WordPress is a sect led by Messiah Matt Mullenweg

WordPress is a sect led by Messiah Matt Mullenweg

since the introduction of WP 5.0 & Gutenberg

The WP 5.0 Gutenberg train wreck

‘Gutenberg’ is the name of the new ‘flagship’ editor in WordPress (as from version 5.0). I’m sorry, but the name itself is a grave insult to the man who – in his time – has revolutionized the way information is spread.

I always told my clients: “Don’t worry, updating your website is as easy as writing a Word-document.” It no longer is. I cannot tell them that anymore. I have to educate them on ‘blocks’, how to arrange them, and that every single paragraph they write is a ‘block’. Not to mention: oh, but you have to ‘hover’ over these blocks to see the options. You know, uhm, an image block, just uhm, … oh shit, even I as a developer hate working with this totally unintuitive ‘editor’.

WordPress version 5 (and I’m afraid, beyond) is no longer THE Content Management System to advise to my clients. I’m certainly not the only one, but Gutenberg authors simply say: Hey man, it’s the future man, you know… Yes, that’s deliberately in 60’s style language, because that’s what Gutenberg is: going back, not forward.

To me Gutenberg is like WordPress trying to re-invent the wheel. “Let’s make a square wheel, see what that does… Oh yeah man! Out of this world, awesome! The wobbling and tottering feels so much better, don’t you think?”

I was ‘flagged’ and subsequently banned on wordpress.org (reviews of Gutenberg and on the Forum) many times. Yes, I’ve created different GMail accounts in the hope to finally get the message through, but I’ve given up now, because those people just do not want to hear anything that doesn’t comply with the ‘vision’ they’ve set out.
Or should I say, the ‘vision’ by their Messiah?
Read on.

Negative reviews of Gutenberg

are actively removed on wordpress.org

I was not banned for being abusive or using foul language. I can completely understand they don’t accept that. No, I was banned for being too critical (in the eyes of ‘moderators’) of the new Gutenberg editor. I’ve seen it happening to other posters and reviewers as well. Any post that’s considered ‘too critical’, ‘not making sense’, ‘not adding to the conversation’, ‘not a real review’, or anything else that falls in the ‘undesirable’ category is actively removed by WordPress moderators.

E.g. a 1-star negative review of Gutenberg saying only: ‘It sucks!’ would get removed (not adding anything to reviews, right?). Another review – with 5 stars – only saying: ‘Kick Ass!’ would stay (because that adds so much more to reviews, right?), and even get an author’s or moderator’s reply like: “Thank you!” I’m not kidding you. Not that there are many of those positive reviews, though… The point is: WordPress keeps the rating of its new editor artificially high (well, if you’d think 2 stars is high, that is…).

Especially WordPress ‘Moderator’ (or, as he labels himself: ‘Brute Squad and Volunteer Moderator’) Jan Dembowski (@jdembowski) seems totally pissed off with the huge wave of negative comments and is – on his own – pro-actively removing 1-star reviews. He writes: too many of them are not feedback, they’re just rage posting (here). Oh really, mr. Moderator? Where do you think that rage comes from? And who are you to label these reviews as ‘not feedback’? God himself, or what?

This Dembowski figure has deleted a post by himself on that review link above where he announced he would remove all ‘non-essential’ reviews AND report all those accounts to be flagged and banned. Where does that put WordPress right now? In my book that is akin to a sect, where every critic, every deviation from the official rule, everyone not obeying the Messiah, everyone raging, everyone not fully complying with the ‘vision’ is ridiculed, set aside, and even – yes, I’m going to use the word – killed (as in: your wordpress.org account is killed instantly).

By the way, what’s that ‘Brute Squad’ thing in Dembowski’s profile? Is it akin to ‘brown shirts’ in nazi-Germany, removing all ‘unwanted’ elements?
It certainly feels that way, as all so-called WordPress ‘Moderators’ are seemingly blindly following The Leader, also known (to them, apparently) as Messiah Matt Mullenweg.

Gutenberg authors and WordPress moderators

are totally ignoring their users

With those removals of negative reviews, I think they’re trying to keep the rating up as much as they can. You cannot have a 1.5 star rating for your new flagship ‘editor’, can you? Not that it helps much. With the wave of bad reviews, the rating of Gutenberg is now already down to 2 stars. And if you only count reviews since WordPress 5.0 was released (when Gutenberg was forced into core), it’s already close to that 1.5 stars. Oops! One of the lowest ratings in the WordPress repository!

And don’t forget the accidental 5-star reviews of which there are quite a few. 5 stars is the default setting when posting a review, you have to manually change it to a lower rating. Why that is? I don’t know. It would be much more accurate if WordPress would have an alert like “You forgot to give a rating”.  But in the case of Gutenberg,  I suppose they’re happy to keep the system as it is. Every 5 star review is a 5 star review, right? Even if it’s not meant to be. Just one example of an accidental 5-star rating: Useless, terrible. It has 5 stars which quite obviously is an error. And it certainly is not the only 5-star review of Gutenberg that should in fact have 1 star (or zero stars if that would be possible in the WordPress repository).

Not good, eh? Oh, but not for Gutenberg authors or WordPress ‘Moderators’. They simply ignore those star ratings. Really? Yes, really. One of those ‘Moderators’ (or should we call them self-assigned gods?) @clorith wrote: “we don’t care about star ratings”. Again, I’m not kidding you. As the title of the thread on Gutenberg reviews goes: WordPress Gives Zero Fs.

And read the final post in that thread by another self-assigned god called: @otto42 “Continued calls in the reviews to roll it back are kind of wasted effort. It’s not rolling back. Adapt, or move on.” Or, in more popular terms: you users just shut up, understood? No surprise that with this encouraging post, he closed the thread. As the ‘WordPress gods’ can do…

Notice the other mention in that post by @otto42: “The new direction was decided and final years ago, when the work began.” It’s almost, no correction: it is laughable. Years working on the Gutenberg project and the result is what it is now? LOL!!! WordPress (read:  Automattic, read: Matt Mullenweg) must have some really, really bad UI – User Interface – designers in the team, I cannot explain the Gutenberg train wreck otherwise.

WordPress and its ‘moderators’

are burying their heads in the sand

Lots of valid remarks by a WordPress user on Gutenberg is the wrong direction, such as:
You’re ignoring the first rule of business:
Quality is conformity to customer requirements.

See how this @otto42 (he’s a ‘Keymaster’ by the way, whatever that means) replies:
You’re ignoring the fact that WordPress isn’t a company. It’s open source software.

What a lame reply by this “Otto”. If you replace ‘customer’ with ‘user’ I suppose his reply means that user requirements are of no importance whatsoever for WordPress. Well, … just so you know!

He goes on insulting and alienating WordPress users:
If you want to move on, then move on. Won’t affect me or anybody else one bit.
Again, that basically means: just shut up! What’s the term for that again? Right: ignorance.

Plus he writes: Best of luck to you and your new software choices.
What’s the term for that again? Right: arrogance. He – and the rest of the Gutenberg fan boys – probably don’t know the meaning of pride comes before the fall.

Another example of how WordPress ‘moderators’ refuse to listen and just bury their heads in the sand on Fixing WordPress Forum. A user complains about how inserting ‘Read More’ is now more cumbersome: If it’s not a one click button with the mouse, you’ve made it more complex.

And Otto remains his ignorant and arrogant stance with this reply:
Well, that’s a view, certainly. You’re welcome to your opinions. I personally think blocks are easier …

What do we care what you personally think Otto? You should think about how the majority of WordPress users label Gutenberg. Hey god Otto, if you need me to spell it out for you: u-n-u-s-a-b-l-e and u-n-w-a-n-t-e-d.

WordPress has launched a new ‘Moderator’ (well, actually she’s officially only a ‘Participant’) called DesignSimply replying to every new negative review and asking questions like: “Do you think you could see a website builder that seamlessly integrates editing and that still has a lot of the ease of use for writing content?” Well, yes, dumbo. It’s called Elementor. It’s a PLUG-IN. It is a CHOICE. It’s NOT FORCED upon every user. That’s the whole point of rage against Gutenberg: it’s forced upon everyone. In other words: every single user of WordPress has to use the clumsy, not intuitive, unwanted new ‘feature’. Or, you have to install a plug-in to disable this ‘new vision’.


Nah, you have to take a course to understand it

The plethora of websites now offering trainings, courses, whatever these are called to ‘learn’ you how to work with Gutenberg (only $159, it’s a bargain!) should say enough about how cumbersome the ‘new vision’ of WordPress is to the average Joe. Oh wait, maybe that was the whole idea: to have businesses offering trainings for Gutenberg, so they could make a few bucks…

But, but, but, didn’t Messiah Matt promise us the new editor Gutenberg would be ‘dead simple’? According to the Gutenberg courses offered online, apparently… NOT.

WordPress: a sect

led by Messiah Matt Mullenweg

WordPress used to be a community-driven open-source project. It no longer is. It now is a project driven by an elite group of people that thinks it can do whatever they want, because WordPress powers a large part of the internet (number of websites running on the software).

In her review which by the way, surprise, surprise, has another meaningless reply from moderator ‘participant’ DesignSimply, WordPress user Vidyut writes: One really has to wonder exactly WHO it is that wanted this editor used at any cost regardless of the terrible reviews. Well, that’s quite easy: it’s the benevolent(?) dictator for life Matt Mullenweg. The ‘boss’ of WordPress is the main force behind this.

Much more worrying is that all (Brute Squad) Moderators, Authors, Admins, Keymasters, Participants, whatever these types call themselves, are blindly following. No questions asked, or rather: questioning the road chosen is very unwelcome, your comment will be deleted and your account will be banned!

That’s ‘user input’ the WordPress way these days: censoring the users as in an autocratic society (or probably more correct: the Automattic society). It’s not only pathetic, it is extremely worrying when you think of the future of WordPress.

WordPress now feels like a religious sect, where everyone actively involved in ‘development’ of the software is blindly and totally uncritical following ‘MMM‘ (Messiah Matt Mullenweg). To them, apparently, Matt is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.

I, for one, do not want to be part of a sect. It’s absolutely disturbing and disgusting to see this happening.

  • If WordPress continues on this path, WordPress is doomed.
  • If WordPress continues on this path, WordPress is a dead-end street.
  • If WordPress continues on this path, there’s only one way out (for now), and I’m doing that on this website and all other websites I manage: stay on WordPress version 4.9.x.

Remember the football coach that ‘will not be fired’?

he was, within 2 weeks

The only hope I have for WordPress is that the mantra by Matt and his followers (“Gutenberg is here to stay”, “Gutenberg is the future, it’s not going away”, etc.) will follow the example set by football club directors. Remember how many times they said: “We have all trust in our coach, there’s no way we will fire him! Definitely not. Really, trust us, we will not do that!”
And two weeks later, the coach is fired…

Akin to the football club: can you really keep totally ignoring your supporters? No, you cannot. Not any club, business or service can, as a giant as Coca-Cola has learned the hard way when they introduced their ‘New Coke‘. It took Coca-Cola a bit more than 2 weeks and I’m afraid it’ll be the same for WordPress. I suppose WordPress and Matt Mullenweg still have to learn what the hard way is, but in the end, they will.
And if – unfortunately – not, then read on how to defy the ‘new vision’ of WordPress.


deny WP’s Gutenberg version

So, why is this in the ‘Tips & Tricks’ section of this website? Well, here you go, my serious advice is: don’t update to WordPress 5, stay at 4.9.x.

Ways to deny WordPress updating to version 5

If you haven’t yet updated

Add this line to your wp-config.php file (in the root of your WordPress install):

define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', 'minor' );

Alternatively, you can add this line in the ‘functions.php’ file of your theme, or in a so-called ‘must use plug-in‘:

add_filter( 'allow_minor_auto_core_updates', '__return_true' );

When automatic updates are enabled, the above rules will make sure your WordPress version 4.9.x will only automatically update within that version (e.g. from 4.9.9 to 4.9.10), it will never go to the undesirable 5.x versions. In simple terms: it will automatically install security updates, but not the Gutenberg version of WordPress.

If you have already updated

If you don’t want to mess around, just install and activate the plug-in Disable Gutenberg.
It’s written by well-known and respected WordPress guru Jeff Starr, and he has vowed to keep it updated as long as needed.
DON’T install and activate the Classic Editor plug-in!!! Many people don’t realize (e.g. Thanks god Classic Editor is back as a plugin) that the team behind the Gutenberg train wreck is the same as the team behind the Classic Editor plug-in, and they might, no correction they will discontinue it at some point (the exact date of discontinuation decided by them, they’re ‘gods’ after all…).

Rolling back your WordPress version from 5.x to 4.9.x is a bit more tricky but not undoable.

  • Install the WordPress plugin WP Downgrade.
  • Before using this plugin make a backup of your website!
  • Follow the instructions on how to downgrade.
  • If everything has gone well (and in most cases it will), de-activate and remove the plug-in and follow the directions above under ‘If you haven’t yet updated’.

All the above done? Congratulate yourself, you’re free from despicable Gutenberg!

To all people saying the above is not a secure method, I say: nonsense, as WordPress has always provided security updates to previous versions.

UNLESS WordPress at one point decides that Gutenberg is an integral part of the CMS and it cannot function without it, consequently disabling all previous versions of the software. If that’ll be the case (but I doubt WordPress will take that drastic step any time soon), there’s only one other way out left: a WordPress fork, called ClassicPress.

#WordPress is ignoring, alienating, ridiculing, insulting, and banning critics of its new editor #Gutenberg.