About WordPress Changes and What We Can Do
This article was first published 27th January 2015. The current situation (11 Many 2016) seems static with both the old Stats pages still available and very little disruption to the “classic” editor. The workarounds still being a viable option. We continue to watch for any further disruption and any cause for further protest as may be required.
For more recent concerns (Dec 2016) regarding the WordPress Reader, please click here ⇐.
For Help with the UI changes (workarounds) please click here .
*** On Jan 29, 2015 at 17:57 a reply from CEO Matt Mullenweg with bloggers responses, in comments below.
This article (on 27th January 2015) is about Underlying Motive, The Problems, Probable Cause, How We Can Make a Difference and Remaining Questions.
Matt Mullenweg, owner and recently appointed CEO of WordPress, has himself indicated a wish to pursue the mobile market which is made clear in and interview with Forbes click here ! (page 5/6) . However, that interview does not indicate any intention to abandon desk-top users.
Add to this, Tiger Global now have a total of $110 million invested in WP here !. Tiger Global also have investments in the expanding Indian and South American mobile and e-commerce markets.
Amended/Addition: From WSJ/Digits “We both have a long term outlook, and we’re focused on growth,” said Mullenweg of Tiger in an interview. “
This is altogether an entirely legitimate business pursuit but it’s gone wrong.
The mobile versions of the user interface have been so inept as to spoil its credibility from the outset and at the same time alienate desktop users. Complaints, on the WP Forum, about the new editor ran to 32 long pages here !. Complaints about the New Stats here (closed)! and here (closed)! and here (closed) !. Complaints about the New Notifications here ! . More on Goldfish “An Open Letter to WordPress !“. And, we are told, there are more changes to come.
Amendment/Addition: To make this clearer, the changes that have annoyed people most have been the removal of navigation links that make it difficult to avoid the changed pages. From the Reader entirely impossible. Such action being coercive.
This is not at all the “democratized blogging” that WP claims to support. It was entirely unnecessary to create such nuisance for desktop users when a separate strand could have been developed for mobiles. A one size fits all approach is unworkable for devices that are so different.
The notion that this is a free service and that we should not complain is false. Active blogs either accept advertisements (which are not visible to the blogger whilst logged in). Advertisements which are based upon their own work as the attraction, or pay their $30 p.a. to keep them away.
Such attitudes and behaviour have a continued corrosive effect which includes the loss of key workers over time. After 1-2 years a company falls into decline, but by then it is unable to stop that decline or even fully recognise the cause.
If customers migrate to another host, then those remaining are going to lose readership, which is then another incentive to move. If any of the major players realise that WP is creating its own vulnerability they will surely take advantage. An easy transfer and universal reader would be enough to tip the balance and create a landslide.
Taken altogether this means that we must rescue WordPress from its own demise.
Nobody in their right mind would want to spoil their progress into a new market and at the same time alienate existing customers. From long experience freelancing in industry, I know of only one way this can come about. Somebody who is more convincing than capable has got hold of the reins.
The symptoms are commonly the use of unrealistic hyperbole, forcing users into the new product so that it appears to be successful (in this case, by manipulating the navigational links), destruction of previous work (by removing access), create a notion that restoration is impossible (manage the complainants instead of the complaint) and ensuring that executives of the company do not know the truth (it’s all going very well and doesn’t it look good).
Problems are exacerbated when there is failure to meet deadlines. That results in products being launched before they are ready and, needing to meet the next deadline, no time for adequate remedy. As a result, there is further motive to use the ploys mentioned above and plough on regardless.
The most insidious of these is the notion that we cannot overturn the situation. It is a ploy to ensure that we do not even try outside of the prescribed avenue (the forums) which only frustrate. But, to paraphrase FDR, ‘there is no cause for despair except despair itself’.
How we can Make a Difference
Whatever may be thought of the above summary, if we do not make an effort, then we and WP lose by default. If we get up on our hind legs and howl for the pack to pay attention then we stand a good chance of putting more sensible people in charge. So:-
- All the possible remedies and the encouragement to be optimistic need to be widely publicised by ourselves by posts (with plenty of tags for the Reader), links, re-blogging with lots of tags (you can use up to 15 categories +Tags without getting excluded from the Reader), tweets, Facebook, email etc. That is our strength as publishers and the numbers of people who express disquiet count as much as the comment content.
- Every click to/from the new pages are surely recorded and supports the notion that they are successful. Therefore, it is vital to boycott their use. They can be avoided by Bookmarking/Favourite a few pages and opening each in a new tab. For more information and a fairly straightforward approach please click here ! .
- Whilst the forums are a sink-hole for energy with comments that seek restoration only frustrated, it is still important to increase the number of voices and thus show the extent of disquiet. The most commonly used open threads are here ! for general comment and here ! for New Notifications. Comments can be entered at the end of the last page and whilst they do not need to be more than brief to add weight to the cause. However, the forums are free to comment as much as you wish.
- Make contact with WordPress seniors/founders who may not know what is really occurring. Many have blogs and can be found on the “About !” page. Unfortunately it is not at all as useful as the version that was recently removed. Fortunately I took screen-shots of the original here !. Matt Mullenweg can be contacted here ! and/or tweeted here ! and former CEO, Toni Schneider, here !.
More than one link may be held in moderation. Therefore, may I recommend using the exact name of forum topics.
- Later, when the tide of protest has risen, I will be making contact with the equity holders who stand to lose a great deal and those journalists who would like the story of WP unnecessarily creating conflict with its own clients.
The Remaining Questions
Are the seniors/founders of WP really upholders of high ideals or was it just a marketing ploy. Some of the delightful descriptions from the original “About” page, screen-shots here, include:-
Matt Mullenwg – As the Chief BBQ Taste Tester of Automattic, Matt travels the world sampling cuisine and comparing it to the gold standard of Texas BBQ.
Nick Hamze – Chief Swag Officer
Stu West – Chief Festivities Officer (CFO) – Stu spends his time measuring the awesomeness of operations and finance at WordPress.
Michelle Weber – Chief Semicolon Advocate
It begs the questions. Has it really all been about having fun and making swag or is it just that Matt Mullenweg is having too much fun to mind the shop ? The eventual answer is that deeds speak far louder than words.
What can do we do about it ? We can spread the word and raise as many voices as possible. As a last resort, a method I know to be effective against the unethical, is to widely embarrass with the truth and threaten income and the value of the company.
I hope that the sensible will get control soon and save us all any more nuisance. Lastly; thank you for taking the time to read and may I offer you my best wishes in all your endeavours.
Please do use this as you wish by re-blogging, linking etc. The more viewers the better.
With gratitude and credit to all those who entered comment and information on the forums and apologies if reading has been a bit hard on the eyes (this blog was not intended for this purpose). 🙂
The follow-on from this is now WordPress Changes – Polls #1 – Herded ?