WordPress strikes again

Note the ugly truncated titles in my “Current Bestsellers” widget. It wasn’t that way yesterday, and I didn’t do anything to change it. WordPress did it, of course. They’ve changed the Top Posts & Pages widget to enable the addition of images. Another “improvement” for us that WordPress was neither proud enough of nor considerate enough to tell us about. Even in the forum discussion about the change, the WP “Happiness Engineer” doesn’t seem to understand what’s happened. It’s blogger feartheseeds (aka Gabriel) who points out the change in the widget. Who knows, I might like the new image options. But if I decide not to use them, I want my all-text widget to look as it always has — just like the Recent Posts (“Fresh Ink”) widget right below it. And even if I decide to use images, I still don’t want my titles truncated.

40 comments

    1. You can do a search and see some of my previous posts/rants about WordPress. I don’t know that you’d call them frequent; they just really annoy me sometimes. But I’m a very picky, opinionated old lady. Most WP bloggers probably never even notice such things.

        1. That occurred to me when comment on the forum. I made a point of saying that “fix it” meant going back to the way things were yesterday, not breaking the other one. My guess, however, is that they plan to “break” the other one in exactly the same way. Because it’s an improvement, doncha know.

        2. I actually meant to say “fix” (in quotes) instead of “break” in that last comment. I keep getting this vision that somewhere, there’s a little totally out of touch WP Grinch in a Santa costume thinking he’s giving us all Christmas every day! 🙄

        3. No, I think that Grinch is trying to join the social media scene and is dragging us along for the ride. In fairness, WP has also added two new widgets: Blogs I Follow (like Links, but with images) and Posts I Like (also with images), just in case you feel a need for even more widgets. See? Christmas!

        4. Don’t EVEN get me started PT. I’m getting to where I’m sick of the way my blog looks, and a big part of that comes from it being to darned busy as it is! 😯

        5. What they need to do is offer shortcodes for all our widgets so we can easily put some or all of them on a special page if we want to. I don’t know, I have a love-hate relationship with all my widgets.

        6. That would be a darned good start towards giving us real control. I’d also like to see them upgrade the archive short code to be able to auto-gen lists for specific categories and tags!

          BTW, have you ever tried the cats to tags and tags to cats converter? I’m just wondering how the posts that used them are effected by the change…

        7. I’d love more variables on the Archive shortcode! Great idea.

          I last used the category-to-tag converter some years ago. I regretted it later when I decided I liked the hierarchies available with categories. Reversing the process required manually putting categories back on each post. The tags-to-categories converter came along later. As I recall, the one time I experimented with a few tags, it turned those tags into categories, but obviously it couldn’t assign parent categories. That still has to be done manually. With some 1800 tags right now, and only 178 categories, you can see why I don’t want to try turning all my tags back into categories. Getting them all organized under the proper parent categories would be a nightmare. Plus, as you’ve probably already discovered, a new tag or category won’t be created if one by that name already exists. You’ll have to manually rename one or the other. I wrote two posts on this subject last year — The ‘joy’ of indexing a WordPress blog and Surprise! WordPress has tags-to-categories conversion. Cheers!

  1. WordPress.com is very proud of the fact they roll out 50 to 60 changes a day in the code on the site – too bad they don’t really test them – how does it feel to be a beta tester??

    1. I don’t like it, obviously. I’d hope they’d at least employ their vaunted Preview function before activating their changes. 50-60 changes a day is nothing to brag about if the changes don’t work as intended and/or break something that was previously working. My son is a developer; I’m not without appreciation for the complexity here. But still …

  2. “Candidate Romney vacations in…” “I suppose we were overdue for…” How tantalizing! Vacations where? Overdue for what? Then again, “Beauty is in the eye of the be…” is a bit grammatically unattractive. Bah, WP!

  3. The more images in the sidebar the better, I’ve been using text widgets for five or six years to put lots of little photos in my sidebar. It’s nice that WordPress is catching up to my brilliance.

    But the way they introduced the new “Top Posts” widget is fairly typical of the new WordPress… drop it on a weekend when Support is closed and let the HapEng’s fend for themselves. Back in the day, when WordPress Support was one guy named Mark, the new things got fixed right away. There was no need for screaming in the Forum. But I was rarely there back then… so maybe my glasses are a little rosy.

    But now Mark is gone to look after Akismet — which, coincidentally, is now far more responsive than WordPress has become.

    I do like where they’re going with the Who I Follow widget.

    They’ll fix this, because they hav…

    1. 🙂 Clever.

      I took a quick look at the widget with the images. I’d be tempted to use the format that puts an image with each title — if the titles weren’t truncated, Not sure I’d use the image grid option. I don’t think the images alone convey as much information as the titles. You’d have to put a lot of thought into your choice of images …

      Blogs I Follow is an interesting idea for a widget. I’ve been noticing how you use the RSS feeds to show the latest posts from blogs you follow or like or whatever your criterion is. Great idea! I’ve been thinking of copying it, but can’t decide which of many blogs I’d display.

      1. Posts I Like looks promising, but if I use it, I will completely change my approach to clicking Like buttons. Currently I click Like to say “I was here and like this post.” If I were using the widget, I’d probably be much more discriminating with my clicks, realizing that I’d be saying “I like this post and I’m recommending it to others.”

        What I don’t understand is why the Posts I Like widget has little images with the “list” option, and Blogs I Follow does not. And I don’t like the grid option with either. The images are too big and overpower/compete with the thumbnails in my Featured Posts section.

        1. The problem with the Blogs I Follow / Posts I Like widgets is I don’t always like the posts I Like, and I sometimes Follow blogs that are filled with hatred and hostility just to keep an eye on them. The way the widgets are configured right now, I’d be advertising them both on my blog.

          Once they give us the sizing options, the random option and the option to select which ones to display, it’ll be a nice addition.

          About the RSS things… I really don’t know why that died. When I started on WordPress (2005) putting someone’s blog into your sidebar was a Big Deal. Putting someone’s RSS feed into your sidebar was a huge respect thing. But then WordPress, for whatever reason, decided the blogroll shouldn’t be important… or something.

          There used to be a great button called “Add To Blogroll” that was taken down then later replaced with the “Follow” button. But, unlike the Blogroll, you can’t see the blogs I follow. Until now… there seems to be a really slow circle going on in the planning rooms at WP.

          When I started putting RSS feeds into my sidebar I had the (incredibly brilliant) idea of putting photos of the blogger with their RSS feed. People loved it, I’ve never had someone say no when I ask for their photo. I’d suggest that if / when you go ahead and put some in your sidebar, ask people for a photo or a decent version of their avatar to put with it.

        2. I have similar problems with Blogs I Follow — blogs that don’t want to be publicized, or that I’m watching just in case they become active again, or follow but they don’t show up on the list, perhaps because they aren’t WP blogs.

          Posts I Like required some tinkering to get it the way I wanted. I chose a manageable number to display, then Unliked any posts I didn’t want to feature. Or Unliked and then re-Liked posts to throw them to the top of the list. In the future I’ll be Liking with the knowledge that the post will go to the top of my widget list. That’s going to cut down on my number of Likes, so I may find the widget just isn’t workable. I don’t, for example, want it to be filled with posts from a single blog.

          I’m always very flattered when someone puts a link to my blog on their home page. The way you’ve done it is even better, and I very much appreciate it. I’m still trying to think of a good way to reciprocate without slighting anyone else.

        3. Thanks! I did not know this widget changed. I like the idea of thumbnails – images always draw attention. So for a short while, I actually have the widget in my sidebar twice… once with the small image and title, and the image grid. Although I cannot determine which one draws more hits, I find it interesting.

        4. There was a comment from someone in the forums about the broken widget not drawing as many hits as before. How can you tell if a particular widget has drawn a hit? I’m somehow missing that bit of insight.

  4. Be careful when you use the word “fix.” It’ has so many different meanings!
    You know what it means to dogs and cats.
    You know what it means to heroine addicts.
    Now you know what it means to WordPress.

      1. No doubt that is one very long list. I’ve been playing around a bit to see if there’s anything I like. I hate the way the “Top Posts & Pages” thing looks with my theme, but the “My Community” thing might be worth keeping. Also, I’m not sure what changed with the “Recent Posts” widget, but it now provides the output I had to use a text box and the archive shortcode to get before! 😀

        1. I like the My Community widget, but when I put it up, even though it showed 10 (“a few”) avatars, it also showed the message “There are no users to display in this My Community widget. Want more traffic?” Until they take that ugly message off, I’m not using it.

        2. Yikes! I thought that only happened when I chose just two of the three checkboxes, but it was there again when I checked just now. Gone Baby Gone! 🙄

  5. If you look at their ‘about us’ page (scroll down to the bottom of nearly any page in dashboard or forum or support and you’ll see the link in tiny print) you’ll notice something that barely anyone who uses this platform ever sees before they signed up: “WordPress.com is under very active development, and we roll out updates almost every day.” Personally, I think they should put it in their T.O.S.

    Most people who volunteer on the forums (myself included) are aware of how often they change everything. I’ve whined about it myself many times, but usually come to terms with the changes. I’m not the sort of person who adapts easily to change, but have realised that if I want to continue to use this free platform, I’ve got to. The alternative is to cope with the steep learning curve of WordPress.org and self-host.

    1. I don’t mind all the changes if (a) they are optional and can be toggled on or off and (b) they don’t break something else in the process. I’ve written elsewhere about how much I hate Reblog, for example. The widget changes and new widgets seem okay for the most part, but the note that keeps appearing at the end of the My Community widget really annoys me. But like you, I just don’t want to tackle the hassle of moving to WP.org.

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