How Do I Detest WordPress? Let Me Count The Ways…

Approximately 538 trillion people, aware that I was relocating from Blogger, have:

  1. Exhorted me to use WordPress;
  2. Assured me that “You’re going to love it.”

That group includes (of course) Mike Hendrix, whose assistance in creating this blog was invaluable. You could say Mike is a WordPress fan. He assumed that I would take to it as he has. “You’re going to love WordPress, Fran!” he assured me…repeatedly. He was, let us say, slightly over-optimistic.

There is an imperative principle in user-oriented software design that the folks responsible for this…system should have tattooed on their eyelids — the inside surfaces of their eyelids:

Commonplace things should be simple to do.

A system billed as user-oriented, but which makes commonplace operations difficult or obscure, is doing it wrong. There is no imaginable excuse. Yet that appears to be the WordPress milieu.

Take the sidebar foofaurauw I’ve been going through. I wanted a three-column layout, to balance the blog’s appearance and limit the lengths of the sidebars. The Graphene theme offers that option, and I was at first happy with it. But many users have reported overlap problems with that layout: problems I cannot reproduce, much less eliminate. So I had to dump it and revert to two columns.

Here’s another thing: Inserting an image inline into a post. That operation is deeply hidden within some very obscure controls. It took me nearly half an hour to figure it out — and I’m not sure I’m able to reproduce what I did.

Most offensive to this retired software engineer: WordPress changes my code. I prefer to edit with the HTML tags and elements visible before me. Yet no sooner have I pasted a post into the WordPress editor than my tags start to change! Paragraph and line-break tags, in particular, appear and disappear. Inter-paragraph spacing is difficult to control. This is the Sin of Sins. All by itself, it suffices to condemn WordPress.

Now, I accept that as a new WordPress user, I should expect to face a learning curve. But it’s unacceptable that there should be so little online help available, and that the bulk of it should be so obscure. Indeed, some of it is flat-out wrong: either it refers to controls that aren’t available, or it depicts them wholly differently from the actual controls.

Would anyone knowledgeable in the ways of WordPress 5.6 care to point me toward reference materials I can trust? Something that would help to quell this impulse to look up the designers and mail them a parcel full of Ebola virus?

My next challenge is to figure out how to import the backup from my Blogger site into WordPress. There’s a size limit of 64 Megabytes…and my backup file is over 80 Megabytes. Any Gentle Readers know how to go about this? Absent such assistance, I’m likely to be drunk before noon.


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    • Evil Franklin on January 28, 2021 at 10:37 AM

    I hope it works out for you.
    I had a wordpress blog a couple of years ago, but they kicked me off for reasons I know not.  
    The site was called Lunacy is Contagious.  Once in a while WordPress will send me a notice that the site is still active, but I can no longer get into it.

    1. Were you hosted by, or were you on a separate host?

    • Jeff on January 28, 2021 at 10:37 AM

    Nice looking format and I can now read it on my iPad.  Thanks!   I’ve also struggled with WordPress at a much lower user skill level than you and gave up.   Not sure if I trust them not to cancel people and ideas either as the purge and cancel fever spreads

    1. The major reason I went to a non-Google host was to avert the possibility of being “purged.” I don’t think Hosting Matters would do that to me, but we shall see.

  1. Try these:
    More detailed, and including some ideas for assistance:
    The site has some support pages:
    For migration issues, try this hack:
    Fran, you start at a disadvantage from me – you really could make the old Blogger site hum. You were expert on it.
    I, on the other hand, was a novice, at best. I seldom made use of all the bells and whistles. I kept my stuff simple.
    Years ago, I took a Spanish class in college (I’d been an indifferent student in high school, and had a gap since I’d taken it). In that class was a French teacher, who was looking to add Spanish to her certification.
    An admirable idea, and one that you would THINK would be a snap – after all, she already had two languages under her belt.
    Her previous expertise in French fought with the steps she needed to take to learn Spanish. She was easily the worst student in the class.
    Me? I got straight A’s – not because I’m so smart, but because I allowed myself to engage as a Newbie. I didn’t worry about struggles, just plowed through them. In the end, I managed to outpace the language expert. That’s common. Old expertise fights against learning new tricks.
    So, cut yourself some slack, and realize that you will struggle with the change MORE than someone completely new to blogging.
    You’re human.

    1. You’re human.

      Really, Linda! What on Earth gave you that idea?

    • Rick C on January 29, 2021 at 12:49 PM

    For the import–it’s not exactly what you asked, but try seeing if you can split your backup file into two parts and do two separate imports.  Without knowing the file format I can’t offer suggestions on how to do that.  Perhaps Blogger will let you extract a range of years, so that you can generate two partial backups?

    1. I’ve been struggling to do exactly that, Rick — but splitting the file usefully is beyond any off-the-shelf program I can find. I’m going to have to write a program that reads the backup file intelligently and fractionates it.

    • Amy Bowersox on January 29, 2021 at 12:55 PM

    Are those backup files in some kind of XML format? Because, if so, it should be possible to duplicate the file, then, in each copy, remove sufficient XML “stanzas” (the inner tags containing individual articles) to get them down below the 64 Mb limit.  Of course, rather than grovel through the XML in a text editor, I’d be more likely to write a program to handle the splitting.

    1. Sigh. Yes, Amy: the backup file is XML. But splitting it with a text editor is effectively impossible — trust me on that — and I know of no off-the-shelf XML editor that would do the job. I have to do it myself, which will require me to dust off my software skills and write a utility to do it. Probably over the weekend, though I’m not looking forward to the effort. Even with my powers, it will be strenuous.

  2. I reached out to Hosting Matters back in October about leaving WordPress and migrating to HM.  So much of WP is cludgy but I have no time to “learn to code” – for the third time – for a damned website.  I like the layout of this guy’s site but simply do not have the time to build it properly right now.  A splash page of my books, a blog page, a wiki of Machine Civilization… I don’t need much but it is just out of my reach at the moment.

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