I’ve been blogging for about five years now. I turn out three posts a week, mostly on the craft of writing but sometimes on other aspects of my life. As a courtesy, I always link back to quoted authors’ websites and also insert links to other good reference posts elsewhere on the internet.
However, the once simple task of “inserting a link” has lately become quite difficult. Some days I don’t feel like I have the patience to blog anymore, and that lack of enthusiasm is all thanks to the folks at WordPress, where the new motto is “If it ain’t broke, we’ll fix that.”
A few months ago, the fine people at WP decided that those of us who prefer to blog using the old, more functional dashboard could simply screw ourselves, and they attempted to force us to use the “improved posting experience” which is anything but an improvement.
- Opening the “My Sites” menu (top left of screen)
- When the menu drops down, look for the words “WP Admin” and click on it (don’t click on “Posts” yet)
- Once the second, new menu opens, THEN Scroll down to “Posts” and click “add new”
That takes you to the standard dashboard with all the functionality we are used to, with the buttons and other information we may use in the right places. The old dashboard is easier to use for those of us with impaired vision, as (for me) the pale blue on white of the new one blends together to become a wall of white.
Oh, we still have to look at the constant demand to “switch to the improved posting experience” but we can ignore that: We just go ahead and enter our blog post title as if that little bit of subtle bullying on WP’s part was not there. (Thanks, WordPress, for not giving us the option to turn that exceedingly untruthful notice off.)
I thought that would be the end of the misery for a while, but no! Here I am again, posting the workaround for yet another UN-improvement by the developers at WordPress, who are completely out of touch with the needs of real-world bloggers.
I’m not sure why they felt compelled to break the usefulness of this platform even further, but they did. As of last week when they changed the uploader box for inserting links into my content, I am finding their product is once again, incredibly difficult to use.
Normally, I key my posts into a WORD document and then copy and paste them into the body of the post. I insert my links into the document, and then edit them to make sure they open in a new window once the post is loaded here. I also often have to do a lot of other editing once the post is loaded here.
However, the minute you have to insert or edit a link in the body of your post, things become sticky.
Let’s say I want to insert a link to Dictionary.com for the word “DYSFUNCTIONAL”
- I open a new page and google “dysfunctional”
- I click on the webpage and open it.
- I highlight the page address in my browser and right-click copy
- I return to the open page for my WordPress post and highlight the word “dysfunctional”
- I place my cursor on the little chain icon in the task bar at the top of my post and left-click on it to open the insert link box
- When the box opens, don’t think you can just paste it into the box, and click on the blue arrow–because the link will go away.
- Instead paste the copied website address into the URL box, click on the little gear,
- A new menu will open and you will click on the “add link” button in the lower right hand corner of the larger box.
- Be aware that when you click the box that says “open in new window,” the link will sometimes vanish. Then you get to play this game all over again.
The other wonderful new advantage of this less-than-useful link insertion system is that the annoying “Paste URL or type to search” box often won’t go away once you have successfully pasted the link. This means you can’t key or change any words hidden by the box.
But as for everything else WordPress, there is a work-around for that, and Grandma will find it:
- Simply place the cursor elsewhere in the body of the blog post,(pick a random word and don’t highlight it) and
- click on the “insert link” icon again. This time don’t insert anything.
- With the cursor still on the body of the post, simply left click on an un-highlighted area and the box will finally go away, and you can once again write your post.
- Sometimes the only way to get the insert/edit link box to go away is to scroll back up to the right-hand “publish” menu and either click “save draft” or, if your post is already scheduled or live, click “update.”
- This is a problem even when I have inserted the links in my post in a WORD document before copying and pasting, as I still have to make sure they open in a new window.
I would like to not be blogging about WordPress workarounds. I would like for the nice people at WordPress to address the shortcomings of this new system and reconnect with their users.
I would also like to be able to recommend WordPress to new bloggers.
As Hal 9000 once said, “I’m sorry, Dave. I can’t do that.”
The other issue is that these problems are random. Sometimes this thing works as it was designed, and then the next time you need to insert a link, it fails.
If you go out and check the forums for this issue, you will see that the stock, canned answer by the forum mod is always: Have you tried deactivating your plugins?
On this particular blog, I am NOT running any plugins, nor have I ever ran any. Thus, that particular canned answer does not cut it, and there doesn’t seem to be any other answer out there.
WordPress developers and tech support need to rely less on the Ouroboros model of customer satisfaction and become connected with the users. There is a real disconnect between what the powers-that-be at WordPress want to give us, and what we long-time users need to have available. I have no problem embracing change.
I have embraced it and found the workarounds I need to make my site work for me.
What I have a problem embracing is dysfunctionality.