I’m not usually stumped by what appears to be a common ‘feature’ in WordPress, but I’ve just found one that has me utterly baffled.
This is a screenshot of the Media Library as accessed from the Dashboard:
I have the view set to ‘list’ instead of ‘grid’, but the column heading of ‘Uploaded to’ doesn’t mean ‘this picture was inserted into XX post’ because most of my pictures are shown as ‘Unattached’, despite the fact that I know they were inserted into posts.
The blue ‘Attach’ option doesn’t do what I thought it should either – i.e. it doesn’t insert a saved picture file /into/ a post. I actually tried it out and when you select the ‘Attach’ option, you’re given a list of posts to attach the picture file to:
But…selecting a post and clicking ‘Select’ does NOT place the image into the post. I tried. It doesn’t do anything that’s visually obvious. The only thing that changes is that for that file, ‘Attach’ changes to ‘Detach’.
I tried searching for an explanation of what the ‘Uploaded to’ column means, or what the ‘Attach’ option is meant to do, but found only programming type gobbledegook that sounded as if it had nothing to do with inserting a picture into a post.
To save /my/ sanity. Does anyone out there know what this is all about? -cough- In plain English?
So…Wordpress is ramping up its long term plan of monetising our content. First it was those shitty ads taking up valuable real estate on everyone’s blog page, now we’ll be hosting full length infomercials in place of our own blog posts:
‘WordPress.com has begun testing Sponsored Posts on free WordPress.com sites. These sponsored posts promote WordPress.com content, other Automattic products, and brands for the purpose of driving traffic and sales for users and advertisers. For now, you may see these Sponsored Posts running on your sites as we expand testing. To remove Sponsored Posts from your site, upgrade to any paid WordPress.com planwhich comes with many more benefits including the ability to use your own custom domain! In the longer term, we hope to offer Sponsored Posts to our users as a way to help drive traffic and promote content discovery.
How it will be done is hidden behind opaque words like ‘testing’. Will our blog posts be replaced once a day? Once a week? At random so we never know when to post important marketing posts of our own?
And what happens when we want to post something new?
Will our new posts replace the obnoxious shit placed there by Automatic? Or will we have to wait for the cuckoo to run its course before we can post again?
And what of the content? Once WordPress start offering this new ‘service’ to paying customers, we could find ourselves hosting absolutely anything on our blogs.
Remember when paid ads first started appearing on our sites? I found a delightful adv. for some kind of porn site on my blog. This is the pic that went with it:
But at least that advert had no naked bits, and people knew it was a paid commercial. Once our actual posts are replaced by someone else’s paid content, I could wake up to find that Meeka’s Mind has hosted an infomercial for a porn site complete with full on visuals!
Automatic says I can complain and ‘ask’ for objectionable content to be taken off, but the damage will already have been done. Not only will that kind of awful content be on my blog, notifications about it will have been sent to all my followers, exactly as if I had posted a new article. Exactly as if I’d sponsored that content.
That scares me most of all. I’ve put nine years of my life into this blog. To have it, and my reputation, abused like that would be unbearable.
Yes, I could probably scrape together a monthly fee to be saved from this blatant ditigal blackmail, but as more and more of us pay to escape having our blogs hijacked, the price will go up. That’s how this marketplace works; corporations charge whatever the market will allow – i.e. whatever us poor saps are prepared to pay.
I simply can’t afford to pay that kind of protection money to Automatic out of my pension.
There’s also something else. WordPress would be nothing without our content. It’s like a digital shopping mall that offers us somewhere to create and display our ‘goods’. Take those goods away and you’re left with a great big empty building. Or maybe it won’t be empty. Maybe your blog will be surrounded by porn sites and 2 dollar shops. I’m moving mine before that happens and I waste more of my life on WordPress.
If I must pay to retain control of my blog, my brand and my content, then I’d rather pay a company with some integrity. And if that company abuses my trust, I’ll move on again. It’s called ‘churning’, and it’s the commercial equivalent of voting with your wallet. It is a lot of work, but it’s the only way we consumers have of forcing corporations to actually compete for our business. Given that these corporations are big enough to buy and sell small countries, I feel no guilt at punishing them when they abuse my trust.
I’ve been blogging with WordPress.com for nine years, but I won’t be here for the tenth. The price of free has become too high.
Soundcloud strikes again! I fell in love with this track first thing this morning and have been playing it on repeat ever since. To hear the track for yourself, simply click the orange ‘play’ button below:
If you want to place Soundcloud tracks in your posts, ignore the confusing instructions about embedding etc and just start a new paragraph [in block editor]. Next, copy the URL shown under the Share option in Soundcloud. It’ll look something like this:
To copy the URL [web address] circled in red above, simply click inside the address box. The whole URL will be highlighted in blue.
Now, press the CTRL C keys on your keyboard [this will ‘copy’ the URL to your Clipboard].
Finally, go back into your WordPress post, click inside a new paragraph and press the CTRL V keys on your keyboard [this will copy the URL from your Clipboard into WordPress.
Note: these two keyboard shortcuts will work on any computer running a Windows operating system – e.g. Windows 7 or 10 etc.
After WordPress does its magic, you should see the track displayed with the background image and the Play button. Click Play and away you go!
As someone who has taught human beings for close to 40 years, I can tell you that one size will never fit all.
What that means for YOU is that the interface you create must always have ‘layers’ so it can cater to the abilities of all users – i.e. absolute beginners through to power users. At the moment it dumbs everything down in an attempt to suit absolute beginners.
Now I agree that pitching to the lowest common denominator is a nice idea, at least in theory, but it doesn’t work in practice because it ignores all those in the middle to high end of the bell curve. These users are not smarter than beginners, they have simply learned more, and put that learning to use. They have different needs.
Let me give you an example. When I started my blog on WordPress, everything was new and my first efforts were pretty basic. I knew how to setup my blog, write a blog post, publish it, and browse the Reader. That was about it. Well over 500 posts later, I need all the functionality of the existing dashboard to manage the sheer volume of pages and posts on my blog. Yet instead of giving me more tools, you’ve gone and hidden all the most powerful ones.
I haven’t been happy about these changes for quite some time, but I want this post to be more positive than negative so instead of whining, I’m going to make some common sense suggestions :
1. How about trusting your WordPress bloggers enough to ask them what they want and need? You know where we live – talk to us!
2. How about redesigning the interface so that new users are walked through the basic functions in a series of real time tutorials? The method works well in most MMOs and could work here.
3. How about accepting that all users are not the same, and giving those who want it, direct access to the dashboard. Perhaps you could have an ‘Advanced’ button up the top of the screen. Or even one called ‘Dashboard’. Wouldn’t that be radical?
4. Finally, how about giving your users the courtesy of some warning when you change things? For years now you’ve been treating us as conscripted beta-testers. We get no warning, we get no explanations and we get no apology when you inevitably get things wrong. At the very least, it would be nice to have the option of ‘opting out’.
I recognize that most of these suggestions will never see the light of day, but putting an ‘Advanced’ button within easy reach is such a small thing to ask for. Do you really care so little about what we think?