A writer’s rant

Dear WordPress,

Yes, it’s me again. Well, what did you expect? Reindeer?

First, let me thank you for providing what is, in my humble opinion, the best blogging platform out there with what has to be the best blogging community you could wish for.

Second… WordPress, we have a problem.

Well, several actually.

Again.

For starters, let me ask… have you been playing at happiness engineering again? I do wish you wouldn’t. In fact, most of us wish you wouldn’t to judge by the comments when you do. Even worse, we ever know what’s coming until the usual batch of oddities start occurring. Like bloggers who disappear from our notifications… notifications that cease arriving. Notifications tabs that ‘forget’ to let us know about comments. Readers who get in touch to check you are okay because they haven’t had any notifications either… regardless of the fact you haven’t missed posting in the best part of two years.

And even I’ve noticed the stats have plummeted again by a third… which usually means you are playing again

There is a difference between making necessary and desired improvements and meddling where things work perfectly well as they are. “If it ain’t broke…” seems a popular litany when you play. Usually followed by a spate of expletives from over-caffeinated writers the world over.

Then there is this whole PC question. No, not, for once, political correctness, but Personal Choice, aka the choice between mobile device and desktop. Some of us… probably most writers… still use the good old PC or at worst, a laptop. No doubt as technology advances we will be retired to museums like those who still like to write with a real pen or, heaven forfend, a typewriter. But for now, some of us prefer a proper keyboard and a screen we can see without a magnifying glass.

Some of us spent decades perfecting the art of using more than two fingers to type, you know. Now you want us to go back to just one? I think not, thank you.

I for one even prefer to read on a screen big enough to see. I know. I admit I’m a reactionary, but hell, not having to squint is a bonus. So is being able to read with a straight back, not hunched over a tiny oblong of light.

And don’t think I haven’t noticed the little tweaks you keep sneaking in either. All aimed at the mobile devices, by the looks of it.

And finally, WordPress, this mobile thing is getting daft. You know, the main reason I blog is because I’m a writer. I’m not a writer because I blog. There’s a difference.

I have lost count of the number of times a reader has commented that I should write a book. It took me a while to work out why they should do so when I have listed all my books, very visibly, on the sidebar. I even have a whole page dedicated to them. I’m not exactly short of them…

Untitled

But just because I’m a writer doesn’t mean I want to constantly write about books. On the contrary. The blog is where I share other aspects of my life and work… it is supposed to be the playground of imagination, a journal, a communal experience… not just an advertising platform. I built my blog so that it doesn’t have to be. I even took your advice and chose a mobile friendly theme… and one with a sidebar where I could display the books.

… Except, the two are not happy bedfellows. The sidebar doesn’t display on the mobile app… So my readers are excused and doubtless many will remain unaware… That doesn’t help me much though, now does it? Especially when everything is being geared towards mobile use…

If you want the writers who are the backbone of the blogging community to continue creating non-promotional and interesting content, it might be worth looking at that… Because if starving writers and artists are forced to start screaming BUY MY BOOKS, then the quality and diversity of the community can only suffer, people will get bored and wander off to read elsewhere… so writers will stop ploughing their valuable time and meagre earnings into blogging and guess who’s income will eventually suffer? Yep…

Do have a lovely Christmas, WordPress… or perhaps it would be more PC to suggest you go and engineer yourselves some happiness instead of leaving surprises lurking under our proverbial tree… And if you are at a loose end during the holidays, you could always BUY MY BOOKS… or those of the innumerable and excellent Indies that frequent WordPress… and just curl up and read.

Have fun,

Sue x

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
This entry was posted in Blogging, Books, writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

157 Responses to A writer’s rant

  1. Tessa says:

    Oh Sue I love it! Polite with a slight edge. Actually I think a frying pan may have made the point better. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarina says:

    Sue, it is a loosing battle here. They won’t listen.
    I hardly notice the changes since i usually go directly to my old dashboard by ” /wp-admin” after my blog URL.
    Perhaps the temporary solution would be to have a blog signature, such as an e-mail signature after each blog post – directing people to your “books” page. … Just me offering my two cents.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. sknicholls says:

    Oh how I do wish they would stop “fixing” things. I was in a hppy zone blogging away until they came out with the boop, boop, boop business, but was able to avert that with a fix a blogger posted about, but now, since the update, when I go to edit a post, it switches back from the professional editor to that silly blue thing again. I am sooooooo frustrated. I rarely blog anymore and am losing what little audience I once had.

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I noticed you’d gone quiet, Susan. You can avoid the ruddy beep beep boop thing by posting via the admin page. Hover over ‘my sites’ top left to get the drop down > site admin, then once that’s up click on posts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • sknicholls says:

        Will it stay in the old professional editor when you are trying to edit a post? That’s the problem I have. The regular professional looking editor appears, but when I edit and hit the update post or view post and try to go back it gives me the silly editor.

        Like

        • Sue Vincent says:

          It stays there for me… I haven’t had it flip on me yet. You can access all the old features if you go in through the admin page. 🙂

          Like

          • sknicholls says:

            When I hover over “My Sites” button at the top, I get an option that reads “All my sites, Manage all my sites (and I only have one) but I have to click on it and it reverts to the blue page. I’m also frustrated with not having my follow button up there. Down in the right corner, it’s sometimes visible and sometimes not. That’s why I stress to people to please put a follow by email widget into their blog, because I rarely have time to check my reader, and if I don’t get it in email, I likely won’t see it.

            Oh my, I sound like a grumpy old lady. It’s five thirty in the morning here and I have never been to bed. Sleep needed.

            Like

            • Sue Vincent says:

              Oh I do hope we aren’t all going that way… if they steal the old admin page I will really not be pleased. I work on a PC, so if you don’t that might make a difference?
              I agree with you about the ‘follow by email’ button… I like the option and the Reader misses way too much.
              The bottom right follow button does tend to come back if you scroll upwards a bit, but it only follows via the Reader.. and views from there don’t count towards the writers stats.
              Grump away… I know the feeling. All too well! x.

              Liked by 1 person

        • tgeriatrix says:

          For me it works when I go via “all posts” and then choose the post I want to edit. But the blue side is really annoying I agree.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. TamrahJo says:

    Yup – Wholeheartedly Second your Motions! 🙂 Been putting off publishing my many drafts of ‘pointed out’ things, for I thought perhaps I was being to harsh – may I say – you said it much nicer than I did – over several months of drafts – I’ve learned to not publish – right away – cuz, seems like anymore, what I log into today and see can just as easily be ‘back to normal’ or off into the ‘wild blue yonder of tomorrow’ at any given second of the log-in day – what do I cling too and what saves WordPress, itself, from such things? Well, for me, my loyalty to the those bloggers I really, really like here – ya know the old song, “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough – Ain’t no valley low enough, to keep me from gettin’ to you, babe…” – Well – thank goodness the community has formed those connections before the ever increasing time of ‘exprimentations’ otherwise -the whole platform would e doomed, in the long run – 🙂 but just my IMHO – 🙂

    Like

  5. Jack Eason says:

    Well said Sue ❤ x

    Like

  6. Jack Eason says:

    Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    Sue on her current relationship as a writer with WordPress 🙂

    Like

  7. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Although I’m a Blogger, not an Author, I agree with Sue – PLEASE WordPress, spare us further improvements until you’ve thoroughly tested them over all devices and got a consensus of agreement from the widest spectrum of users you can manage…

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Many of us this year have taken to our blogs to express our concerns about changes to the platform we use. I am aware that it is free and that it is one of the best blogging sites but Sue Vincent is right about the fact that we find ourselves herded into a collective flock of sheep with happiness engineers nipping at our heels. We should not forget that WordPress does receive advertising revenue and if bloggers who have a substantial following begin to drift away the content of WordPress will suffer. Having read comments from those who self-host it would seem that it is not providing a better option unless you are a technical wizard who needs all the functionality.. However the fact that I cannot reblog posts on those sites is a key issue for me so I will not be going that route myself. Anyway well done Sue you echo the thoughts of many of us and I for one am appalled by the new re-edit function we have been foisted with when the previous version worked very well thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. franhunne4u says:

    Missed entries on my reader (check)
    Got no notification about comments (check)
    Even though I am not an author, I am still a blogger – with a humble following. I am not even blogging regularly. The more I depend on people seeing me pop up in their readers. I don’t know if I do, but if I judge from my own reader, that has become VERY unreliable. Even though I hate that much mail in my in-box I added all my favourite blogs to “email me when new posts appear”-mode. Still: How do I know that this e-mail-function is reliable??

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I tried using the Reader to keep up with posts, but found I missed too much from friends… so the inbox gets a few hundred notifications a day. Not ideal. I’ve had all my followed blogs erased and reset to no notifications a few times now… for no reason… so make habit of checking every so often in the ‘blogs I follow’ section of the reader that they are still live. But I know that doesn’t help if folk aren’t getting notifications from here. And I hate being so impolite as to miss a comment… and you can’t check thousands of posts every day!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh Sue. Thank you for putting this out on the blogosphere. I am so glad it’s not just me with the stats thing. Mine have plummeted since mid November, and I mean almost sunk without trace from high hundreds/low two hundreds to mid twenties if I’m lucky. I reported it and it seems ‘likes’ recorded in the reader don’t count as views, which also explains why I have more likes than views most days. I feel as if WP have switched me off. The latest thing is no likes at all showing against my posts on the summary page in dashboard, yet the number of comments are. I’ve reported that too. The Happiness Engineer was baffled and was going to contact a member of their design team. I just want things the way they were. I’m glad I have my ‘regulars’, their comments at least let me know someone is reading!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Yes, the whole ‘doesn’t count from the Reader’ thing is a pain when they are actively encouraging people to use the Reader instead of notifications. Which is fine for those reading, but could be completely discouraging for those writing who see no evidence that they are being read at all!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. jenanita01 says:

    Why do they think they can do what they like (in the name of progress no doubt) and we just have to lump it, because we don’t pay? Wherever you go, companies are changing perfectly good systems, and ignoring the parts that actually need to be improved.
    We writers need help, not hindrance…

    Like

  12. ..giNORMOUSly on the money …(again1) , m’Lady, Sue…greta post ! 🙂 mwaaah:)

    Like

  13. alienorajt says:

    Hear bloody hear, Sue! I’ve only been back four days and have already noticed much of what you have said. xxx

    Like

  14. Good for you. I have had my notifications turned off for over a week now and there appears to be no way to reinstate them. The tag has gone. Also, do not get me started on their fancy new mode. I HATE it. If I had not got the old mode saved to favourites I could not post. half the buttons are missing.

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Go in via My sites( just hover) > Site Admin > Post. That gets the old editor.

      I noticed they have changed the notifications settings. I had cause to check one this morning. I don’t know if there is a global on/off switch for notifications ( if there isn’t that would be nice WordPress!) but you can alter/check by going Reader> Followed Sites>Manage… then beside each site click the arrow to get a drop down for notification preferences.

      Like

  15. sknicholls says:

    Reblogged this on S.K. Nicholls and commented:
    Wordpress, please stop fixing things.

    Like

  16. I’m so pleased it’s not just me who hates the progress WordPress bring to the blogging community. Kudos my new friend for shouting out at the changes. I use phone and tablet most of the time and don’t post anything new. If I’m inspired to write out comes the laptop. I’m so glad to have found another person who hates negativity but will give constructive criticism and voice to others shared concerns.

    Like

  17. Mary Smith says:

    Have tweeted and shaed on FB, Sue. Hadn’t realised all the tinkering was for the benefit of people using their mobile phones. I don’t own a smart phone so this wouldn’t have occurred to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I was dragged ( kicking and screaming I might add) into the 21stC a little while ago by Nick. It wasn’t till then that I realised how differently sites display on tablets and phones.

      Like

  18. Ha. I wondered what the heck was going on with Word Press! Thanks for enlightening me, Sue!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m one of those who almost exclusively use the mobile app. I use a laptop all day at work and at night I just don’t want to look at it anymore. But then I haven’t been doing much blogging (or, sorry to say, reading of blogs) lately either. But IT folks seem to justify their existence with constant changes. Give Ani a snuggle for me.

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Ani is keeping my feet warm at the minute, here ears in easy reach should I feel the need to scratch them 😉

      I spend all my days at home on the PC… still can’t get to grips with those little screens except as a necessity 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. tgeriatrix says:

    I really hope someone at WordPress reads your blog and comment. I totally agree.

    Like

  21. I also wish WordPress would stop messing about with things that are perfectly fine to begin with. I was trying to link to a previous post of mine but that facility seems to have disappeared all of a sudden! 🙂

    Like

  22. gardenlilie says:

    Hi Sue. Great for you all those books. I do pay for domains and love WordPress. I tried 2 years ago to put buttons on my blogs to no avail. Re posting to social sites appears after my posts but no lovely big buttons up top. Maybe this is a way of giving me more time to write and get established in what I do. I do want to put my book covers on a pretty colored backdrop and another author told me I can use Word for that. The right time will appear, maybe next year. Thanks for input. Kim

    Like

  23. That is just a bit of brilliance, Sue. Thanks for speaking out for us all. ☺

    Like

  24. You speak for many bloggers and certainly for me. Well done you. I’m often frothing at App magicians and blog platformers “Updating, Improving, Tweeking” and adding new features to sites that worked perfectly well before someone got bored and decided to fiddle with everything. If you stand for any kind of office I will vote for you !

    Like

  25. Ali Isaac says:

    Hi Sue. I wasn’t getting any email notifications from you last week. It turns out that I have mysteriously unfollowed you! I haven’t unfollowed anyone! So how did that happen? I have now put that right. Lets hope the email notifications start coming through again… I am most perplexed!

    Like

  26. Helen Jones says:

    Ha ha! Well written, Sue. I noticed my stats had dropped too, but wasn’t sure if that was because my online presence has only been intermittent at best over the past week or so. Hmmm. Would you have had a response at all? Interested to hear if they have anything to say 🙂

    Like

  27. I don’t think we are reactionary. I think all the real writers I know and that’s a LOT … NONE of them write on a tablet or phone. Too small. And photographers absolutely need a screen on which to edit. And a keyboard, please. Mouse, too, thank you. We aren’t weird. WordPress is betting on the wrong horses.

    Like

  28. Great post. WordPress should focus their attenton on what can make the blogging experience better, not more challenging.

    Like

  29. dgkaye says:

    Fantastic post Sue. You tell ’em! I’m self hosted and ironically, I noticed I haven’t received post from you in a few days so I came by to check up if you’re ok, LOL. And nothing from Nick either 😦

    Like

  30. Eliza Waters says:

    Do they really have to tinker so much???

    Like

  31. Widdershins says:

    A wonderful ranty-pants rant! Which I agree completely with. Dear WordPress, stop twerking WordPress!

    Like

  32. 1WriteWay says:

    This says it all: “I blog is because I’m a writer. I’m not a writer because I blog. There’s a difference.” Indeed, there is a huge difference! Thank you for your post, Sue. I hope WP takes heed 🙂

    Like

  33. Reblogged this on graemecummingdotnet and commented:
    Over the last month or two I had noticed that my stats were falling, in spite of the fact that I was putting more posts out there than I had done previously. I was beginning to think people were just getting bored with the volume. Maybe this post from Sue explains it all (though I wonder whether anyone will see it here)…

    Like

  34. I can’t use my old dashboard to create new posts anymore, boo-hoo 😂 Every time I try and save my post I get a message coming up saying that the page has been lost. But when I press the back-button, it is all still there – Hooray! Only problem is that the little save wheel goes round and round and round and round…and never stops going round. 😂

    Oh, and I’be also been told that when I now answer some comments, they come with a strange link that does not lead anywhere! What’s all that about, I have no idea?

    Totally behind you on all this, Sue. It used to work all so well.

    Like

  35. Okay, this is a great post. All of it. But then I got to this: “You know, the main reason I blog is because I’m a writer. I’m not a writer because I blog. There’s a difference.” !!! And I all but fell over. So thank you for that. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  36. reocochran says:

    I am on a cell phone for 2 reasons, Sye. I used to use free computer at the library but my purse was stolen at small town library. He stole it while it was at my feet, surveillance tape prove it. So, I don’t know what he looks like, librarian says he sits by me. . . I feel he got away with my phone, gift cards and took a part of my confidence by using his feet to pull my purse that was lying on floor in front of me, put in his backpack and go. He pleaded out so his court case dismissed and my victim’s statement were useless.
    It costs money for a computer and here you have to pay then to have Internet and Wi-Fi. My cell phone is only $30 which I pay my daughter. So, long story I have learned to use a phone to blog thus year! 🙂
    I knew you wrote books but am glad to see your list. I submit them to the library requisition committee. Thanks for info! 🙂

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      That’s terrible, Robin! What an awful thing to happen! Especially when nothing was done about it…

      My computer is my luxury. It definitely needs updating… it is forever crashing (and I mean every hour or so!) and internet access doesn’t come cheap either.But I wouldn’t be without it… and I couldn’t write books on anything else 🙂

      Like

  37. olganm says:

    I’m seriously thinking about moing to one of their paid options, but I wonder if I’ll survive it or like it anymore…

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I pay for the upgrades on the .com… that’s enough, it works and I get the benefits of the community as it stands. I did think about the self hosted version but so far see no real benefits to it.

      Like

  38. Ann Fields says:

    Oh, thank God! I thought it was just me. So eloquently and PC-ly stated (that’s PC for politically correct). Happy holidays, Sue. Here’s hoping for no more Word Press surprises in 2016 and beyond.

    Like

  39. Léa says:

    Reblogged this on poetry, photos and musings oh my! and commented:
    Great post Sue. Alas, is ANYONE at WP listening? We shall see…

    Liked by 1 person

  40. I use both a tablet and laptop because, like you, Sue, I like to use an actual keyboard at times and look at a larger screen. That boop boop beep thing is indeed stupid. I upgraded but I still see it whenever I post on my laptop. I can’t remember if I’ve seen it when posting via my tablet.

    And that’s really ridiculous, Robin, about your purse. I can’t stand a thief!

    Like

  41. oneta hayes says:

    Sue, I’m so glad you came by and left a like on my Breaking News today. You are an entertaining writer. I’ve enjoyed my visit.

    Like

  42. Reblogged this on cicampbellblog and commented:
    Oh, yes, I so agree with this rant.
    Especially the bit about the sidebar not showing on the screens of mobile devices, so that readers of my blog do not necessarily know about the books I’ve written or the videos I’ve made that are all shown in the sidebar.

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      That is really annoying, isn’t it? You proudly display them, only to find no-one sees them any more when they say ‘you should write a book…’
      Thanks for reblogging, Christine!

      Like

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