After the Dust Settled

FalloutIt has been just over a week since the Gutenberg block editor dropped like an atomic bomb on unsuspecting WordPress users, many of whom had never heard of it.

People whose sites broke, were told to install the Classic Editor plugin.

Meanwhile, ClassicPress was trying to get the message out that it doesn’t use Gutenberg and people should migrate across to them as a long-term solution.

It seems like a simple decision. Either you stick with WP and eventually have to use blocks, or you change to CP and continue on as normal.

But as the dust settled, both camps had to deal with unforeseen technical hiccups and angry or confused users. To make matters worse, animosity started to grow both between the two, and within each camp itself. Things have not gotten off to a good start.

WordPress
The WP support forum is full of complaints from users who are running into problems and being given instructions on how to fault find their websites. Most users have no idea how to do these things. If they are lucky enough to be able to login to their admin area, then the simplest fix is to install the classic editor plugin and undo the damage.

WP then released 5.0.1 which broke even more sites. Even people who stayed with 4.9.8 got updated to 4.9.9 which had the same changes that broke sites in 5.0.1

In an attempt to maximize damage control, WP started removing posts in plugin reviews or support forums that mentioned CP and even disabling their account. Rather than give people an option, they treat CP as a cancer, that has no business being mentioned anywhere on the WP website.

This attitude is totally unnecessary. CP is not going to make much of a dent in the 32.5% of sites that use WP. There is no need to see it as a threat. Even Drupal, who Matt Mullenweg supports, doesn’t reach double figure level and it’s been around for years.

ClassicPress
CP has run into some unforeseen problems too. Web hosts and security companies such as Sucuri are seeing sites as WordPress 1.0.0 instead of ClassicPress 1.0.0 and, therefore, extremely out of date. This has led to some sites being automatically updated by the hosting company itself.

One site reported to CP on slack that it had actually been blacklisted by McAfee, which showed up on Sucuri. It then had to go through the process of getting it removed from the blacklist.

Update: The Beta2 version has been released that seems to have fixed this problem, as well as incorporating the security updates of WP 4.9.9

But another problem is beginning to raise its ugly head, which has nothing to do with technology. There is a lot of power play going on amongst users and team members.

While Scott Bowler, the project creator, has a fairly level-headed and humble personality, the same cannot be said of some of the team members. One or two seem to think they know what is best for everybody and, even worse, that only they understand how software works.

Add in users who are not committee members trying to steer the project in different directions, and it is becoming very much a “Personality before Principles” situation. Admittedly, it’s very early days for the project, but this sort of ego driven attitude needs to be quashed quickly. As the old saying goes, “There is no ‘I’ in team”.

Summary
Both WP and CP have their work cut out for them. WP is going to have trouble retaining users and CP in finding new ones.

The animosity between WP and CP is unnecessary and should stop.

The CP committee needs to respect users and stop treating them as inferior technophobes who don’t know their backside from their elbow.

4 Replies to “After the Dust Settled”

  1. I first want to thank you for your honesty. We can’t grow without people being honest about what they see.

    I have brought these comments up with the committee to make sure we do a better job in the future. If you ever need to chat with me directly (and anonymously) please feel free to do so.

    1. Hi Wade,
      My aim for this site is twofold. Firstly to support ClassicPress and secondly to see things objectively.

      This will mean that sometimes I will say things that either WP or CP don’t want to hear. But of course, they are only my opinion.

      If I ever say something that is blatantly untrue, please feel free to use the contact form to let me know.

  2. Interesting. Do note that I have not had any of my comments re CP banned at the WP forum. I have not experienced the personality angst you mention at the CP forums but will go look for that right after I leave here. But we’re humans ..in life. And there is one thing guaranteed us: valleys and mountains… bumps always. I don’t mind bumping of minds as out of that can come new ideas. It’s Matt’s PC silence when asked certain questions that bothered me more than a good let’s rock this boat and talk it through thing. It’s Matt’s reaction to “community” that I noticed. And his reaction to the future of themes and plug-ins and services to WP. I observed.. calmly noticed and thought “how interesting.”

    After thinking on everything I’ve absorbed, I decided that I am going to stay abreast of what happens in WP as I anticipate two impacts. The first will be the value of web site development work once 35% of the web can build their own and the second is what price point Automattic will eventually set for WP when it becomes SAAS. There’s no doubt in my mind that wordpress.org and wordpress.com will merge. There’s no doubt that will lead to an announcement of SAAS, with the rationale that people are no longer paying for themes, plugins or developers. That syncs with his corporate goals and will please his VCs. It also explains the silence. The SAAS model, I hope, will counter the devaluation that will be caused by my first point. I know of no situation, ever, where high value has ever been the result of unlimited anything.

    1. Hi Sunni,
      You are one of the lucky ones if you’ve managed to post comments about CP at WP. A lot of us did and got our accounts disabled as a result.

      The part about “angst” is not only in the forum, but slack as well. It is not a major problem, but is one that needs to be checked. There are a lot of things that need to be done at base level for CP yet, as it is still in beta, and the committee needs to be firm on who is doing what.

      The project is still very young and the CMS needs to be properly tested and debugged before all the side issues are even considered. Flooding the forum or slack with suggestions that are not ready to be implemented at this stage is confusing visitors, and no doubt frustrating staff.

      When personalities become more important than principles, then decisions can end up being the wrong ones, as we have seen with Gutenberg – which should have been kept as a plugin.

      And yes, I can definitely see WP becoming SAAS, as I mentioned in a previous post.

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