WordPress Might be Improving

This is the way it's supposed to be
This is the way it’s supposed to be

When I was working in the yard digging those trenches, I had my iPhone in my back pocket. I always have it with me. I check it now and then, and I usually turn it off before replacing it to avoid butt-calls. You know, when your movement causes your phone to dial someone and then you start recording your life into their voice mail. This would happen to me if I were ever dumb enough to have an affair.

The longest butt-call I received was from my wife’s phone when she and my daughter were shopping. I listened for a bit. I didn’t hear anything like “you won’t believe what your idiot father did…” so I figured all was right with the world.

Anyway, back in the yard, I must have placed my phone in my pocket without turning it off, because the next time I looked at it, it was different. I hadn’t called anyone, but somehow my butt rearranged my phone. Icons were missing. Icons had been moved on the screen. Icons had been moved in and out of folders.

My phone should know better. Seriously, my phone knew that it was upside down. Who rearranges their Apps when the phone is upside down? Also, Apple, you should add a list of recently deleted Apps to the phone somewhere – just sayin’.

I still haven't figured out what's missing here but CBS Sports used to be on page 2
CBS Sports should be on page 2

Among a bunch of annoying changes that I know only because key icons are out of place, there were three curious changes that made me wonder what my butt knows that I don’t:

The flashlight app had been moved out of the Utilities folder onto the main screen, like I was going to need it soon.

The Flickr App had been moved to the second page of my “Photography” folder, and

The WordPress App had been deleted.

My daughter is talking about the new X-Files mini-series, maybe my butt and I are going on an adventure with Mulder and Scully. No, the flashlight on my phone is way brighter than the ones they carry into dark basements. Unless I use the flashlight in an attempt to follow a creepy path out of the woods, only to have it drain the battery to zero just as I reach a point where I get a cell signal. I see the bars populate, I hear strange noises behind me and the light fades slowly to black. Yeah, that could be a scene in an X-Files episode.

The Flickr App is awful. Flickr, the Yahoo-owned-photo-service-website is gradually climbing out of the pit of awful it fell into after someone got the idea that users wanted Flickr to be more like Instagram. Their first attempt to get out was to start digging deeper, and to pull the App into the pit with them. The website has improved, but the App is still digging. If I upload three photos from my phone, they all still get one title and I can’t seem to describe them until after they are posted. That’s just dumb.

WordPress, as many of you know, went into an awful state several months ago. I think it is gradually making some progress. People are still complaining, but I can tell you that the Automattic Folks (no, not misspelled robots, that’s the name of the company that owns WordPress) are listening. I know because I complained and they responded. I complained about the fact that I could ‘Like a post I in my browser, but the Reader would make it appear that I hadn’t liked it. If I liked it in the Reader, it would unlike the post on my behalf. Sad faces all around.

I complained that the Reader crashed a lot on my iPad. I complained that the iPhone App no longer had spell-check. I complained that I wasn’t seeing posts from people that I follow and I know had published something, and I complained that the Reader kept scrolling me around, causing me to lose my place. I also complained that if I posted a draft, but published the post a day later, the published post had the date of the first draft.

Lots of those things got fixed. WordPress isn’t perfect, but it is better than it was in March. The recent changes to the Reader aren’t getting a lot of positive comments, but I actually think they are moving in the right direction. The Reader has a nice responsive layout. It looks a little weird on a large monitor, but it looks good on my phone and my iPad and if I scrunch the window down (which I always do because I like to have lots of windows open on my laptop), I can still see most everything I want to see.

My iPad isn’t crashing and they added Spell-check back to the iPhone app. You all should know that because I write a lot of comments from that App, and now, at least some of the words are spelled correctly.

If you have a serious complaint, submit it to WordPress. Be prepared to respond to questions, to generate logs and to work with them to help them figure out what is wrong. Be specific. Tell them why you don’t like what you don’t like, especially if it impacts your ability to write or read. They may not consider every random tweet to be an official complaint, but they seem to handle official complaints pretty well. At least that’s my experience. Your mileage may vary.

62 thoughts on “WordPress Might be Improving

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  1. I had issues with the Reader, which they did respond to by saying they would not go back to the old program. But, they did correct a few of my complaints – so I give them an A for effort. The past year and a half or so, they have concentrated on iphone and Pad users’ apps and forgotten about us old PC users and that’s where the complaints are coming from – I believe.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I ‘m with you, I prefer to work and read on my laptop. Fortunately or unfortunately, my job requires my use of an iPhone, an iPad and a laptop. All three have suffered during this transition. I think they are trying to get to a point where changes are easy to implement across all three platforms. Of course, phone and tablet is really a lot more than two devices when you consider Android, Microsoft and Amazon. I’m just glad to see things getting a little better.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The reader is working better for me anyway and for that I am grateful. My one big wish is that when you get a notice that someone liked a post there would be a link to their ‘home’ page so you could go check them out. It’s not a big thing but you have to click on a popular post and then navigate to the home page. I think I’m whining. LOL

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s not whining, it’s wanting something to be better. When you consider what you’re asking for, it really works to support their mission of getting us all connected. So, customer wants it AND it’s good for our business – why wouldn’t you do that?

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I have to admit, when I first complained and they came back with “would you be willing to help us investigate this?” I felt like “ugh, that sounds like work…” I had to let them know when the problems happened, and send them the log off my iPad. They did see something out of the ordinary. As soon as the problem started to go away, I lost interest and they closed the ticket. I opened another on the draft-date thing and they acknowledged that right away.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, that explains it. I wondered why WP had changed the reader, and I hate the way it looks now – so bland and every post so boring-looking. But, then, I only work on a desktop PC. I guess us older folks without smart phones don’t matter to WP.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I prefer my laptop, or at least a tablet, but as one of my duties (according to Maddie) is to sit outside with our dog in the afternoon, I find myself scanning the Reader on my phone. It is frustrating, but I have to know what’s up with Charlotte and Bob.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good to know, Dan. I have the app, and I DO use it, but I’ve always preferred hitting the website proper. I have become frustrated in the past when I tried to write or edit posts on it, so I rarely use the app for anything other than reading posts or making comments, and even then I’ll usually wait to, yes, go to the WP website on my laptop. So it’s good to know they’ll listen to complaints and make some effort to respond.

    Seems like so many apps and websites these days make “improvements” that are anything but. In fact, many of them appear to be little more than aesthetic changes. Everyone’s so terrified of being left behind by the Next Big Thing that they overcompensate and making things worse. If they would simply realize that most people just want something that WORKS.

    I don’t care if it’s trendy, or if it’s got new whistles and bells, nearly as much as I want something that’s functional — which, ironically, tends to get lost in these dubious makeovers. I’m leery, for example, of this new way posts pop up in the Reader when you click on them. I liked the preview window that you then clicked to get to the blog itself. Sure, you can do that still, but it’s these little dots in the upper-right hand corner. Nothing intuitive about that! And if you can read the whole post in this plain-white background, 1) why do I bother trying to make the site look nice or unique, and 2) does it not count toward the number of views you get?

    And I’m not surprised to hear you keep your phone handy and check it often. I figured you must, given how good you are at replying to comments! Much better than I am. More timely, anyway. :P Anyway, good post!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I agree Paul that the effort that I put into making my blog be visually appealing should be carried through to the Reader. I guess that if people prefer to use the Reader and the bland view, I’ll take the views but I think they are missing something that I tried to add. I don’t know how WP plans to keep this all together and keep everyone happy. I’ve said earlier that I tend to follow the blogs I like via email and I read (your) their posts in my browser at their website.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I seldom use my phone for WP. I cannot imagine typing a post on my phone. I think I might get violent or weepy if I tried. I’m not even fond of texting, lol!
    I had no idea they cared so much about our reactions to change, given the Beep Beep Bop and the stats pages.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I never type content on my phone or even my tablet. I need a full keyboard to type at any acceptable rate. I didn’t think they cared much either, but when I complained, they reached out and tried to work with me. I am impressed that they did that, even if they didn’t fix everything on my list the way I wanted them fixed :)

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I got to here ‘somehow my butt rearranged my phone.’ and couldn’t progress for about 5 minutes while I tried to picture that scenario in action….

    My phone always does stuff on its own. I worry I accidentally gave some corporation remote access when I used to be addicted to farmville.

    Yay for improvements to WordPress. If I stop neglecting my blog, I might take advantage of them!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I am so glad that you wrote this post and not I. Fortunately i do not have a smart phone – however dumb phones do not prevent one from receiving calls from smart phones and or butts… egad there is a wealth of comic routines there. Starting with the Inadvertent 6 Million Dollar Bionic Butt. And lord knows what I might have titled the post – and that is before we imagined we were enjoying a beer. So thank you for saving me from all sorts of misdeeds. Lastly it is good to know WP is listening. Change can be so disruptively for the better.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks John. Change can be good or bad, but it’s almost always disruptive for a while. With as many millions of bloggers WP has, it’s now wonder they can’t please us all. I like your title better though :)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I like the bit about the flashlight on your phone and the battery going dead just as you get to place with a signal. I am little uncomfortable with the new reader. I can see how when people are in a rush to read a post quickly, the Reader is appealing. But I think they may skip going into my original blog post and then skip my whole blog’s appearance and other posts as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a comment concern here. Your blog is one I follow bus email so I always read it at your site. I wish the reader did more to highlight the work people put in, especially when they see premium themes so the sites can look better.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m the last person to ask about increasing followers. When I try to do the things people tell you to do, they don’t work. When I don’t appear to do anything, the numbers nudge up again. Slow organic growth seems to be the mode for me.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. I use the WordPress app for Android a lot on my Galaxy Note 3, which is the perfect size in between tablet and smaller smartphone, for its larger screen and tablet-like capabilities. I start most of my posts there and finish up on the PC to add pictures and other media more effectively.

    My main gripe is that some of the tools available on the desktop version of WordPress are not available on the android app. The ones I use often which have been omitted are:
    – horizontal line (I have to type instead)
    – the undo button
    – the tool to change text color
    – the strike through tool
    There are perhaps more that I haven’t noticed are missing since I don’t use them much but it can be a bit frustrating when I want to edit a post but have to wait until I get to my PC to make certain changes. Aside from WordPress edits I can go days without using my PC since my Galaxy Note 3 is such a workhorse!

    I had an old windows phone that pocket-dialed people all the time. Once it dialed my aunt and she sat there listening for a good 10 mins before hanging up. Guess she was hoping to hear something juicy, but all I was doing was making dinner. Not nearly as interesting as your phone’s adventures :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I move between my laptop and Live Writer and the WP Editor. None are great on their own, but together it works. Someday maybe I’ll break down and buy a real editor. My guess is they will add those features to the Android version at some point. Too many people use them, they can’t afford to ignore you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I too am ‘forced’ to go back and forth for editing purposes as I have a gripe with the desktop version of WordPress. What’s up with the awkwardly clumsy double-spacing of lines? I usually have to use the app to get the spacing the way I want, especially if I’m writing poetry, then go back to the desktop version to finish or do final preview. FRUSTRATING!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Ah yes, I had that issue initially as well but I’ve since figured it out. Select “draft” in the drop down menu so all updates will be saved as draft. Then once ready to publish, select “publish immediately ” or “schedule” to publish at a later date.

            I love the “schedule” feature since I can work on several posts at a time over the weekend then have them go live at intervals during the week all while I’m asleep. It’s like having a personal assistant :)

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I use the schedule feature for weekday posts so I don’t have to try and post something prior to starting my day job. I do like it, although it took me a while to get comfortable just letting it happen in the background without one final look.

              Like

  10. Okay , now that you bring it up , my complaint with WordPress is that the PUBLISH and the SAVE buttons seem to change position intermittently . When I don’t wear my glasses I’ve hit the wrong one , which should have been in a standard position . I’ll take your advice and inform the WordPress gods .
    Your issue might be more serious : Is your butt more tech savvy than you are ? Scary thought ..

    Liked by 2 people

  11. As long as you and others get on wordpress and the other factors which influence any blogging on my free WP, I will “lay low,”Dan.
    I have experienced that weird and extremely annoying “like” button ghost. (Turned on and then off- freaky!) I sometimes turn off my phone or shut off WP at the library when this happens. My phone will eventually “figure out” or adapt to how I write, my 2 smart and tech-savvy brothers say. :) I hope so! :)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I can’t do anything with my WP iPad app. I do most of my reading on the phone, but the commenting bit sucks– sometimes i lose an entire comment. And what’s with changing the layout of their pages every so often? After your post, I’m considering roaming about with my phone in my pocket– all the apps on the screen have begun to confuse me, and I’m too lazy to figure and keep the ones I really need…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think they are moving to a more common theme across all readers. I am disappointed that they basically discard the work people put into their WP webpage, especially after they talk us into buying premium themes. Good luck getting your “pocket parts” to clean up that busy phone screen.

      Like

    1. They are getting lots of input and I think they are trying to listen. I wish they paid more attention to the overall program but I’ll take whatever progress we can get.

      Like

  13. I also write and drive them crazy! You must! That said, WP is better than blogger. I tried both and have to deal with blogger because many artists use it — it driv es me freaking nuts and I rarely say boo because I practically have to offer my first child as sacrifice to post a “liked this” to them — which means others don’t bother either. I like WP because it is relatively easy to say hey to someone, and to get that said to us as well.

    Like

  14. Butt calls…giggle.

    I am only beginning to catch up on WP posts, so I am not familiar with the issues you mentioned. I do know that they fixed the draft snafoo in which when I fixed a draft and then published it, an older draft would be published. But that was not due to any attempt to alert them to this problem on my part! Kudos to you for your communications.

    Fondly,
    E

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s always good to see you Elizabeth. I complained about WP, so I thought it was only fair to mention that they have managed to fix some things. The draft problems were the worst. I am happy to have those behind us.

      Like

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