Blocks and Blogging: The Great Divide

The last few years have seen the world settle into pronounced divisions. People have been choosing sides, undoubtedly.

In Britain, we had the Brexit vote, leaving this country almost equally divided between Leavers and Remainers. The USA got Mr Trump, and after four years of him, the country is along the lines of a 56-44 split either for or against him.

Then this year saw the differing attitudes following the Covid-19 pandemic. Those who will wear masks and take precautions, and the others who think it doesn’t concern them, and might even be a gigantic conspiracy. Responsibility versus selfishness, you might think. I know I do.

More recently, WordPress began to force the Block Editor onto its bloggers, causing another division between those who think it is a useful improvement, and the rest of us who hate the very concept of the thing.

Returning from a holiday break and checking blog comments and emails, it seems to me that the Block Editor has created another worldwide divide. Already some long-term bloggers have changed from WP to other platforms, and in a few cases have stopped blogging altogether. Many have the other view, that the new system is easy to grasp, and better for them to use. Then there are the relatively new bloggers who had the first Block Editor and never knew the old one, so naturally see the revised version as a huge improvement.

Many people have shown just how generous the blogging community is when it comes to helping others. Adding links and tips, creating tutorials, and talking people through how to do things in blog comments and replies. Despite their kind and well-intentioned help, a number of bloggers either just don’t get it, or simply don’t want it. Like me, they just cannot be bothered to struggle to learn a new system at a certain time in life, and are hanging on like grim death to any chance of continuing to use the old editor.

Perhaps we have had our day? Every dog does, so they say.

If so, it is just progress, and blogging will continue with those willing and able to adapt.

88 thoughts on “Blocks and Blogging: The Great Divide

  1. I hope most of the WP leavers will come back. Last week i had some time looking closer to the new editor. At least its what i wanted the last 10 years, but honestly less for blogging, more for online layouting our magazine. Gutenberg is – as new it looks like – Desktop Publishing in a blog environment. For faster blogging one can use the blog icon looking like a keyboard. Its the classic editor as a so called block. Am i right? 😉 Lets fight against becoming too old for learning new. 😉 Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The fact that it suits your needs for desktop publishing is a good explanation of why WP are changing the format, Michael. They are tired of hobby bloggers and free blogs, and are seeking to expand into the business market. It’s not really about being too old to learn something new, it is about wondering if I can be bothered to keep having to adapt at my age.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

      1. Hello Pete! I agree with you in this, but i think they are not really tired with hobby bloggers. Maybe they will help authors and writers getting a better structure into their postings, and – you can see the ecommerce buttons in the list -earning money by blogging too. However its sad getting this new editing experience without a prior introduction, and online help. ;-( Lets hope they will deliver in future. Best wishes, Michael

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Progress carries a connotation of improvement in the movement toward a destination of some kind. In short, there is a goal toward which change is directed. Change labeled as progress is not always an improvement and infrequently is directed at a specific goal. Given the reaction to the bock editor, and my own refusal to even deal with the old editor as I cut and paste my whole postings, I am left wondering what WP decisionmakers think the goal toward which their change is directed is? Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am still wondering why Microsoft ever got rid of Windows XP. It has to all be about making money of course. Big corporations can never stop doing that, even when they have more than they can count.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In the early days of PCs, the software was downward compatible, That is it would run as if the platform were not improved and seamlessly take into account the improvements without the user having to adjust. Apparently that got to cumbersome and expensive to maintain, so they just chucked it., Warmest regards, Theo

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Well said, Pete. It was hard enough for me to learn Zoom, and last week I learned to write a daily note for parents using a new app. Too much new technology for my liking! And I’m with you on the block editor!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This was a comforting level headed post so thank you Pete. I’m able to implement classic on new posts now but still find I have to be careful not to kick off extra blocks which I have no time for. Surely they could give people options.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Pete, the first post I did using it was a disaster. I kept adding blocks. I seem to be able to set it up more like classic now but I still have to look out for new blocks. It’s still annoying they can’t let us keep things. Best wishes Pete. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I am in the doldrums here climate change and health are the first to go…the rest we shall see…I am using the admin route but have tried the block editor it wasn’t that bad …just not the same and at the moment not for me until I really have to or not as the case may be 🙂 I am guessing that will be your choice to as time goes on…Take care and be well, Pete 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post Pete 🙂 I know you keep saying that you may not post on here as often, but I keep getting the hunch that you will not live up to that and I mean that as a good thing 🙂 Why? 🙂 Because you are just a wonderful blogger to listen to 🙂 We love it when you constantly post new entries 🙂 If it were not for Cindy Bruchman (you and her collaborated on that Brian De Palma post back in 2018 on her site), I would have never discovered you and I love talking about British cinema to you every now and then 🙂 Not only that, but I relish those pictures of your dog Ollie – he is so adorable 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. When the block editor first showed up, I created a test post just to see how it worked. I didn’t find it too hard and now use it all the time. As someone else said, it does have some good features. I don’t much like the most recent changes; for example, if I want to insert a spacer, I have to to plough through a whole raft of special blocks I’m never going to need to find it. Maybe there’s a way to save one’s favourites so they’re at the top of the pile, but I haven’t found that. It’s not perfect, but easier to learn if one messes around with a test post while the classic option is still around.
    On the other hand, I decided long ago I was never going to go through whatever it takes to use Twitter or Facebook. And while I’ve had to use Zoom for writers’ meetings, I can’t say I like it.
    It seems everyone draws the line in a different spot.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Audrey. Twitter is simple by comparison, more like sending text messages. I don’t use the time-line that much though, as it updates so fast I lose where I was. It is very good for personal direct messages though, which are private, and immediate.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. As to something like “favourites”: there’s the option to create “reusable” blocks. I have not yet experimented with those, but certainly will, to see if they need to contain text or if I can just have my formatting options there in just one place.
      If you want to try reusable blocks, though, be careful. Any change you make later in this will be reflected in all previous posts, too, that were created with that special reusable block.
      Maybe you want to check this out: https://wpbeg.in/2s3dsYj

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi Pit,
        Yes, I have created a couple of reusable blocks, and I agree you have to be careful about changing them because as you say, all occurrences of them are changed.
        What I meant was I use only 4 block types: paragraph, image and sometimes spacer or separator. It would be great if those 4 appeared at the top of the menu. WP has added a myriad of specialty blocks recently that I’ll probably never use, making the spacer and separator harder to find. It’s the same with changing the default font size; I don’t think you can pick a different size and make it stick from post to post.
        Thanks to you, Pete, for making room on your blog for these block editor related discussions.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m struggling with the new system too, frustrated that I can’t do what I used to do, like using my speech feature to hear the blog read out loud. Recently I’ve had to work really hard to learn how to teach remotely, I hate it, and our students are suffering, but I refuse to give up on my classes. Learning this new editor has felt like too much. I’m hanging in there but I don’t like it. I hope you stay Pete, you have such a supportive following. C

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I intend to stay around, Cheryl. Though maybe not as often as before. I can still use the old editor at the moment, but it’s more about realising how much time I spent blogging. When I wasn’t doing any last week, I was almost ‘lost’, and that’s not good.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m just muddling along and it’s OK-ish. In fact, I always write my post in Word then copy and paste the whole thing onto the blog. It is already in paragraphs which WP chooses to call blocks. Then I stick in the pictures. I’m never going to do fancy things with my blog. Was pleased to see putting a link in is easy.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I also hope you don’t let this push you out. I’m still using the classic editor, but must say I haven’t even bothered to look at the new one, because I saw it caused problems for many people, at least at the beginning when they were still trying to iron out the problems. Perhaps it is better now.
    I don’t do anything too complicated on the blog, so I suspect I would survive, although I’ve been wondering about carrying on blogging for other reasons, as I mostly use it to share book reviews, and there are other platforms where I can do that.
    I’m pleased to hear your holiday was good.
    Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Olga. It was my first real holiday since 2016, and much needed. I am still using the old editor, via the Admin page. And I have also not tried the new one, for fear that it would frustrate me too much. Maybe in a year or two… 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I didn’t have a choice. I’ve sent several links to WP Admin but nothing appears as it does in the instructions. Sounds like you’ve had better luck. Where did you go? I know how it feels to not take proper holidays for years so glad you went and hope if went well.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. We just went up to the Lincolnshire coast for 5 nights, less than 3 hours north. We were lucky with the weather, and the accommodation we rented was so good, we have booked a full week at the same time next year. You can see the seafront promenade from the porch of the ‘cabin’ we rented. It was nice to be offline for six days, and breathe in the sea air.
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Fne dining is not a feature of that area, Lloyd. We had a meal in the hotel restaurant on our anniversary, which was so-so. But it was all about being so close to the beach and enjoying the super-clean air.
              Best wishes, Pete.

              Liked by 1 person

      2. Whatever route I take, I always get to the new editor. But then, once in there, it’s absolute easy to call up the old one:
        – click on the “+” sign in the top left corner
        – type “classic” into the search field
        – click on the icon “classic”
        From that time on it’ll be available without the search routine.
        Btw, I normally use the new one nowadays. It’s simple and easy. And it gives me tons of more formatting options including different fonts and control over them. It’s only for text with indentation that I still need the old one.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Dinosaurs. Either adapt or go extinct.
    I have been using the block editor. I looked a post you sent and it’s not that big of a deal. All I do is add text or an image. I did want to include a caption for the pictures I put in today’s post, but I couldn’t figure it out. I was not going to let that upset my day.
    I do see your connections about divisions and agree with you.
    BTW, I can’t remember if you were a Leaver or Remainer?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My connections were deliberately exaggerated in the interests of humour, Cindy. But it seems I was the only one who got the joke. 🙂 And yes, I am a well-known dinosaur, the last of a certain species, I reckon.
      I voted to leave the EU. But not for racial, xenophobic, or patriotic reasons. My own reasons are many, and mostly political in nature. I am also old enough to have voted against not joining in the first place. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. From reading other blogs, it seems some bloggers have managed to retain it with no issues, whilst others are experiencing constant glitches, Robbie. I am still using the Admin page route for now.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  12. With all due respect, Pete, aren’t you blowing up things way out of proportion when you compare what you call a division among bloggers with what is happening in the world with Covid and/or what is going on here in the US now?
    Best,
    Pit

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Don’t you think it’s human nature to get used to our routines, especially as we get older? I’ve always admired people who can look at technology and can grasp new things intuitively. I’m that guy who doesn’t want to be left behind and is hanging onto the caboose with my legs dangling in the air.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Do what you have to do Pete. Blogging is supposed to be fun not work. It took me a little while to get comfortable with the block editor but once I got the hang of it, I found I liked some of the new features. I always work from my admin page and I still have the classic editor available to me. I only use it to edit older posts (resizing photos to get back some media space.) By comparison the block editor is easier to use especially with regards to photos. But either way, change is always hard.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am pleased that you (and everyone else who has) find the block editor to be better suited for your blogging. Old stick-in-the-muds like me are resistant to a lot of changes. I still refuse to change to Internet banking! 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. We have all been through worse than the editor change and I get that once we reach retirement, the last thing many of us want to do is fiddle with another new thing. Some are leaving as a protest, but I value this community too much to throw in the towel just yet. I may grumble along the way, but I am more of a fighter than that. I think you are, too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Maggie. I am not considering leaving as yet, and certainly not while I can still use the admin page for posting. But I may have to generally reduce the amount of time I spend on blogging in the forseeable future.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Honestly Pete, you know me and technology really don’t mix. I said it before, I’m sometimes surprised how I even learned how to set up my blog in the first place. Is the new editor better than the old one…for me that’s a no. Is it something that can’t be grasped or is very difficult to learn? To that question I will answer no as well. I have really been helped enormously by Fraggle’s videos, and while I am still not a fan of the new editor I do have to say that it isn’t as difficult as people are making it out to be. And really…that’s coming from me: a total noob when it comes to technology and computers, and that’s not a lie.
    When things are new, and not better, it also seems to create this negative vibe where what we call flames are kindled and it often makes it even worse than it is.
    By watching Fraggle’s videos (which was about a 10-15 minute investment in total) I have definitely gotten the hang of it now😊 And for the most part, especially when you use the classic editor block, things haven’t changed that much. It’s still annoying that they have forced it on people, definitely won’t deny that. I definitely hope more people will give it a go and at least try it, before quitting on blogging altogether, or moving to another platform. Because really that would be a real shame 😢

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Absolutely, Fraggle. That’s as irrational an attitude as giving up blogging altogether because of a change in the editor. Would those people give up washing their clothes instead of getting a new washing-machine?
        And for myself: I will only give up learning when I’m pushing up daisies. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

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