Tag Archives: Workarounds for WordPress problems

2016 #YearEndWrapUp: #WordPressFails Grade for 2016: F-

Epic Fails signWhen I began blogging in 2011, I initially went with Google’s Blogger platform, because a friend of mine was a Blogger user. It was simple and easy to use, but several friends had WordPress blogs, and I liked the way their blogs looked in comparison.

So I made the switch. Up until January of 2016, I was a happy WordPress user. On January 15, 2016, I went to write my blogpost for the day only to find I couldn’t get to my faithful Dashboard and was forced to use the “new improved posting experience.”

That didn’t sit well with me. That post was titled  WordPress Blues. For some reason, that rant struck a chord with many WordPress users, and it started off like this:

WordPress people…you have pissed me off.

For a year now you have been trying to shove this new, less-than-useful dashboard down my throat, and for that same year, I have refused to use it. You allowed me the option to stay with the expanded version that played to my needs, and so I didn’t complain.

Today, however, you cut off my simple access to the old, better-for-my-purposes dashboard, and forced me to hunt for a way to get back to it. So rather than the post I had intended, we are going to discuss how a determined blogger can get around your arbitrary decision.

I posted my workaround so that bloggers like me who have compromised eyesight can get back to the easier to read dashboard. Pale blue on white is nearly impossible for me to see, so I need to be able to access what is now the WP Admin Dashboard and which is not easily accessible unless you know where to look. That post was popular because the wonderful people at WordPress are possessed of an “I can’t hear you” attitude. They ignore and refuse to answer the questions and concerns that long-time users have with the uninformed and unnecessary changes made to their product. A large number of bloggers felt that their legitimate needs and complaints were ignored by the new generation of WordPress Developers’ desire to be “new” and ‘innovative” at the expense of being useful.

For several months, the fabulous people at WP let things roll along in a dysfunctional sort of way, and I got used to it. I thought we were going get along despite my having to work around their unwieldy new platform.

But no. In April of 2016, the developers at WP somehow made it nearly impossible to upload images unless you upload them directly to the media library. Inserting links became a frustrating procedure.

But as always, I had a handy workaround for that too: #Amblogging: WordPress: If it ain’t broke, we’ll fix that.

Of course, the year is nearly over, so they had to break one last thing before 2017 came along. This time it is the stats page. They have messed with the stats page several times before, giving us less and less useful information to judge how our posts are doing and which posts are getting the most hits over all. Now they have us going to a page with so little information I wonder why they even bother offering it. But once again, grandma has a work-around that will take you back to the 2015 version (but still not as useful as the pre 2014 stats page):

In the upper left corner of your blog are the words My Sites and Reader. Click on My Sites. The new blue on grey and difficult to read menu will open. The developers at WordPress are ignorant of the fact that many people have vision problems and these colors tend to fade into each other, making the menu harder to read:

step-one

Next, click on “Sites Stats.”  Above the new, useless bar graph, you will find a small disclaimer indicating they have a better option that you may never have heard of.  You have heard of it, it is just the back door to the 2015 version of the stats page. Click on the arrogantly labeled little button that reads “Show Me.”

step-two

The developers at WordPress are not done talking down to us–they don’t really have a better stats page, as they have decided we couldn’t possibly have a use for something that really works, but they will take us back to the one that they forced on us last year. I have found the most useful information on the “Days” page. It’s all on the lower half of the screen, which doesn’t appear in this screenshot.  But for now, it is still there.

step-3

I blog from my PC. I’m sorry, if you’re trying to blog from your android or tablet, good luck. The menus they are offering you there are nearly nonexistent.

From all the wailing on various tech blogs, I am not alone in considering migrating my website to Blogger, as they don’t jerk their users around nearly as much. I have four Blogger sites and they are easy to use, images and links upload beautifully, and the amount of detail on their stats page is excellent.

If you are tech savvy, there is a way to get back to the really good stats page that they took away from us in 2015. Diary of Dennis has a workaround for you:

Check Out The WordPress Classic Stats Redirect Script V2

All in all, I give WordPress a failing grade for 2016. They have failed to listen to their customers, failed to meet their clients’ needs, and failed to give a damn for the entire year. To top it off, they don’t offer feedback, just canned responses. Quote from my blogpost,  #Amblogging: WordPress: If it ain’t broke, we’ll fix that.

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.

OuroborosWordPress, I cannot and do not recommend you and your platform to new bloggers. I am one of your legion of bloggers who don’t want a dumbed-down, useless dashboard and stats that tell us nothing. We want the map so we can see what countries our reader’s hail from.

I feel no sense of loyalty to you as you don’t have any loyalty to me as a longtime user. At some point, if you continue down this path of dumbing-down your platform to the point of complete uselessness, many of your loyal, long-time bloggers will be forced to leave you and seek out other platforms with better functionality and real customer service.

14 Comments

Filed under blogging, WordPress, writing

#Amblogging: WordPress: If it ain’t broke, we’ll fix that

OuroborosI’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.

WPBlues2_prnt_scrn_3However, those of us who are determined to use the better dashboard can still get to it by:

  1. Opening the “My Sites” menu (top left of screen)
  2. When the menu drops down, look for the words “WP Admin” and click on it (don’t click on “Posts” yet)
  3. 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.

WPBlues2_prnt_scrn_4I’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

  1. I open a new page and google “dysfunctional”
  2. I click on the webpage and open it.
  3. I highlight the page address in my browser and right-click copy
  4. I return to the open page for my WordPress post and highlight the word “dysfunctional”
  5. 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
  6. 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.WPBlues2_prnt_scrn_5
  7. Instead paste the copied website address into the URL box, click on the  little gear,
  8. A new menu will open and you will click on the “add link” button in the lower right hand corner of the larger box.
  9. 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:

  1. Simply place the cursor elsewhere in the body of the blog post,(pick a random word and don’t highlight it) and
  2. click on the “insert link” icon again. This time don’t insert anything.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.”
  5. 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.”

Ouroboros definition

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.

12 Comments

Filed under blogging, WordPress, writing