It seems that even a honeymoon period with WordPress was only ever a pipe dream.

This post is partly venting, partly “field survival guide” for anyone else trying to start up a blog and having to deal with all this nonsense.

Every one of the pile of plugins I have installed are to fix WordPress’ deficiencies. It’s not a matter of enhancement, it’s a matter of treading water because, despite everything, WordPress is somehow* still the “least worst” option for DIY blogging software: the UX for every solution made in someone’s basement sucks even worse for non-computerists. (If this bar drops any lower, perhaps I’ll try my hand at clearing it over a summer!)

Context behind us, let’s get into it!

My WordPress Essentials:

Suki

Apparently the only theme taking less than a freaking half-megabyte of overhead to load a <10kiB article…

WP User Avatar

Because an external “cloud”-based service extensively linked into Social Network panopto is the only OOTB way to set users’ avatars, even those of site Authors/Editors/Administrators.

Very Simple Meta Description

Because the Excerpt field wasn’t semantically apparent enough for the WordPress devs to indicate to search engines…?

Classic Editor

Stopping WordPress from cluttering up the pages’ source with metadata tags reminding the editor software of basic semantic facts it has no excuse not to dynamically derive from the HTML—and, in fact, is capable of and will gladly do—*as part of the process of migrating your content to it.

(I don’t want to have to vacuum a bunch of litter out of my content when I do, finally, bail from this platform.)

wpuntexturize

Because, out-of-the-box, WordPress will convert all straight quotes into typographical/“curly” quotes, with no way to disable its doing so—even when it (often) incorrectly judges which quotes should be curled in which directions.

Display PHP Version

Because this info is, apparently, less essential than the vital and topical items in the news feed that comes OOTB in the Dashboard [/s]🙄

why I am irritated

This irritates me because; while WordPress may (theoretically) have some kind of “accountability” to its users not to create a truly awful UX, because theoretically it would be bad for them if users could+did leave en masse; plugin writers are under no such scrutiny. The “lower bound” on their social obligation to be Good Actors Per Se is even-less-obviously defined.

Granted, this situation is not as bad as it used to be, but, even so, unless you’re paying someone, you have no reasonable expectation of QA; much more so if the developer isn’t anything more than some random hobbyist padding his GitHub profile for employers.

I have done my level best to find the most professional, “Schelling-point”-tier plugins to patch these holes that I can, but, nevertheless, exposing yourself to / trusting more code administrated by more disparate entities always comes at a risk/price, and, statistically, you can’t escape paying it forever…

Two (well, perhaps three) instances that I have experienced in the brief quarter I’ve been back into blogging:

  • The plugin wpuntexturize, after eleven years of doing its sole, well-defined, eponymous duty—decided on a whim last May to take its baseline behavior: to stop WordPress from modifying what the user writes, and upgrade it: by itself, modifying what the user writes.
    And not provide any Settings entry/elements to disable this change.
    I kid you not.
  • A double-microdose of the nonsense described at the earlier-mentioned DigiWP article coming directly from both the Suki theme and the WP User Avatar plugin:
    • The former begging for reviews via a Dashboard popup; with separate buttons for “I have done so” and “I will not”, which creates a horrible sense of doubt as to what sorts of illegibly-implemented degradations of service might occur if the user picks the “wrong” answer—or, worse yet, is somehow found out for lying after picking the “right” one. 😬
    • The latter straight-up putting advertisements in the dashboard for some “Free optin form plugin that will increase revenue, increase your email subscribers and keep them engaged with automated and schedule newsletters.” –From the plugin I installed specifically to escape that kind of Molochian/proto-cyberpunk-dystopian/Millenial nonsense. 🤦

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Why is it so hard to build a dang Zen garden online in 2020? 😑

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