Living and Learning

Suffering From Gutenberg’s Block

I interrupt this series of posts about murals to (a) apologize and (b) vent a little.

The apology is necessary because I have no idea how my posts appear on your electronic device but I’m pretty sure my last couple of posts were a bit haphazard, graphically speaking. They looked more-or-less OK to me before I hit “Publish” but when I looked back a day later I found that images were not where I thought I had put them.

Presse Gutenberg via Wikimedia

So, if you were hoping for a high level of layout quality, I have let you down. My excuse is that I was trying out WordPress’s new block editor (formerly called Gutenberg) and having only limited success. Which brings me to (b).

For about eighteen months now, WordPress has been cajoling its users to try out the new block editor. I did that, didn’t like it, and kept on using the original (now called classic) editor. Recently, though, they started telling me that they were switching over to the new block editor on June 1st come hell or high water. Accordingly, I have been trying to get to know it better.

The trouble I have had is, first, I like to insert images into my posts and sometimes to wrap the text around them. I can’t figure out how to do that with the new system, and it is harder to centre the images on the page than it used to be.

Metal Movable Type via Wikipedia

Also, my most recent post was about two French-Canadians and the text required accents on some of the letters. In the past, accents were included among the special characters easily available on the editing menu. With the new block editor, special characters are only available if you get a special plugin.

“OK”, I thought. “I’ll get the plugin.” I duly downloaded it but when I tried to upload to my WordPress account I found that I couldn’t do that. Only users with the Business Plan are able to use plugins. I have the Premium Plan which costs $10 a month. The Business Plan costs $30 a month.

Forgive my cynicism, but I suspect that at least one of the reasons for the new block editor is to encourage more people to buy the Business Plan.

I have written a couple of emails to WordPress support staff and the response was to show me how to go back to using the classic editor. That is confusing to me because I thought it was being phased out. Even if they keep it, I doubt it will have ongoing updates and support when they really want us to use the new editor.

When I went to Google and typed in “Does anyone actually like WordPress’s block editor?” I found a number of sites providing information, insights, and workarounds. The workarounds all require the use of plugins, and so they don’t resolve my problem. I did, however, take solace in knowing that there are other people out there as frustrated as I am.

This post was written using the classic editor. Long may it live.

11 replies »

  1. Wow! It is a terrible feeling, realising you might be getting ripped off. I think these guys went to a seminar hosted by my archnemesis that other social media company. Thirty dollars a month is a lot to pay when they can shred your blog at their discretion. I don’t know what you can do but if you plan to keep posting here, I suggest formatting everything in a text editor and plugging it into the block editor afterwards.

    What’s helped me is hosting photos on Flickr, then I use the “centre justification” button to centre the photo. Wrap around is not that difficult but your photo will appear in different places depending on the size of the screen of the person viewing your post.

    None of that formatting will matter when people view your post through the WordPress reader. Everything is left justified. I’ve been on this beast for years, so I can tell you, surrender now.

  2. Anne,

    Do not apologize for your cynicism! It is completely justified!!! 😠👍🏼

    Over these last 5-7 years, probably more, the CONSTANT updating and upgrading seemingly every 4-6 months for our electronic software/apps and hardware are getting utterly ridiculous and INCREDIBLY frustrating! More than once—like 4-5 times in reality—I have sent gripes, critical reviews, and much bitching to a long list of software/hardware manufacturers. Intel, Microsoft and Windows, Dell, Samsung, Google, way too many to Facebook to count, and way too many others to list here… chewing them out a new B*_t-hole about constantly tinkering with a device and/or app every 4-8 months (give or take 2-months)! It burns and chaps my buttocks to no end! 🤬

    Look, I understand that the tech-electronic market is HIGHLY competitive so manufacturers must find all sorts of (insane!) crazy, constant advantages or edge to out sell their competition. I get it. BUT… does it have to irritate the customers/consumers so much that it drives us crazy and drives our business away from them!? That’s an obvious answer. Also, have you noticed that more and more large companies/corporations are subtly making US, the consumer, do THEIR work!? In other words, when we must go thru all kinds of lengthy Menu options/selections with their Customer Support Dept.—via chat or live on a phone—WE must essentially do the work that that company/corporation SHOULD be paying a human to do for us! Notice that over the last 3-5 years? That burns me up, especially when I never get to an actual live, breathing, talking, helpful HUMAN BEING!!! 😡

    All this crazy technology, constantly upgrading/updating, is now no longer making our lives easier, but much more straining, time-consuming, and quickly annoying.

    • Exactly! When I was trying to use the new editor I realized that something that had formerly been a pleasure had become a trial, and that saddened me. I have enjoyed writing my blog posts and the thought that I may lose that pleasure takes a lot away from me.

      In WordPress’s defence, when I emailed my displeasure they got back to me right away. I’ve given up trying to telephone companies. The phone menus have driven me away.

      • Yes, now WordPress’s Happiness Technicians(?) I think they’re called(?), have been incredibly prompt with me too… the entire 11+ years I’ve been on WP! ❤️ The biggest problem in this regard are the (bored?) Executives, hardware engineers, programmers, Share-holders, all those other people who DON’T deal with the public or their customers. Those executives pay others to do that work or program that work for US to work through!!! 😆

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