cleared it up for me. Whatever WordPress.org does, WordPress.com soon follows. (For you non-bloggers, .org is the paid site, .com is free.)

It was time to accept my fate. I had no choice in the matter, no ability to plan my future, it was written in the stars.

Sadly, AME-Network was not as cavalier…

discussion thread 6

Oh good Lord! — “go all Gestapo” — Seriously?

Listen, I’m not thrilled about the change either but there’s no reason to get testy about it. Besides, as is the case with most updates – maybe not right away but eventually – there are advantages we’ll come to appreciate.

Maybe this “media-rich” business will turn out a blessing, even for wordy-type blogs.

Remember how in a previous post I said I had a writing project going on? Well, it’s a story about something that happened to me in high school that turned out to be a pivotal event in my life. Still not sure what the project is turning into, only that it will also be illustrated. (And God knows how that slows me down.)

Anyway, here’s one of the illustrations I uploaded with the block editor (in a new window):

new block image 2

First impression: it looks like I can upload images without placing them in my media library. Which as far as I know isn’t possible with the classic editor and given our space limitations, that’s pretty great.

Secondly, you see the toolbar that popped up above the image? If you click on the little mountain icon, you get this:

new block image 3

Which looks like a much faster way of laying out your images and allowing for the “click to enlarge” feature.

If you click on the three dots, you see this:

new block image 4

That first one, “Show Block Settings”, gives you the sidebar where you can either edit any selected block or the document as a whole, including publishing tools. Or you can just leave them hidden until you’re ready to view them again.

Thirdly: not sure if you’re sensing it, but it feels like you have more choices with this editor. More freedom to format the post in the way you want.

It’s odd, but working within these blocks gives you the means to work with more creativity.

You know, my initial intent as I began this post was to warn you that my next Bad Joke Monday (on June 1!) might not happen due to WordPress’s new Block Editor. Perhaps that’s not the case.

Besides, I don’t want to be all testy about it like AME-Network.
(“go all Gestapo”… sheesh!)

So it looks like Bad Joke Monday is on as planned. Remember, submit your joke by Sunday noon-ish. (Should yours be deemed worthy, I need time to do the illustration.)

And so ends my final post using the classic editor. Farewell to thee, classic editor. I shall see your blue interface, nevermore. 😔

32 thoughts on “In which I bitch about the new WP Block Editor before accepting my fate

  1. Loved it. I haven’t delved into Word Press yet so this is all a mystery at the moment. Good on you that you pushed ahead.

    BTW, I remember when I got a job that was using “Windows” when it was a new thing. I was scared that I wouldn’t pick it up being an expert user of DOS. When I finally got into it, I was amazed. It felt like cheating. But then I discovered the old DOS commands still work so I had my comfort back. Now every time they upgrade Word and Excel, I have a little shudder fit but move past it. Afterall, if we’re not learning new things, our brain cells start to die. So keep moving cause the buzzards are circling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh hey, you and me both on the Windows intro! Once I realized the DOS commands were good, all was well. And yeah, updates always make me a little nervous. Sometimes they work out well, but other times….

      “so keep moving cause the buzzards are circling” — that’s a great line! 😀

      Like

    1. WordPress.com is free if you don’t do any extras, special themes, or purchase your domain name (making wordpress.com part of your name). WordPress.org is for self-hosted sites, so there’s a monthly fee and it can get pricey depending on what you need.

      I once looked into self-hosted, but as I don’t intend on ever monetizing my site, didn’t see the point. As it is, I pay for my domain name and a bit more for extra security and no ads. What extras did you spring for (if you don’t mind me asking)?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the explanation- I wondered if I was missing something. No problem – I also pay for my domain name, extra security and ad-free. I won’t ever monetize mine either, so .org isn’t of interest, but I do like the perks I pay for, especially ad-free. Cheers. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Christi, I heard the news from a friend yesterday and felt quite upset.
    Why mend what is perfectly o.k. there have for a long time been a pop-ups offering
    their new and brilliant tool. I have clicked them off and continued with “ classic” .

    It reminds me of updates which supposedly is going to be so good for you. I am afraid
    it never has been for me. It always messes up many applications as the programming obviously didn’t cover all applications.

    The sun is shining and stillness awaiting outside. It has not yet been updated ….🤗.
    Just got out my notebook ( paper one).

    Miriam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Miriam — I don’t think anyone is terribly thrilled with the new editor. The last time they updated (now considered “classic”) the changes made sense. It wasn’t all that different, but they fixed a few things and spruced up the layout. This time though… ugh.
      Val’s comment below offers some tips to simplify things and corrects some of my perceptions. Even so, I suspect WP is in for a lot of unhappy support calls.
      As for me, I’m like you – the bulk of my creation lands on paper and LibreOffice Writer.

      Like

  3. Here on WordPress dot come, we’re the unpaid testers for the sites using WordPress software, and always have been (I’ve blogged here in various blogs since 2009). Usually what happens here happens first and on dot org sites later, not the other way around. I used to work on the wordpress dot com forums as a volunteer – I’m so glad I’m no longer doing that, the block editor does my head in! However, there are a few little tricks that might help you. One is to use the shift key at the same time as hitting enter when you want to create a new paragraph without a new block appearing. (If you use Facebook – which, to keep my sanity intact, I no longer do – you can use the same trick to make a new paragraph without it posting instead.) Another, is – in the blocks side panel on the right, there is an option in its settings (but I’ve forgotten which icon opens it, you’ll have to experiment) for the blocks version of distraction-free typing. If you click that, the screen will be spacious and mostly empty.

    I’ve not yet got to grips with all the various image settings (which I should soon as my blogs are heavy with them) but one thing I’m pretty sure about – any image you put in a post or on a page, however, you get it in there, will reside in your media library. Best way to find out is to visit the media library and check.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Oh wow – thanks for the tips Val! I didn’t know about the shift-enter trick. Good to know!
    I think you’re lucky not to be a WP volunteer anymore, as I’m sure they’re in for it with this switch. The general feeling has not been loving toward the block.

    As for the media library, the graphic I uploaded above did not show up there… until today that is. Weird, right? I swear it wasn’t there yesterday when I wrote the above. (This block editor is trying to make a liar out of me!)

    Like

  5. I’ve known about this coming for some time, but still haven’t taken the time to look over the block editor. I ended up trying it once and immediately hated it. But I know that it’s just a matter of a learning curve. So before Tuesday, I’ll probably have the hang of it. What I’m curious about is how my copy and paste from Word will work. I prefer drafting all my posts in Word.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You and me both! I don’t use Word but I use LibreOffice, which is basically a open-source Word. I didn’t think to give that a test when I did this post. Mostly I just wanted to bitch. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey, Christi. I’m in the same boat as Eilene, just above me. I compose in Word and then paste into WordPress. If I can still do THAT, without any real issues, I’m aces. If not, there will be intense sobbing. I guess I’ll be finding out Monday, huh?

    For the record, I’m on the Premium plan. I no longer even remember what all comes with that (I just pay the bill every year and move on), but the key points for me are no ads, generous storage and free use of any and all themes (although I’ve had the same theme for years now). I may be re-thinking that package if posting becomes an unsatisfactory chore…

    Wait, something just hit me concerning your shared “Samuel from Support” comments. (Must admit, he IS being kind of snooty, though AME-Network clearly wins the penis prize, to paraphrase.) If the Classic Editor will eventually not be supported, what does that mean for our old posts? Will the formatting scramble? We should probably find out…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Now that I think about it, I believe I’m on the premium plan too. I even remember when and how it happened: a coworker was having issues viewing my blog correctly so I was looking over her shoulder and there at the bottom of my post was an ad with Trump’s face on it! Now to be clear, the ad wasn’t about Trump, but it was using his face as click-bait. Also, my coworker barely registered it because most people expect ads on their screen and ignore them. I, however, was absolutely horrified his mug was anywhere near my blog! So I trotted back over to my desk and signed up for ad-free blogging.

      As for the Classic editor switch, WordPress is assuring us the formatting will stay the same. But yeah, we’ll soon find out…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. My blog is still a WordPress.com blog, so I don’t know how much difference there is between what you will experience and what I will experience! In the WordPress.com world, there are three editors. The original one, the Classic Editor, and the Block Editor. The Original one is being retired. The Classic Editor will still be available,
    If any of your readers use a feed reader to read your posts, the feed reader strips out most of the advanced features of the block editor. The post ends up looking pretty much like what the Classic Editor puts out…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It looks like the Classic editor is still available here too, so maybe the rumors were just that – rumors. Personally, I’m relieved, though with the extra time on my hands I should probably make more of an attempt at learning the block editor.
      But bitching about it is much more fun. 😉

      Like

  8. I used it the other day , took me four times as long, and a much higher frustration level to compose a simple verse. Loathe it. I cannot believe that any person who writes decided that this was a good way to go about composing it. Another reason for me not to get back into blogging, although i will check out the plugin for classic. Unlike you, i also had trouble trying to lay out my single photo – just didn’t seem logical to me. I do wonder why they felt the need to change it all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t get the sense that this block editor is either “intuitive” or “user-friendly”. And I was concerned for those bloggers who’ve been away or are simply so busy that they might just find it easier to not try.
      If it helps any, I discovered we CAN still keep the Classic editor. I don’t know when the switch for sure will be happening, but for the time being we’re safe. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Interesting post, Christi!
    I reckon, if this was so good there’d be no need to force it on us.
    Why not have several options anyway? Let people choose.
    Perhaps they only favour diversity when it suits them?

    As a humble poet, I just post an image with some words underneath.
    What do I need “blocks” for?🤔

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I feel your pain. I wrote my last post using the new editor (starting just before they forced it on us). It was a pain in the a$$. Eventually, I worked how to do things in the new world order, but everything was harder to find (because there are more tools in the toolbox), and often took more steps to do the same thing. I’d say I still understand less than half of it. It’s a clear violation of the KISS principle and the principle of least astonishment, two design philosophies I tried to use back in my days of web development.

    Also, it doesn’t play well with others; now my grammer editor can only be used at the block level instead of the document level which seriously hamstrings it for document level reporting.

    I also found it laggy. This design seems to require more interaction with servers, at a time when the Internet is already bogged down with Zoomers, streamers, and other factors slowing down those of us not hooked up to a corporate network.

    The new editor is probably a good thing for commercially oriented sites. For plain old bloggers (not to say we’re all plain or old, but if the shoe fits…), not so much. I think for complete newbies trying to create their first post, the added complexity will put them off of blogging before they even get out of the gate. Not a great choice, for an institution dependent on advertising page views.

    I think, to make this thing viable for the masses, they need to have at least two versions: one fully functional, and a second simpler, stripped-down version built on the same underpinnings. Sort of like themes for the editor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dave, you make me feel so much better! I figure if someone with your background finds the new layout clumsy, I have reason enough to bitch about it. So thank you for that.

      The real problem with these changes – as with most things — the ones who hear the complaints are not the ones who created the mess. If the designers had to take the heat, actually listen to the complaints firsthand, then they might actually be more careful next time. Maybe consider offering different versions, based on your needs.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. You and me both. Had spent several posts bitching about the new block editor. The block editor works differently on a mobile device versus a desktop or laptop computer. Now I toss the blocks into my phone and edit on my desktop. I hope you’ve had better luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting (and the follow!) — must admit, when I found out I could revert back to the Classic editor, I did so and until the blocks are forced on me, here I shall stay. It’s so much easier this way!

      Liked by 1 person

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