Whither this Humble Blog?

Addendum: We’re not moving the blog. After eleven days of uncertainty and virtually unanimous opinion from the blogging community here, WordPress staff have announced that they have “no plans to permanently remove the classic editor.”

We’ve mentioned a few times that WordPress.Com, where this blog is hosted, has launched a new editor for writing and editing posts. They call it Beep Beep Boop. It’s what one would expect from such a juvenile name.

Aside from innumerable bugs which initially impaired the function of even its limited capabilities, Beep Beep Boop is awkward, time consuming, and just plain foolish. It’s clearly designed to appeal to those whose blogging consists of a few sentences per post.

We’ve seen no reasons given for the sudden appearance of Beep Beep Boop, so all we can do is speculate. We assume that’s what this site’s management sees as the future, and they’re eagerly reaching out in that direction, unconcerned that those who write more substantively will be unable to continue blogging here.

Our guess is that bloggers like your humble Curmudgeon use too much of this site’s resources with our drafting, saving, previewing, revising, saving again, loading earlier posts to copy background material, editing some more, previewing again, and eventually publishing. It seems that WordPress would prefer to replace us with a bunch of teens whose posts are brief and unedited, and who therefore require virtually none of the server time required by bloggers like your Curmudgeon.

Besides, who cares how long a blog post is, or what it says, or how well it’s written? An amateurish, unedited, two-sentence post will carry the same advertising as something longer and revised numerous times, and there are more people who post like that than people who do as we do. That means your Curmudgeon is obsolete — or at least not optimal. The message we’re getting is: If we don’t like Beep Beep Boop, that’s just too bad.

For the moment, the original editor (now designated “classic”) is still available as an option, but it’s been strongly hinted that this option will survive only while they work out the bugs of Beep Beep Boop. When the new editor has reached juvenile perfection, there’s little doubt that the “classic” editor will be gone. We’ve asked management to give us a time estimate for the demise of the classic editor, but they haven’t responded.

So what are we going to do? A couple of things are clear. First, Beep Beep Boop is unacceptable for our requirements, and we can’t continue blogging here if it becomes this website’s only editor. Had it been in place originally, we never would have chosen this site as the home of our blog. Second, because of management’s silence, the most prudent course is to anticipate the worst.

That means we need to set up a new blog at our own domain (we already own SensuousCurmudgeon.com) using software from WordPress.Org — which is different from WordPress.Com. That would give us the “classic” editor, so we could continue to do what we do, albeit at a different website where we would have the unwanted responsibility of being the webmaster.

But there are problems. Yes, we can migrate all of our content to the new site. It’s a pain to do because there’s so much. We’ll have to do it year by year, in order to move everything and have it all at the new blog. We’ll get it done. However, you may have seen and browsed our extensive tables of contents. Those comprise thousands of links to all of our posts, organized by topic, and — alas — each of those links points to a post at this website. It’s unrealistic to change those links to whatever would be the new location of those posts. That’s our biggest problem.

There are three possibilities for dealing with this. In addition to moving a copy of our archives to the new site, we could: (1) abandon our tables of contents; (2) leave the tables of contents and the original archives at this website where they would continue to be functional; or (3) move the tables of contents to the new site while leaving the original archives here (as a duplicate), so the links in the tables of contents at the new site– which all point here — would still function.

At the moment, options 2 and 3 both seem attractive. Either way, we would use this place to store an extra copy of our archives while we post new material at the new blog. Search engines will probably downgrade us for having duplicate material, but that’s unavoidable. Leaving an extra set of the archives here would preserve the utility of our tables of contents, and — just as important — it would preserve other links to our earlier content, which are all over the internet. We’d be spread out over two different sites, but so what?

We think this place will, on request, migrate our subscribers to the new location, so that would be a convenience. If not, we’ll leave a prominent note at the home page of this blog explaining our new location. That’s essential for anyone trying to find us, because it’ll take search engines like Google some time to figure out our new location.

Anyway, we’re not moving yet. But this weekend, when we may have the time, we’ll start setting up a new blog at another site with software from WordPress.Org. That requires a bit of work — selecting a theme, making sure it looks okay, adding essential features like a spam detector, migrating our archives, etc. The new site will be kept “private” so it won’t be visible on the internet until we’re certain we have to use it. If that becomes necessary, we’ll make it public and let you know that the new place is active and that’s where our new posts will be. We’ll also try to get our subscribers moved.

We’re not looking forward to this, and we keep hoping there will be some message from management that the classic editor will be retained. But if that doesn’t happen, we gotta do what we gotta do. We’ll keep you advised. Meanwhile, if anyone has any helpful suggestions, we’d like to hear from you.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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40 responses to “Whither this Humble Blog?

  1. Don’t worry, Curmie! I heard that WordPress is going to come out with a Better Boop called Boop-oop-a-Doop

  2. Is there anything we can do to help? This blog is far too important–and way too much fun–to permit to vanish into an Orwellian memory hole!

  3. Megalonyx asks: “Is there anything we can do to help?”

    Not really. I’ll still be blogging, but if this site goes downhill, it’ll be somewhere else, that’s all. It’s an annoyance for me, but it’s not a catastrophe.

  4. I have three blogs and if this continues I might move.
    WP, do not listen to us.

  5. I would appreciate your keeping in touch and letting me know how it is going. I face the same thing, but I don’t think I have the requisite expertise to make it on my own. There was a time when I did know and had enough friends who knew who could help me … but now? I’m retired, resources are very limited and frankly, I’m getting old.

    I’ve got 2600 posts plus more than 5,300 images. Unless I can find a solution other than self-hosting, which I feel ill-equipped to manage, I’m going to be out of the blogging business. I’ve put so much work into my site, as you have into yours. I feel like one last thing that has made life interesting and fun is being taken from me. For nothing. These stupid changes will eventually bring down WordPress. People WON’T keep coming to see those teeny bopper bloggers and buying products. Different customers, different economics.

    I’ve followed you so hopefully I’ll get news and you’re interesting anyhow. I think I used to follow you and somehow you got disconnected. Thanks for a good piece on a subject of importance to so many of us.

  6. I’ve been gloomily having similar thoughts about my own WordPress site.

  7. Sounds like another case of those completely out of touch with users who don’t eat, drink and sleep computers, trying to “fix” what ain’t broke. Same happened to the newsgroup I used to access Talk.Origins. I barely put up with the troll-feeding in recent years, but when it became much harder to post and locate old posts, that was the last straw.

  8. Apparently there is talk of a class action lawsuit on the grapevine against automattic! A few big names are not happy bunnies!

  9. Sad times for serious bloggers. I can’t help seeing some parallels here with what happened at Flickr. I stopped uploading content there after they dumbed down their service. I would really hate to see WordPress.com going the same way.

  10. What are the odds that an anti-creationist blogger would complain that the host of his internet-based blog would transition to a lesser quality editor named Beep Beep Boop, that the blogger would consider moving his site, that the blog post would prompt a comment from readers named Megalonyx and docbill1351, and a person with my name would read that post while watching Peppa Pig with his four-year-old daughter? It’s all designed, I say.

    Checkmate, wicked evilutionists.

    P.S. Whatever you do, SC, please put an RSS button on your new site.

  11. Mark Germano says: “Whatever you do, SC, please put an RSS button on your new site.”

    Of course. I wouldn’t think about moving if I wanted to downgrade the service.

  12. The whole thing sounds like a royal pain in the butt. I don’t know where you’re located but maybe you could get some university to intern a computer wiz geek out to you for a decent stipend, to help move things along. I haven’t a clue how much it might cost but its an idea.

  13. We got a response from staff to our request for an estimate regarding the demise of the classic editor. Here it is:

    We don’t have a specific timeline in place. Our goal is to continue to improve the new editor to such an extent that users prefer it over the classic editor.

  14. We don’t have a specific timeline in place. Our goal is to continue to improve the new editor to such an extent that users prefer it over the classic editor.

    Well, that should take a decade or two.

  15. Charles Deetz ;)

    I was surprised how easy it was to move from one wp.org server to another. There is an import/export thing right on the menu. I assume wp.com has similar and plays nice with wp.org. If only you could put redirects on the old pages at wp.com. I’d look at doing at search/replace on the text of you table-of-content pages when you move them.

    Advantage will be free range of plug-ins in wp.org sites, probably some to even help with your transition. It should be a fun and worthy move.

  16. Charles Deetz says: “I’d look at doing at search/replace on the text of you table-of-content pages when you move them.”

    I’ve thought about it. If the Org software uses the exact same url system, with date and file name, except that theirs says “new domain name” instead of “wordpress.com,” then it can easily be done. Otherwise, obviously not.

  17. I’ve been on WordPress for 7 years. 2,300 posts. Every time they do something like this, I’m one of the first to complain. Several times I’ve been upset enough to consider leaving and have explored the options. Each time I’ve hurried back to WP. I have found nothing out there that gives me such a variety of themes, so many options, so much control over every detail of my presentation (with the CSS upgrade), such security, such great spam protection, and such a great community.

    Years ago I hosted my own little website, where I had to do everything myself and fix everything myself when it broke. No way I’m doing that again.

    I’m reasonably confident that, as in the past, WP will eventually get all the bugs worked out. Things may be arranged differently, but most likely all the same functionality will be there. I hope. I’m getting too old to deal with moving of any kind.

    My post on this topic, if anyone is interested: http://piedtype.com/2014/08/13/knock-it-off-wordpress/

  18. Charles Deetz ;)

    CS, you can customize the taxonomy for post URLs, so it should be do-able. When I moved from Blogger, I found a plug-in that helped with the titles of the post pages to make them work, at least 90% were the same.

  19. Being the simple and old fashioned type [Luddite] I remain at Blogger and simply mirror at WordPress. What I have found at WP is a whole lot of people who click to follow simply hoping that you will reciprocate. Virtually none of those WP folks actually read and comment.

  20. Lewis Thomasonn

    Whither thou goes there goest I.

  21. Let’s continue speculating…
    You mentioned using WordPress.org instead. What if that is precisely what they expect you to do? After all, you are then still with WordPress, if I understand correctly. Teenybloppers at .com, serious content management at .org.

    Laughing all the way to the bank, anyone?

    cheers,
    one conspiracy theorist :-)

  22. One major concern comes to mind…. If you are hosting your own. Do you have to take care of security?

    Creationists are a fickle sort and some have no problem subjecting sites to various forms of Denial of service attacks or other forms of vandalism.

  23. Would it help to compose in NotePad and then do a copy-and-paste? The wife does this for her FaceBook posts, because when you press Enter there, the freaking post _posts_, instead of giving you a new line.

    Anyway, just a thought.

  24. Maybe take a look at http://freethoughtblogs.com/ . They could use some diversity.

  25. Lurker111 says: “Would it help to compose in NotePad and then do a copy-and-paste?”

    That’s what I do. I have a template I made long ago for my posts, with all the codes I need for links, blockquotes, formatting Drool-a-tron, etc. All of my drafting is done that way, off-line, so if anything goes wrong after I copy it to WordPress, I have a backup on my computer from which I can start over. But that’s just the beginning.

    I continue editing in WordPress. After I save it there and see it in preview mode, test the links, and read it as it will be seen by my readers, I always think of another link to add, a better way to phrase something, more that needs to be said, etc. So there’s a lot to be done in WordPress after I draft in NotePad. I need a decent WordPress editor, and Beep Beep Boop is unsuitable.

  26. Tom T, I don’t belong there. I’m a bit too diverse for them.

  27. I would miss the table of contents if it’s gone. If you get anything on where you’re getting viewed from, any hits from New Hampshire are probably my doing. And they’ve been most helpful.

  28. Curmudgeon you should be able to migrate everything from your WP.com account to your new hosted domain without a lot of problems. I manage half a dozen websites all with their own domains running WP backend, and as others have said, there are a ton of plugins to help with transitions.

    Also, because you can set a custom permalink structure, as someone mentioned, you should be able to reproduce whatever internal linking directory you need to keep the TOC and others in tact. I don’t recall if WP.com hosting lets you add custom plugins or not, but there are a few excellent WP Backup plugins that will allow you to download all of your files and database tables, and then you can just import the file (csv, txt, etc) into your new site, bringing all of the content over. I think maybe even the basic WP has this function, under Tools or Setting perhaps, forget at the moment.

    Or if you have access to a basic ftp program like Filezilla you can just download a copy of your entire server directory to a local drive, then re-upload it to your new WP host, keeping all of the exact folders and associations in place. You might have to play around with the custom post links to make sure they match, but my sense is you should have some options that won’t destroy all the great work so far on this site. Happy to offer any tips or advice if needed.

  29. Would it be helpful if each one of us regulars sent a missive to the appropriate person or position at WordPress? If so, just tell us where to send them. Since they offer BeepBeepBoop as well as the classic editor now, why should it be so difficult to continue this arrangement?

  30. retiredsciguy asks: “Would it be helpful if each one of us regulars sent a missive to the appropriate person or position at WordPress?”

    I don’t think so. They’re already aware that they’ve made a massive blunder, and at least for now they’re staying with it.

  31. Not much one can do, really, except complain. I started out on Blogger and I’m still there even though they made changes over the years that caused me to revamp my site several times. Still, it’s a lot easier to use than rolling my own. I used Moveable Type (can’t remember the actual name, I think that’s right) and it wasn’t too bad to set-up, although I began to think they had a back door because my site got hacked several times even with passwords like “CuRm00dunG30n.666″ I ended up shutting down that site and rebuilding it with iWeb which is now discontinued.

  32. Maybe the money behind the Discovery Institute got to the people at WordPress and said, “Do everything in your power to drive this Sensuous Curmudgeon guy nuts.” Or maybe it was Ken Ham, diverting some of the money originally intended to buy Ark planks and beams. I’m sure the DI and Ham consider you a royal [thorn in the side].

  33. retiredsciguy surmises:

    Maybe the money behind the Discovery Institute got to the people at WordPress and said, “Do everything in your power to drive this Sensuous Curmudgeon guy nuts.”

    They’re annoying me, that’s all. Once I’m set up with my own domain and that Org software, nothing will change regarding them. Hey — I found the same theme at Org that I’m using here. That’ll make the transition easier on everyone.

  34. I kind of agree with retiredsciguy. Maybe you’v driven them close to the edge and they see as a tit for tat kind of thing. LOL

  35. Breaking news: This morning, eleven days after Beep Beep Boop made its sudden and uninvited appearance, a staffer posted this in the support thread on the subject:

    We have no plans to permanently remove the classic editor from the dashboard, but our goal is to improve the new editor in a way that users will prefer it over the classic one.

    That means we don’t have to move from this website.

    Because the uncertainty dragged on so long, we already created a new blog, but we haven’t done anything with it yet. We were going to move our archives this weekend and do all the other stuff that had to be done, but now it appears that we can cease those efforts. However, this mess was not without purpose. If anything like it happens again, we have a fallback blog already created. It’s good to be prepared.

  36. Good news indeed. Any time spent on moving archives, etc. is time taken from your writing, which is what brings us here in the first place.

  37. Thanks for the heads up.

  38. Good news.

    There are a lot of people who are not directly connected who were concerned about the effect.

    Let hope that this is a “New Coke”-type miscalculation.

  39. TomS says:

    Let hope that this is a “New Coke”-type miscalculation.

    It reminds me more of Microsoft Bob.