They’ve done it again

I am serious cheesed off.

I have somehow managed to get back to the Classic Block Editor after waking up to another “Surprise!” overnight change to WordPress and how my blog presents to me, its user.. Don’t ask me how I did it; I was convinced I would have to change to a paying site and install the plug-in that lets you use Classic. And I’ll probably finish and publish this post to discover that it’s all disappeared again!

In case you’re interested, here’s a screen shot of something I found, which I did. At first it didn’t seem to have done anything, but after that I clicked out of WP and then back in shortly after, and here was Classic Editor again. I dunno… Maybe it worked, and maybe this is just temporary. Hope it works long term, for me and for you! If not, I will have to learn how to use the Block Editor, and new posts are going to clunky and considerably further apart. Apologies in advance…**

Now, I do appreciate that many, if not most, WordPress users have monetised blogs or use them as selling tools. They’re interested in all that stuff that the new Block Editor offers, the ‘fresh, new, dynamic reader experience’, the analytics, blah blah. Me? I enjoy the wavy line of my statistics, the occasional surprise of discovering that someone in the UK has apparently taken to binge-reading my old posts or surprise that another reader in Uzbekistan has found 5 things to interest them. For the rest, I enjoy showing what I’ve made with a few pictures and a lot of words, having nice cosy chats with reader-friends, and the occasional rant at the state of the world. So I’m not happy when my security blankie is pulled for reasons I find irrelevant, without notice and with an ever-so-faintly patronising tone to the explanation I eventually dig up.

Initially, they left us the Classic Editor option within WP Admin for post-writing that looked and felt as we expected and with which we were reasonably competent. They’ve taken that away. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not totally change-averse, and I like the way the new front end looks, with the dashboard down the side of the My Site/ Reader page. It’s just the whole “we’re doing this for your own good” tone of the explanations – when you can find them…

I know I should probably buckle down and learn to use the Block Editor. I know that WP is not run for my benefit and others like me. I know that Happiness Engineers are there for the paying customers and not to deal with a not-especially tech-savvy 60 year old quilter who is putting off getting a paid plan as long as feasibly possible. But dammit, why can’t they leave us oldies with the simple, clunky, un-slick, un-dynamic, amateurish system we’ve had since they first introduced the Block Editor so many of us hate in 2018?

Seriously, WordPress, does it stuff up your business plan so radically to leave that little Classic dropdown button there for us?

PS: I promise the next post will be less ranty, and if less aesthetic in layout, it will also be of something a bit prettier, too.

** Edit: Some people have said they can’t find this button. To clarify: it’s within your personal WP account settings. You need to click on the little round avatar photo that’s at top right of the WP screen (next to the Notifications bell). Account Settings is listed on the left, under your photo.

123 thoughts on “They’ve done it again

  1. writinghouse says:

    Mine changed the other week so now it looks like the old dashboard but has a collapsible menu on the left side. Why? No idea. Is it an improvement? No. Oh, and they put an “upgrade” to a paid subscription in the shopping trolley I never used to have. Nice… 🙂

  2. cazinatutu says:

    oh dear, Kate, a hassle you just don’t need at the moment … all I can do is wish you luck

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s a real first world problem, isn’t it? Such a silly thing to get annoyed about but when something has worked well for 6 years and you’re able to produce content easily and without frustration, this sort of thing drives you nuts.

  3. I’m with you all the way!
    So far I am still able to access that drop down menu to access Classic. But id they want me to pay for WordPress they are going the wrong way about it – they are just putting me right off!

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ve more or less resigned myself to having to learn the new Block Editor. There’s talk of only enabling even the plug-in version you have to pay for until 2022, so I’ll have to switch over then anyway.

    • katechiconi says:

      Yup. I think the Block Editor is probably kinda, sorta OK, it’s just the whole thing of having to learn an entirely new process for creating content. But what frustrates me most is how this arrives like some sort of techy lighting bolt. No notice, no “here’s how to find help”, etc.

  4. tialys says:

    Oops – pressed too early.
    EEK! I’ve been using the work around for ages now so I could use the old editor but I’ve just checked and, yes, they’ve taken the loophole away. I don’t have the option you show of ‘Dashboard appearance’ in my Account Settings either so I’m well and truly stuffed. I run my blog for the same reasons you do and haven’t monetised it but I really don’t know whether I’ve got the patience at the moment to find my way round a new way of blogging.
    I could have a similar rant about Etsy – they are always changing the parameters and not, usually, to the benefit of the users but to their shareholders.
    Maybe, when I have some time and can find the inclination, I’ll have a go at working with the new editor but I know of at least one blogger who has lost patience with it and stopped blogging completely. Shame.

    • katechiconi says:

      I wonder why you don’t have that Dashboard appearance switch…. Does the rest of your blog look the same as the past few months, or has everything changed? If the same, you might find you have to wait till they change you over before that switch appears. Just a thought. I thought for a moment about just jacking it in, but blogging’s so much a part of my life, social interaction and creative expression that the thought didn’t last long!

  5. Laughing (with you, not at you) – sorry! Changes to things we are very used to can be quite tricky, and I particularly loathe the revamped Facebook. But Mark Zuckerberg and the various other Happiness Engineers do not really have you and me at the front of their minds when they plan to make a change!
    I stopped to buy coffee recently, at a petrol station with an attached MacDonald’s. I don’t eat MD food (although I still love their french fries) but they make a great cappuccino. No-one was there and no-one came to the counter to help. Extremely annoyed (I’m a much nicer person with caffeine inside me) and about to stamp out, I noticed two young chaps at a corner table. I asked them if anyone was on duty, and they politely told me that I needed to place my order via the electronic screen just inside the door – only then would a staff member be alerted. One of them had to show me how to use the touch screen, which was about 2 by 3 metres in size. I felt like someone who’d been living in the wild for 30 years and had stumbled upon a Kindle.

    • katechiconi says:

      We have those touch screens too, but they’re optional rather than mandatory, and yes, the coffee IS good. We use them while we’re travelling. The first time, you think you’ll never get the hang of it, but by the third time, it’s easy. Which gives me hope that I can get my head round the Block Editor.

      • I’m sure you already have. It isn’t too bad! Mailchimp and various other apps have all gone the same way

      • katechiconi says:

        Not yet, not while I can still access Classic by sneaking round the back way. But it’s on my list of Must Dos. I just hate the idea of reducing my ability to customise how things look and forcing things into boxes they’re not right for…

    • Susan Nixon says:

      We have some of those here, but we have real people behind the counter still. When I’m required to use their screen, they’ll lose my business. Pandora already has.

      • katechiconi says:

        I guess the screen ordering system does protect the staff from infection risk as they don’t have to face the customers for so long… I’m not a big fan, but I can see the point.

      • Okay, maybe. But then we all are forced to touch this screen that is sharing germs very freely. ICK

      • katechiconi says:

        It’s been a long time since I was in there. I guess they sanitise the screens and certainly there’s hand sanitiser at every door. Either way, I don’t fancy it, and we’ve stopped going in for coffee and make our own to carry in Thermos cups.

  6. claire93 says:

    I’m saying Eek along with Lynn!
    And I don’t have the option for dashboard appearance you showed either. Drat and double drat!!! I’ve been managing with the classic editor fine up until now and, like you, I hate it when we are forced to adapt to their “newer & better” methods when the old ones worked perfectly alright!

    • katechiconi says:

      As I said just now to Lynn, that switch may appear once they change your blog over to the new format. I don’t remember seeing it before. I can’t promise it’s the answer, and I hardly dare navigate away from the Posts page, but somehow, it seems to be working – for now! Meanwhile, I’ve bookmarked a bunch of ‘how-tos’ on the WP Help site.

      • claire93 says:

        ah ha!
        just managed to find the switch you were on about (wasn’t looking in the right place) and I’ve got the classic option back again. For how long, is anyone’s guess lol.

      • katechiconi says:

        Bravo! I might do a quick edit of the post to clarify where to find it.

  7. Jule says:

    Thanks for hinting how to get the classic editor back – at least for a while. I’ve tried the block editor before and was unable to edit my post the way I wanted it – ‘thanks’ to missing buttons.

    • katechiconi says:

      I can’t promise that’s what made it come back, but that was the only thing I changed, so I hope it works for you. My own editing requirements within WP are not very demanding, so I hope that I will eventually learn to get along with the Block Editor. I use a MacBook to write and edit, and just occasionally I find that the Mac shortcuts will work within WP where the action I want isn’t available in the range of tools.

  8. Debbierose says:

    I thought it had changed, but after my hiatus, lots had changed. Just happy to be back, and RANT all you want I learnt alot from your spiel

    • katechiconi says:

      Glad to be of help! Does that mean I can call myself a Happiness Engineer…? Seriously, though, there’s nothing wrong with change per se, just not change for the sake of it, or change without explananation.

      • Debbierose says:

        Absolutely agree. However somewhere they csn back up decision for change, on the WP blog. Like zoom they have info squirreled around and only techy ppl read it. I’m definitely not techy

      • katechiconi says:

        Nor am I! But being grumpy makes me persistent, and it tends to make me ferret about for answers.

  9. I’m block editor averse -think ostrich- and I’m going to be seriously unhappy if I ever can’t access classic… as it is it’s a fiddle. I dread to think what I’m going to find next time I go to post. Perhaps I should devote some time to a looksee beforehand. I hope you’re ok… that experience would be stress inducing.

    • katechiconi says:

      There was an unseemly amount of growling and tooth-gnashing, but I have accepted that I need to move on and get with the program.

      • I just tried to create a new post, and it’s as it was for the previous, and while not perfect I can access the Classic editor. Phew!

      • katechiconi says:

        Keep a note of the image I posted in case everything changes. Two people have now said they were able to swap back after using the button. I’m nervously waiting for something to go wrong and maroon me in useless Block Land…

  10. Emmely says:

    I am using the block editor now. I manage with text and figures but somehow adding a caption below a figure never comes out right so I just stopped using that but I miss captions! I now also have to add several words in the file name of figures before they are accepted. Which is probably good for searchability or something but I used to just save them as date and the the number in order of appearance in the text and that worked fine for me.

    • katechiconi says:

      Thanks, that’s a handy tip for the future. I don’t caption images much, so it won’t be a great loss, but I’m sure I’ll find other things I’m not happy about!

      • Emmely says:

        Oh probably! But for just text and images it works ok. I write my first draft in Word anyway and then just paste it into the editor. The images are then quite easily put in between the paragraphs where I want them.

      • katechiconi says:

        Hmmm. That sounds like a plan. Can you adjust image size and location fairly easily, or have they ‘improved’ that also?

      • Emmely says:

        Oh, I have no idea. I always resize my images in Photoshop before uploading them to WordPress so I never have to change anything.

  11. I have managed to get my head round the new editor though there are lots of ‘features’ I haven’t tried. I have no wish to start a business and if I have to pay to use WP I will have to try to find another host. Meanwhile I will have a go at using this ‘new improved’ version and see how I get on. Like most of you I wish the mantra ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ was more generally applied.

  12. kymlucas says:

    Oh, no! I’m not looking forward to writing my next post. I did notice that italicizing words seemed to have disappeared from my options a week or so ago. So annoying!

  13. Yes, arg! I spent some time with a help editor human, just ranting in a chat box at the situation. They fixed it so the dashboard workaround works again. For the present.

    • katechiconi says:

      For the present…. Maybe they had so many comments that they put it back for a while. I don’t hold out much hope for a permanent fix. And maybe what I did wasn’t a fix after all, just them flicking a switch to go back to the previous version. For the present. 😦 I don’t get the opportunity to talk to a human. Firstly, I’m on a free plan so they don’t speak to serfs like me, and secondly, I’m in Australia and the time difference and phone bill prevent.

  14. Bear says:

    I’m totally with you, here. I want the classic back. I don’t need this blocky thing. It really trashes my poetry to the point where I won’t even post anymore lest I burst into tears when it appears mangled. Yesterday, my dashboard appearance changed for no reason and it’s white on black, which is difficult for me to read on the screen. ARGH!!!! I wish they’d just leave it alone and let us writers have our classic back.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m still not clear why all the free plan users can’t have the Classic and the paying plan people who want a load of whizz-bang can use the Block – if they want it! I know I’ll have to switch to paying sometime when I run out of space, but I’m nervous they’ll make me change my blog design and appearance, and i don’t want to!

  15. nanacathy2 says:

    I am using the block editor but only because I am so technically clueless I couldn’t find my way back to the classic version . I have kind of got used to it, but it strikes me as overly complicated.I just shrug my shoulders and get on with it. I’d hate to loose contact with everyone.

  16. UGH. As you know, I’m still in habit and motivation rebuilding for blogging, and in fact haven’t for … a month? I dunno… This will not help. Thanks for the warning. I’m in the midst of another project this moment but am sure I’ll check back here for more info. blech…

  17. I pay for my blog and it doesn’t make it any better!

    • katechiconi says:

      No, I don’t suppose it does, but at least you can access the *free* Classic plug-in which would let you use it till they take it down and bury it some time in 2022… The cheapskates (ie, me) can’t get the plug-in because we don’t pay… Gah!

  18. CurlsnSkirls says:

    Agreeing with **everyone** above. For the last week or more every time I log in to read or possibly post there’s something completely missing or “relocated.” Even making a simple correction to a word already typed can take several attempts. Suddenly the cursor has jumped to a completely different part of the screen. If I’ve been head down concentrating on writing something I discover nothing’s appeared in the box I clicked on. Happens constantly – makes me think whatever is going on is extremely unstable. Given all the stresses the entire world has been under for the past 12 months, I find this “upgrade” **EXTREMELY** thoughtless. The alternative–not staying in touch with all you lovely blogging friends–is not something to consider, especially given the Covid isolation so many of us are still facing.
    Thank you, Kate, for giving us this opportunity to vent with you! 💕 xx

    PS/ As posted by Deb of widowbadass dot com, here’s something that might help. However, it goes very fast and I suspect isn’t current. At least it’s something… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjfrzGeB5_g&feature=emb_title

    • katechiconi says:

      Welcome to the Venting Vixens! If anyone has righteous wrath to express, they’ll find friendly faces here… I haven’t given the Block Editor more than a cursory try, since it seemed so contrary the first time and I discovered quickly how to go back to Classic. I keep having to remind myself that WP is not for the benefit of the ‘freegals’ but for the payers. They’re there to make a buck and our views are completely irrelevant to them, our voices just a tiny squeak of protest in the overall roar of commerce. Thanks for the link, which I’ll check out once I’m awake enough to process it; it’s currently 1.30am Down Under!

  19. Susan Nixon says:

    That’s so weird. I have multiple WP blogs, some pay and most not. They all work the same these days. I still have the choice at the top of the All Posts page, I don’t have a page like the blue one you show at the top, I can choose classic editor from the post lists and from each Page on the pages list. If they keep messing with it and take it away, I’m going to quit blogging. I’m not interested in their block editor which doesn’t allow me to do my own placement with html. I could go back to LiveJournal, but I think at that point, I’ll just be finished. And gain a lot of time back.

    • katechiconi says:

      The blue page is what you get if you click on your own avatar image at top right, which lets you alter the photo, the About Me stuff, etc. It looks different from how it used to, for sure. I can’t see myself ever giving up blogging voluntarily, so I’d better get my skates on and learn to use the blog editor and find tweaks and tricks to make it look as near halfway decent as I can…

  20. Sharon says:

    Omgoodness this thread is fabulous…I thought I was alone in this world of ever changing blog sphere nightmare. I have mastered 2 or 3 things in with the new format and that’s what I stick to. No venturing out to learn anything new with it since that will change soon again. I know just enough to keep blogging. 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      Ooops, just found this in Spam, sorry about that, yet another thing to blame WP for! I’d like to think I’ll get comfortable with Block Editor, but I’m sure there’ll always be a lingering nostalgia for Classic. Do you know what the definition of Classic is? “Of a simple, elegant style, not greatly subject to changes”. Both well and badly named, wouldn’t you say?

  21. magpiesue says:

    I’m not on WP but I can relate to all the complaints expressed. Sorry you’re having a frustrating experience. That seems to be part of life in this century. I do wish we could inculcate the maxim “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” into the younger, techie generation.

  22. gwenniesgardenworld says:

    It’s the same with almost everything, they all expect us to be pc nerds, we’ll we are NOT !! But hey, once you are over 50 years old you just don’t count anymore. All these changes are doing my head in as it is almost every day something changes the way we have to do something on the computer.

    • katechiconi says:

      Yes, exactly. And really, it’s not just the oldies. I bet there are younger users who are rolling their eyes and say “oh, not AGAIN!”.

      • gwenniesgardenworld says:

        Oh yes, younger people too have problems with changes on internet sites. Problem is, the pc specialists who invent these changes don’t see the problem, it’s as easy as eating and drinking for them.

      • katechiconi says:

        It’s like trying to sell me high-heeled shoes. They may be beautiful and exciting and glamorous, but I don’t need more shoes, and I certainly don’t want high heels!

      • gwenniesgardenworld says:

        Exactly !

  23. jeanswenson says:

    Thanks for the tip on the ‘button’ to switch back. I did it, and it seems to have worked. I’m with you, I liked the system the way it was, and while I’m not adverse to learning something new on the computer, I have much more important ways of spending my time – like on sewing!

    • katechiconi says:

      I know the evil day is coming, but I’d so much rather not be forced to use an editor which gives me more frustration and less flexibility… Glad the button did the trick for you.

  24. Dayphoto says:

    I had it happen to me also and it SUCKS! I wasn’t as nice as you in my rant and raving thoughts. Gradually I got it figured out, but STILL. I even tried the block editor for two posts and I can’t see where it is any easier at all. Plus putting photos is terrible. I just hope they let us keep Classic Editor PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.

  25. Marty K says:

    Rant away! I tried to start a blog in Blogger, made it through one post and have not been able to figure out how to upload photos nor how to reply to comments. Sigh.

    • katechiconi says:

      I initially tried to start blogging with Blogger but couldn’t even get an account set up. Wouldn’t you think they’d put something out on YouTube or something, with visual step-by-steps so newbies and oldies can see what to do? It just seems like they’re missing a trick somehow.

  26. I pay for my blog and if they take away the classic editor, I’m asking for my money back. That foolish garbage of block editor is not what I paid for and I’ll quit posting all together if they try to make me use it. Is this a rant too? Feels like one. I’m an old woman with one brain cell left and they want me to use it to learn a different way to do something that is working quite well as is. I could go on for days. Who’s bright idea was this anyway. Fire them. I’m going to bed now before I write how I really feel. 🙂

  27. If they are going to delete it, I guess I’ll have to suck it up and try and learn how to be happier with one of the new ones. buggeration!!
    But thank you. xx

    • katechiconi says:

      I guess it ought to be possible to do a few ‘test’ posts without publishing them, just to see how my blundering attempts actually look. Buggeration is right!

  28. craftycreeky says:

    I’ve got used to the block editor but the one thing I still go back to classic for is the ability to search through your photos by date, if I want to reuse a photo from 3 years ago, I don’t want to have to scroll all the way down, especially as my old computer is very slow!

    • katechiconi says:

      What? You mean they messed with Media/Library as well as Editor? Whyyyyyyy? OMG, does the iniquity never end?

      • craftycreeky says:

        The search in media went ages ago with block editor, so if I need to add photos I open using the old link – hoping I can still find it when I change computer!!

      • katechiconi says:

        I suppose if I’m still using Classic I’m still getting the Classic Media benefits too, then. I don’t often want to use old photos, and I tend to locate them by remembering the post I use them in, search for that and then edit the post to locate the media link. Looks like that’s going to change too… 😦

  29. Updates !!!!! A pain in the rear ! I’m all for change when it makes things easier not more annoying 😐

  30. I don’t seem to be able to get to “Account Settings” as it looks like in your picture. I have “Settings” and it doesn’t have the editing option. Color me annoyed…

    • Okay, I spoke too soon. I DID find it. Thanks much. At least I can get one more post out…

      • katechiconi says:

        Yay! My Classic Editor is still hanging on.
        I’m going to try drafting the whole thing in Word and then pasting the text into Block Editor. I wonder if the photos will copy over too…. Probably not. I still need to work out how to insert, resize and caption photos. It just feels so clunky and counter-intuitive.

      • I haven’t even tried yet. You go first…

      • katechiconi says:

        I got the idea from Emmely, who does it that way with her text, but she resizes her photos in Photoshop and I don’t have that. I often don’t decide on final size till I see them in place in the post. I’m putting off the evil day… There are online tutorials on YouTube for all of this, but I’m too lazy to commit the time, when I could be sewing!

      • I don’t mind the idea of writing the draft somewhere else. Not sure about dealing with the photos, though. Maybe experiments are needed, if I can motivate for it. 🙂

      • katechiconi says:

        I’ll probably start off by using all photos at full size until I work out how to reduce or specify a size to customise. It’ll make for rather boring looking posts, but can’t be helped…

    • katechiconi says:

      Little round avatar photo, top right of dashboard screen…?

  31. think I’m going to crawl into the shower and hide. I’ve read your instructions several times – even downloaded them and tried everything/every button and nothing happens. Now to decide whether to work with the block editor or give up altogether. As it happens my internet/email provider has handed over to google and will stop my access in 16 days if I don’t jump through their hoops – only 2 options – connect with them on mobile or a second email address. I have neither. Move over Mouse, here I come! Crossing my fingers for the MRI outcome.

    • katechiconi says:

      Oh no! That sounds very drastic and traumatic, to say the least! May I just check you’re using your *Account* settings, accessed by clicking on the small round avatar photo of you at top right of your WordPress screen (next to the notifications ‘bell’), rather than the Settings on your Dashboard? If you do decide to go with Block Editor, I’ve been given this link to a helpful tutorial – I haven’t tried it yet myself but it might prove useful:

  32. thanks for all your help, yes I did use the avatar and finally worked it all out. Back to Classic – at least for the time being. I had sent a “help” email to WP and then sent an email to say I’d worked it out and also said a few calm words about how I preferred to remain working in Classic.

    • katechiconi says:

      Oh, that’s great! I wish I could start a petition to keep Classic, but why would they listen to us, when it’s about keeping the paying customers happy?

  33. Emma says:

    If it makes you feel better, I don’t like it either and I don’t think I’d be considered an oldie yet 😅I’ve actually been writing posts by writing directly on the code editor (no useless formatting 😎) and I just add pictures at the end. That might be the way to go (I get so annoyed that it’s creating a new block every time you make a new paragraph 🙄)

    • katechiconi says:

      That’s definitely an option, but I find the code format so distracting to look at. Just one question: does the block editor create a new block if you do Shift Return twice instead of just hitting Return (ie, do a soft return)?

      • Emma says:

        Hum that’s a good question I’m not too sure about the shift return vs hitting return, I’ll have to try it. I like to just write a big block of text in the code format (so that there is nothing else distracting there) and I try to do all the formatting at the end but depending on the kind of post it’s sometimes easier said than done.

      • katechiconi says:

        I like to write as I speak, get it all down and then preview to eliminate widows, fit text nicely with the images, etc. The new format isn’t friendly to that type of actvity…

  34. I don’t post as consistently as you do, but have struggled with these entirely frustrating changes. As an editor I work with a number of different platforms and try to ride out a lot of constant changes, the same way different publishing companies decide email is too bulky and make everyone use Slack or Google Chat or Chanty, ad infinitum. All it does for me is add more effort when these tasks should be effortless. I’m going to have to read all the comments here about WP when I have time to see if there’s a solution.

    • katechiconi says:

      Your problems are legion, then, and I feel rather silly for getting excitable about the WordPress issues… Maybe the answer really is to write everything elsewhere (ie, Word) and simply *shove* it into whatever passes for an editing suite in the platform you’re using. I hope there’s a nugget of useful information in there for you, amongst all the comments.

  35. zippyquilts says:

    Thanks for the tip! I was very, very annoyed for the same reasons as you. For a minute I almost migrated to blogger. But not quite. Your trick worked for me!

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