Singing The New Dash Editor Blues

Since about 2011-12, WordPress.com users have been redirected to the New Dashboard (“New Dash”) after logging in on the main WP.com log-in page rather than to their primary site’s Dashboard. This change coincided with the introduction of the WordPress.com Reader and “Freshly Pressed” to the New Dash.  The “Quick Editor” was added and allowed users to select a Post Format to make a quick post on their site directly from the New Dash.

Over the last 6 months or so, the “Quick Editor” has been morphed into what WordPress.com calls “the improved posting experience”, i.e. New Dash Post Editor, which now has been imposed on users as the default Editor for writing new Posts and new Pages, as well as editing already published Posts and Pages.  This strong-arm tactic to force users to use the New Editor has hijacked all links in the WordPress.com Admin Bar, as well as in-post or in-page links for editing already published posts, which previously brought users to the Classic Editor.

The two editors may look similar, but they are not and the differences are significant. Forum volunteers have routinely advised users not to use the Quick Editor/New Dash Editor because of problems with lost drafts, no post revisions, uploading and managing media files, spacing issues and others. These problems exist today even with the current iteration of the New Post Editor.

Up until a week ago if users landed in the New Dash Editor after clicking a link, they had the option to return to the Classic Editor to edit their post or page via a link in the New Dash. No more. The link to the Classic Editor from the New Editor has been removed and according to Staff replies to upset and angry users in the Community forums, the link won’t be coming back. What has been amazing to me to learn is how many users did not know that they could get to the Classic Editor directly in their Dashboard via Posts>All Posts without needing to detour through the New Dash Post Editor to get there.

What’s behind this change? There are some decidedly wild hare theories being opined by users in the forums, but there has to be a concrete benefit for WordPress.com to continue foisting the New Editor on unwilling users. According to a Staff reply in the Community forums:

WordPress.com is moving in a direction that will allow users to manage multiple sites from one central location. The end result will be faster and easier to use while also working across any setting (mobile, desktop, tablet, etc). The road won’t be perfect, and there will be bumps along the way. But, we’re going to continue to iterate and adjust. Like any web project, we’ll continue to tinker so I don’t have a guaranteed finish date for you, but we’ll continue to launch new pieces as we have here: https://en.blog.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/dashboard-update/

Personally, I’m not entirely convinced that this is the only reason for the changeover.

Regardless, the New Dash Editor’s birthing pains have been excruciating and WordPress.com users are its suffering midwives.  According to extensive and overwhelming negative feedback from users, even after months of labor, the current New Editor is still a far cry from a fully-fledged Classic Editor.

Do you use the New Dash Editor to write your posts? The Classic Editor? Take the poll below and leave your thoughts in the comment section on the New Editor vs. the Classic Editor!

In Memoriam: “Tess” Warn 1952-2015

yizkorSally “Tess” Warn (z”l) was a generous woman, both in real life and online as a volunteer moderator in the WordPress.com Community Support forums where we “met” several years ago. A kind soul, she helped out other WPcom users with her signature sense of humor and her broad knowledge of the platform and the web in general, which she freely shared with all in need and joyfully learned in return from the users she helped.

While our little circle of forum misfits has grown and shrunk over the years, Tess was certainly one of our cornerstones. It’s hard to imagine the forums without her.

Tess’ obituary can be found online, where you will also find a link to an online guestbook for her family.

*(z”l is the Jewish expression for “may her memory be a blessing.” No truer words…)

Hello to all my new Followers

From November 10th through November 29th, my little site received an average of 10-12 new Followers each day, for a total of 223 new Followers. An all time record and quite odd given that from the start of this site in 2011 until that time, 225 people followed this site. Sounds strange, no?

So, I ask this out of a genuine curiosity to understand this phenomenon. How did you find (and why did you follow) my site?

One Size Upgrade Fits All? Get Outta Here!

The past couple of weeks have seen a startling rise in the number of WordPress.com users posting in the Community Forums wondering how they can purchase a single upgrade to enhance their free WordPress.com website, most particularly the Domain Name and Domain Mapping upgrades. As most of the current forum volunteers have been around for some time, we were confused why these same users weren’t able to access these individual upgrades from their website’s Dashboard>Store>Store as we could.

Today, the picture became much clearer when a new WPcom user posted in the forums that when she clicked on the link to the Store in her site’s Dashboard, she ended up on a special page in the New Dash that only offered her either the Premium Bundle or the Business Bundle. Individual upgrades were not available to her.

After digging a little deeper into the New Dash, it does appear that WordPress.com recognizes that the custom Domain Name and Domain Mapping upgrades are make or break features for many users and these upgrades are still available through the “Domains” link in the Upgrades sidebar. (see Update 2 below)

But, and it’s a big one, any other individual upgrade (No Ads, Extra Storage, Custom Design, VideoPress, Site Redirectetc.), other than the ones mentioned above are no longer available to new WordPress.com users. This means that new users who run out of storage space after a while and want to buy only the 10GB space upgrade are being forced to purchase $80 worth of unwanted upgrades to do so. New users who want to try their hand at CSS now have to buy $69 worth of additional upgrades just to do so.

It would not be an exaggeration to say I am astonished and disappointed at this move by WordPress.com to the point where I feel I can no longer recommend using the site as readily as I once did. Many of these additional upgrades within the two offered bundles are not going to be used by most users and the cost of setting up a self-hosted site, and possibly other managed WP hosting, may fall within this price range. When time and research allow, I’ll post back with some relevant links.

Your thoughts in the comments are welcome.

Update: The full monty as revealed by Staff, finally.

Update 2:  On the Domains page, I was able to click through to map a domain I own without problem. The new user, however, was not. They were re-routed back to the bundle. Thankfully, Staff later reversed their decision and these two upgrades are available to new users as well, for now. (See comments below.) As I am fond of saying, WPcom is a continual work-in-progress and may go pear-shaped without warning.

 

Blog 2014: Free WordPress themes that display bylines

JenT:

A very helpful post from Daniel Greene with a current listing (as of July 2014) of WPcom’s free themes that display author name/byline or not.

Originally posted on Daniel Greene:

This is an update to a post I wrote in September 2012 titled WordPress.com themes that display author bylines, which listed free WordPress themes of 2012 that displayed bylines on both posts pages and single posts, single posts only, or not at all. My 2012 post served as an update to another blogger’s post Author and profile displayed or not (Panos, 2009; 2011). This present post covers all free WordPress Themes for Blogs at WordPress.com from January 2012 through July 2014.

Byline Displayed Screenshot of a byline displaying in a post info/meta section

A matter of style

Displaying an author’s name is a matter of style, not content. As I wrote in WordPress themes not showing author bylines explained, the author’s byline is on every WordPress post and posts page. It is always there in the HTML; whether it is displayed or hidden is an effect of CSS that makes up the theme. It has no affect on search engine optimization…

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Afterthoughts on WordCampIL

not the official WCIL banner

I chronically write my post-WordCamp summary about a month after the event and this time is no different. At least I’m consistent. :)

This year’s #WCIL took place at the end of May and a day before we left on a long-planned and long-awaited, 2-week vacation to Norway. Knowing that I was not yet packed, my time at WCIL was really limited this year. While I found the few sessions I attended interesting, most of my time was spent networking and reconnecting with folks I haven’t seen in a while (apparently much to the consternation of a few people sitting behind us, sorry!).

Click on each image to read a bit more about each:

One of the biggest changes to earlier WordCampILs, next to the move to the Tel Aviv area, of course, was the addition of several sessions in English. In my view this also contributed to the nearly 400 WordCampIL signups and according to the stats that were shared at the beginning of the day, apparently 70% of those were first-time attendees. While not all 400 showed up, it was clear that  both the change in venue and English language sessions contributed to the explosion in interest.

What was missing from the day’s sessions, for me personally, was a continuation of getting one’s feet wet in WordPress (the standalone software), following last year’s Getting to Know WordPress (Hebrew link).  When I look at the above statistic, it doesn’t tell me how many of those 70% newcomers were developers or users and catering to everyone’s WP needs in a one-day event is, of course, a challenge. While there are plenty of resources (free and paid) on the internet to learn WordPress, face-to-face interaction  is always first priority for me.

Sadly, by mid-afternoon I had to say goodbye to WCIL and, therefore, missed the last 3 sessions of the day. My empty suitcase and a 03:30 wake-up call were waiting for me at home.  All in all, it certainly was worth it!