Gutenberg Plugin Garners Mixed Reactions from New Wave of Testers

photo credit: KaylaKandzorra i miss you grampa.(license)

WordPress 4.9.8 was released as an automatic update last week, featuring the “Try Gutenberg” callout. The goal of the prompt is to get more users testing the new editor and to raise awareness. Within the first 72 hours of the prompt going into user dashboards, sites with Gutenberg installed have shot up to more than 80,000, a 300% increase. The plugin has been downloaded more than 147,000 times in the past week.

Gutenberg feedback is pouring in from a wave of new testers, most of whom are finding out about the new editor for the first time. Reactions have varied widely across multiple social networks. The announcement on WordPress’ official Facebook account attracted many drive-by style comments that included negative reactions, confusion, and questions, with a few positive comments peppered in between.

Blocks aren’t doing it for me. Will classic continue to be available permanently? If I want a block visual editor I promise I will install one voluntarily.

I’m hoping gutenberg will be totally optional.

I see only few users who are exited from Gutenberg. The rest is for leaving as it is. Why the guys from WP still want to implement it in the core? Make it a plugin. Why not a plugin whyyyyyy?

Twitter users trying Gutenberg for the first time were more enthusiastic about the potential of the new editor.

While some testers are quietly reporting issues on GitHub, others have written long missives in the plugin’s reviews, begging WordPress not to force the new editor on users. Gutenberg reviews are currently at a 2.4-star average, slipping from the 2.7-star average it held prior to the 4.9.8 release. Those who have written reviews tend to have reactions at both ends of the spectrum.

At this point in the testing phase, the reviews in the official directory paint a grim picture of WordPress dragging its users kicking and screaming into the Gutenberg era. However, there are many reasons why a tester might be motivated to write a negative review. Some may have ignored the advice not to use it in production, some may be testing it with incompatible plugins, some may not want any changes to their established workflow, and some may simply not like the interface.

While it may seem that the plugin has been widely panned by new testers, those who are the most critical tend to be more motivated to write a review. Those who are pleasantly surprised at something that works for them don’t tend to comment publicly. Reviews cannot possibly tell the whole tale, but they are important to monitor for feedback that could help Gutenberg succeed.

“Try Gutenberg” Callout Succeeds at Bringing More Testers and Feedback

WordPress 4.9.8’s “Gutenprompt” is doing exactly what it was intended to do – bring out more testers. The invitation has already succeeded at pulling out some quality feedback if you can sort through all the casual, angry one-liners.

Steven Peters opened a lengthy review with the following observations about the more cumbersome and unintuitive aspects of Gutenberg’s interface:

The interface is not cohesive in its design. For example, To place a block of a paragraph, a heading, a subheading, a bullet list and every other block, the user must click the + sign every single time, making it that much harder to ‘go with the flow’ of writing, and is cumbersome and time-consuming. Time-consuming: a click for each block instead of just writing. More clicks equal wasted time.

In a review titled “Lots of potential but too soon for core,” Mark Wilkinson details several specific usability issues:

The interface I find confusing – I think it is because it is too minimal. I found that it was all too easy to add a block by mistake and then not knowing what the block was or why it was there.

There is too much reliance on hover effects, with things appearing and disappearing all the time. I also find it hard to know where the focus is on the screen as it just uses a faint grey border.

Several reviewers were candid about their distaste for the concept of putting content into blocks. The Gutenberg team has readily communicated its vision for the block-based editor, but this tends to speak more to developers.

“Why does every little thing have to be in a separate block?” one reviewer asked before describing multiple usability issues with current block behavior. “That is a feature I think I actually detest. I do not want 50 zillion little fussy blocks on a page. I had entire blocks just disappear on me and a lot of the time, I was initially unsure of exactly what I did to make them disappear. This is bad. Some of the time it was placing a block, like an image block, and then deleting the image … the entire block went, which meant I had to go through the motions to add the block, then add an image block again, and then add my image again. Lame.”

Multiple reviewers commented that previously simple tasks are much more complicated in Gutenberg. Others said after reading official replies to reviews, they felt that leaving specific feedback was a waste of time. Canned responses from the Gutenberg team gave some the impression that their feedback wasn’t heard or valued.

My feeling while reading the WordPress developer responses is that that they have no intention of either stopping or postponing Gutenberg no matter what bug or problem is given to their attention. – @lauritasita

I have read all the reviews (and also the Gutenberg-lovers’ replies) and it seems that it is not really a discussion. The question on what is missing in this editor is useless if people simply do not want such a feature in their install. All you do is trying to convince people that it would only take time to get used to a modern technology. In my eyes this is bullshit. I myself love new features – if they are useful. – @peg20

Based on the responses to reviews, it isn’t clear to testers whether the Gutenberg team is willing to make major changes to re-design features that are not easy to use or whether they are simply combing the reviews for feedback on bugs with the existing interface.

Classic Editor Plugin Installations are on the Rise as Users Prepare for WordPress 5.0

In the days following WordPress 4.9.8’s release, active installations of the Classic Editor plugin have jumped from 7,000 to 60,000, a 757% increase. However, none of these figures in isolation can tell the whole story of users’ experience with the new editor.

In response to criticism on the Advanced WordPress Facebook group, Gutenberg contributor Gary Pendergast said he doesn’t see users installing the Classic Editor plugin as a negative reaction. “People ensuring that their site is ready for WordPress 5.0 is absolutely a good thing,” Pendergast said. “For a lot of sites, that means sticking with their current workflows for now.”

Pendergast also said the growing number of Classic Editor installs is a good indication that WordPress users are “proactively maintaining their sites, and a reasonable indication that they intend to upgrade to WordPress 5.0.”

“People certainly have strong feelings about it, and ‘fear of change’ is absolutely a legitimate feeling: we need to provide the right tools to empower everyone who uses WordPress,” Pendergast said. “Some people will jump right into the brave new block-based world, some people will prefer to use the Classic Editor plugin as a way to keep their existing workflows. When WordPress 5.0 lands, neither way should be seen as the ‘correct’ way – they’re both entirely legitimate.”

One major theme in both positive and negative reviews of the plugin is the desire for Gutenberg to be opt-in for WordPress 5.0, instead of having it auto-enabled for all users.

Developers and agencies are expected to control that experience for their clients by installing the Classic Editor or Gutenberg Ramp for installations that may have compatibility issues. For millions of other WordPress users without their own developers or engineering teams, discovering Gutenberg auto-enabled after updating to WordPress 5.0 will be a moment of reckoning. On the other hand, phasing the new editor in over time may severely limit adoption and extinguish the ecosystem’s impetus to offer Gutenberg-compatible products.

The development community, along with thousands of WordPress users who now have Gutenberg on their radar, will be watching to see how the team evaluates feedback from this new wave of testing. Up until this point, only the most curious and motivated WordPress users have taken Gutenberg for a spin. Widespread testing has just begun and we’re not yet seeing a complete picture of how well the new editor will be received.

My initial impression, after first trying it a year ago, was that Gutenberg is the most exciting thing to happen to WordPress in a long time. After reading hundreds of negative reviews, I still believe in the block concept but am convinced that Gutenberg needs to deliver a beautiful writing experience in order to win people over.

If WordPress is my home for writing on the web, I want to feel at home in the interface. I don’t want to have to hunt for actions buried two-clicks deep. When I use the editor I want to have the feeling of “I love writing here.” Gutenberg doesn’t deliver that yet.

WordPress has an opportunity to provide the best writing experience on the web, instead of relegating it to the myriad of dedicated writing apps that don’t have publishing capabilities. A supremely well-designed editor for writing posts, in recognition of the platform’s blogging roots, would be the promise that hooks users to willingly sign on for years of dealing with Gutenberg’s shortcomings as it matures into a full-fledged site builder.


135 responses to “Gutenberg Plugin Garners Mixed Reactions from New Wave of Testers”

  1. ‘fear of change’ is absolutely a legitimate feeling

    We’ll be looking at 500+ 1-star reviews by the end of the week if the current rate continues. This can’t all be attributed to “fear”, and it also feels unfair to attribute too much weight to the idea of negative reviewers being more motivated: there are simply far more thoughtful negative reviews than there are thoughtful positive ones.

    What’s coming out of some of the more recent reviews is a clear sense the new editor experience can never meet those users’ natural—and not entirely uncommon—writing flows. A great example: (as a bonus, the comments include a gently patronizing, tone-deaf response from a project lead).

    • I am sorry my reply didn’t come across with the care it was intended. I do genuinely want to learn more from every review, as does everyone working on Gutenberg. Every single one is being considered and given an individual response. If someone has taken the time to leave a review they absolutely deserve to be listened to and they are being.

      The first thing to do is to make sure bugs get reported, then it’s moving things into enhancements and finding out more details. This is what is happening now and the editor continues to be shaped by feedback.

    • … not to mention the sudden need of interrupting a very constructive sum of ideas added to the initial – and quite clear and assertive – review:

      I don’t get it. It has been puzzling me for a long time how/why there’s some kind of Gutenberg-plugin-reviews-police.

      This example is paradigmatic. A review that prompted a series of comments from people who have identified with the user experience in it and, apparently, are not welcome.

      For me this is intolerable.

      Sure: people can write their own review but, if they feel this review describes what they feel about it, isn’t it the right place to say it?

      • Yeah, I didn’t get that at all. Some good discussion and honest feedback going on there, and it was shut down.

        If forum mods don’t want someone other than the reviewer and plugin author posting in a review, they should talk to the meta team about disallowing posts from others.

    • … not to mention the sudden need of interrupting a very constructive sum of ideas added to the initial – and quite clear and assertive – review:

      I don’t get it. It has been puzzling me for a long time how/why there’s some kind of Gutenberg-plugin-reviews-police.

      This example is paradigmatic. A review that prompted a series of comments from people who have identified with the user experience in it and, apparently, are not welcome.

      For me this is intolerable.

      Sure: people can write their own review but, if they feel this review describes what they feel about it, isn’t it the right place to say it? Isn’t it useful to gather feedback?

      • And you somehow magically know how people really feel Jeff? Isn’t that a bit arrogant?

        lol, no. Those reviews certainly don’t reflect how I feel about Gutenberg and they don’t reflect how the entire userbase of WordPress feels about it either. The amount of negative reviews and what some of those people are saying is a useful metric, but that’s about it.

      • Those reviews certainly don’t reflect how I feel about Gutenberg and they don’t reflect how the entire userbase of WordPress feels about it either.

        No-one said they did. WordPress users aren’t a monolithic (Guten)block. And I’ve no idea why you think that supports your prior assertion that:

        “those negative reviewers really don’t represent the majority” They don’t.

        The truth is that you don’t know what proportion of users the negative reviews represent. No-one does. Attempting to claim knowledge you don’t have is, to put it mildly, just silly.

        When supporters of Gutenberg resort to such assertions, you just undermine even more any reason for the rest of us to go along with it.

  2. Hi Sarah, very well said. I think the main issue with Gutenberg is not about the tool itself, but about the way it’s being introduced. While I totally see that Gutenberg could be useful to some, I also see that it won’t be useful for many others at all.

    For example I’m one of those users who doesn’t want to write content in a block based editor. I don’t even use the Visual editor in WordPress. I simply work with the Text editor and pure HTML. This is how I can work best and most effective. In addition I have full control over my content and the output of the markup and styling.

    It’s obvious that no matter how cool and modern Gutenberg may be, quite a lot of people simply don’t want to use it. Some even don’t want to give it a try. They don’t need it and have never asked for this new editor because the existing editor works just fine for them. The existing editor works similar to a word processor and it’s hard to imagine that there are people who can’t work with that. It’s certainly not the majority.

    Anyway, what I see is that the main issue is that Gutenberg is forced into core as the default editor in WordPress. As long as that won’t change, I don’t see the negative feedback stopping. I think if Gutenberg would simply be a plugin which the people who need it can use, noboby would have any problem with it at all. However, it seems not having Gutenberg in core never was an option anyway.

  3. I’m tiring of the constant talking up of Gutenberg and the making out its the fault of users for not understanding what its all about.
    No-one is listening to or even acknowledging the criticism, instead the project teams is steadfastly ploughing ahead, seemingly without a thought to the carnage they leave in their wake.
    They don’t seem to understand that WordPress is many things to many different people. Users haven’t thought of it as simply a blogging platform for many years, yet one of the prime reasons for Gutenberg is that they want the platform to be seen more as a CMS.
    The criticism and negative reviews will continue until someone starts to listen and take on board the views of those at the sharp end.

  4. Gutenberg proves for me the weak point of open source: always wanting to reinvent the hot water by different teams which leads to a lot of fragmentation … . VERY confusing for the “non coding users” they want to lure more.

    Perhaps also due to the fact that WordPress is a “browser story”, but it is a pity that after 10 years they are not closer to an “Adobe interface” à la Indesign, for websites.
    Something that I feel a LOT more with Elementor who achieves this in less than 1 year with a load of 5 star ratings ! In great contrast to Gutenberg.

    Maybe Adobe should buy Automatic…
    Or maybe Automatic should buy Elementor to built WordPress websites.
    Could be interesting combinations and lead to less fragmentation in all this pagebuilder headache …

    • I feel that way about the Avada Fusion Builder — LOVE IT! It’s fast, efficient, and for page layout it’s fantastic. Maybe Gutenberg should take a page from Fusion Builder and create a simplified version of it.

      However, for posts and simplified custom post types, I typically use the standard editor or disable it all together and just use custom fields.

  5. I think that some of the criticism the new editor is getting now that more users are aware of it could have been mitigated to some degree if its devs had concentrated their efforts in striving for feature parity with the current editor as much as possible. For example, there’s no way to see the comments attached to a post or edit custom fields right now. Instead, we got two different quote blocks and a very useful poetry block.

  6. It appears that quite many 1-star reviews are simply deleted. Some because of “bad language”, well, that’s maybe a reason, others because of absolutely no reason.

    That’s also a way to respond to user feedback.

    Just follow the review section from time to time and draw your own conclusions.

  7. As long as developer feedback in reviews is like this, the feeling of getting listened to fades even more for end users and contributing community:

    Samuel Wood (Otto) (@otto42) Admin

    Here’s the thing: Like it or not, this is going into core. It was never a question of “if”, but only of “when”. This is the future editor in WordPress. It is happening. There’s no stopping that train now. People thinking that they can somehow stop the train are *people who are standing in front of a train*. That never really ends well.

    So, the questions being asked of people reviewing the plugin are those to fix the problems with it. If actual problems exist, then those problems will be fixed. That is why the questions are being asked. If you’re seeing them as anything other than legitimate questions asked by people who want legitimate answers, well, that’s on you, friend.

    This answer was posted in at before the whole review was deleted a few hours later.

    • Some people, no matter how long they’ve been in the project or how important stuff they gave to it, should never be allowed to answer reviews in .org. They lack the minimal sensitivity to understand and speak to a human. I’m not saying they aren’t great, I’m just saying they aren’t fit for it. Therefore, they shouldn’t be there, where you have to understand a lot of different people, with different troubles using which, for some, are essential and at the same time complex tools to master.

    • This is just one example in a long list of failures from those responding to reviews, reports and complaints (whether on or elsewhere).

      First, there was the period of crying and gnashing of teeth: “users don’t understand us,” “we are so misunderstood,” “that criticism is so unfair,” etc. Sorry, but if you ask for feedback, you don’t get to control what it says.

      Then we had a long period of dismissiveness: “it’s still under development, you can’t expect it to be perfect,” “of course it’s got bugs,” and my personal favorite: “it’s too early to form an opinion.” Well, if it’s too early, why on earth are you asking for feedback?

      We have also had divide-and-rule, as exemplified by this meme: “those criticizing are just developers; real users don’t care about those things” (utterly disproved by the feedback over the last few days since the call to try Gutenberg went into WP 4.9.8).

      But they have never been able to get their story straight on this theme. So we’ve had “you don’t understand that Gutenberg will make WordPress a true CMS” (newsflash, core team: WordPress has been a full CMS for years. The fact that that’s because of all the plugins available, and not because of core, doesn’t make it any less true. But your ignorance of that fact is remarkable.) Yet we’ve also had “Gutenberg isn’t designed for you. It’s for people who just want to write.” Well, make up your minds!

      We have also had months of passive-aggressive responses to reviews on So, after a user has just reported what his or her problems are with Gutenberg, the response (usually from Tammie Lister) has been: “Could I just ask what it is you don’t like about Gutenberg?” S/he has just told you, Tammie!

      Of course, there has also been the tone deaf. Review after review has complained, for example, about the fact that normal writing aids are all hidden away. (And we even know from a study conducted when the TinyMCE buttons were recently reorganized that the vast majority of users want all their writing tools visible and available all the time.) Yet nothing gets changed.

      So someone makes the same complaint again. And still nothing gets changed. Yet the GB team repeats the mantra that it does listen to all feedback. No, sorry, you aren’t listening. Far from it. You might have heard these complaints, but you really aren’t listening.

      Now it seems that much of the pretense has been dropped. Those responding on (with the exception of Tammie Lister) now often just tell reviewers their own personal preferences. So when a reviewer complained about the default spacing in Gutenberg, Marius LJ’s response was, “Well, I happen to like it.”

      Marius, old chum, where did you learn such a wonderful helpdesk technique. “I’m sorry that the dress we sent you was red, not blue, I happen to prefer red.” Yeah, that’ll work.

      Or, to the many complaints that each paragraph is forced into being its own block, and so seriously impedes the writing flow, Otto asserts that a paragraph is necessarily a block. Which just goes to demonstrate, once more, the hubris involved here. As any professional writer knows, a block (or chunk, as we usually call it) is very different from a paragraph. But the amateur who hasn’t actually used professional writing software thinks he knows best.

      Yet, after all this feedback, there is one thing that almost everyone agrees on. Either keeping GB as a plugin or making it opt-in would be fine. But, no, that won’t happen because the call for feedback has never actually been about soliciting feedback at all. It’s been about trying to wear down opposition.

      Above all, what the whole sorry GB episode demonstrates is that the notion of a “WordPress community” is an utter sham. There are a few people with power — in this case, the power to commit changes to core — and the rest of us, who have to take it or leave it.

      When GB was announced — and every so often thereafter — someone has claimed that it would be a “game-changer.” They thought that was a good thing. In fact, whatever the long-term fate of GB, it has made sure that WordPress will never be the same again.

      • [snip]…WordPress has been a full CMS for years….[/snip]

        Sorry, I beg to differ. WP still doesn’t allow more than one person to edit a page (admins aside). This is insane. Haven’t they ever heard of the concept of a “group”? OK, there may be plugins that fill that gap, but this basic functionality needs to be backed into the core.

        Second, ever try to rename or replace a media file? Again, it’s staggering that something so basic STILL doesn’t exist in WP core!

      • Hi Tim,
        I agree with almost all your points. I don’t know who’s who in the WordPress world (moderator, lead, support etc.) but I have to jump in and say that Marius is one of the best in any of his online support or other posts that I’ve read. He’s civil, patient, professional and tries to educate whenever he can. I’m not a fan of Gutenberg and the main reason is that I don’t like my text being cut into a collage of blocks. My review for GB is still a 1-star but it’s a +1 for Marius. 🙂

      • @Jennifer

        Whataboutism aside. WordPress has been treated by the community as a CMS for years, unlike the GB Team who still sees it as a blogging platform (unless it is convenient not to, to fit an argument.)

    • Henry, that review was deleted only after the author started attacking people and, well, being kind of racist.

      Some things we just don’t allow on the forum, and some people don’t seem to understand that. If the discussion is civil, then it will be left alone. When it becomes uncivil, then we have to draw a line somewhere.

      • Well, Otto, it’s your decision what you delete and why. I am sure there were reasons.

        Telling people they will be *crushed by a train* if they don’t follow the devs opinion is maybe not a perfect argument to keep a conversation calm and quiet.

      • Hi Otto,
        If the review itself was out of order then, fair enough, but if the author started attacking people near the end of the discussion could this just have been removed and the discussion locked? I think deleting discussions should be a last resort as it just adds to further resentment. Some valid points may have been made before it turned sour.

      • So, never heard of a metaphor?

        I thought the call-out in 4.9.8 was pretty clear. It says that the new editor is coming soon. It doesn’t say that it is optional.

        By and large, the WordPress developers have never shied away from making big changes to the the software. There’s always people saying that this new thing is bad and should be optional. It is never made optional. The history of the software speaks for itself in that respect.

        So I don’t have much of a problem with telling people how it is going to be, based on history and what I know about the software development being done. People asking for it to be made an option, or left as a plugin, are simply not going to get their wish fulfilled here. If you want to interpret that as the developers not listening, then that’s fine, but it is what it is and sugarcoating that doesn’t really do anybody any favors.

      • This leads me to wonder, why should people who are opposed to GB do the developers any more favors, by spending personal time offering feedback on how it works or fails to work. A fait accompli attitude can go both ways.

        Looking at historical facts in the area of technology (and with a metaphor to boot), it’s been proven that no one can dam up user wants and needs. The water finds a new way to flow every time. It’s happened to bigger entities than WordPress, just sayin’.

      • @David: What’s wrong with post formats? I still use them. They’re great. Just because your particular theme didn’t use them effectively doesn’t make them a dead letter. We still use them quite a lot. Admittedly, mostly for video and quote formats, but I never expected all of them to take off. Having just a few useful ones is fine.

      • Gutenberg is bad enough…it’s horrible…as we know from our own experiences and from reviews by thoughtful WordPress users.

        But what is *really* bad is the attitude of Gutenberg’s defenders…(Hello, Otto).

        Unbelievable arrogance.

        This is what will kill WordPress.

  8. I am one of the ‘full steam ahead’ gutenberg users – we have even developed over 5 blocks for public use, but after reading these negative reviews im starting to think gutenberg would be better as a feature plugin with a longer time period before release.

    I should also say that the gutenberg team is doing a really great and im very happy with the plugin already.

    • I think that if it wasn’t forced in core, but forced installed with core, like Hello Dolly, that would be a good middle ground. Point to it and say, “This is something you might want to try and it’s pretty great. Just know that it’s here.” But at least for the introductory period, don’t completely rip out what people have known overnight with no way to get their heads above water again without going way out of their way to find an “undo” plugin.

      The reason I say that is, some day, someone’s going to try it, and if they like it, they’ll talk, and other people will try it, and if they like it, they’ll talk. If it actually passes muster in the real world, then we can talk about defaulting it.

      The only “benefit” I can see to forcing it is to move people over to that line of thinking, or that way of doing it, for which WordPress might have its own reasons. Right now there’s a creepy feeling like someone signed a deal with the devil, or someone owes someone a “special favor” and that’s why it’s being pushed on with such a historic level of negative feedback (and I am willing to bet the positive to negative balance is better with a more recent cutoff point, and that a of the negative outnumbering the positive by such a huge margin is early-days reviews).

      But to that end, what’s the loss otherwise in not forcing it? If it truly is “when” and not “if,” let it get there naturally, with patience, on its own merits.

  9. While it is interesting to discuss what people rant about, it is actually much more important to discuss what people actually do.

    At this point in time there are 90k GB installs and 70k classic editor plugin installs. This starting to actually be statistically significant in representing what the wider community thinks (as opposed to people that have a account). With so many people rejecting GB there will be a de-facto internal fork of wordpress that no developer will be able to ignore. All plugins and themes will need to keep developing shortcodes in addition to blocks because they will not be able to ignore 30% of wordpress users, and any user facing documentation might be a nightmare – if you use gutenberg follow 1 but if you have classic foolow 2….

    The other aspect is the accumulating amount of bugs in github. Right now there are 900+ open issues aand 200+ PRs. Even if half of the 1k+ reported problems turn to be a non issue, realistically there is no way all of them will be solved in time to release 5.0 in 2018 (there is less than 4 months development time left in 2018 for that). Since this is going to be a “saving face” issue, we are likely to have a 5.0 with a buggy default editor :(

    To be somewhat fair to the GB team, the schedule they were given was never even close to being realistic for developing an editor from basically scratch. People old enough might remember that tinymce was included in wordpress in version 2.0 but it took some time untill you could actually use it 99% of the time without having to switch to the html editor, and at tht point tinymce was considered to be already a mature product. GB probably requires another two years to be mature enough for non techies to be able to use it, and for techies to learn how to bend it to their needs.

    • I’ve hoped this ongoing disaster would somehow clear up a bit over the course of the last few months, but so far, it doesnt seem very likely.

      Thus, personally I’m still just waiting for the “core team” to finalize adding Gutenborg to the core. That’s going to be the point where I backtrack in the WP repository and fork. Should keep clients and colleagues happy, and maybe the rest of the WP world, who is not so much into Gutenborg ..

      Aside of that I’m working on my very own CMS toolkit, storage-agnostic and headless to some parts, for one to stay on the safe side AND also to implement features that possibly won’t work with WP (ever). Of corpse it is strongly WP-influenced, featuring a similar Action / Filter Hook API, Shortcodes and possibly Settings / Option API. As soon as I’m done implementing the most important stuff, work is going to start on a WP-compatiblity layer plugin, which should ensure that most non-admin interface-centric plugins can be easily ported or even just used right away.

      cu, w0lf.

    • Just because someone installed the Classic Editor, doesn’t mean they don’t support Gutenberg. Last week, I had the Classic Editor installed on about 50 sites. Only two sites are already using the Gutenberg editor. Following above logic one would think, I totally reject Gutenberg and I wouldn’t support it. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      The reason, why we installed on almost on all WordPress sites the Classic Editor is that we are not done yet with testing. We actually test many plugins for the case, that Gutenberg becomes the default editor and surprisingly plenty of them work nicely. For the others we file Github issues, so they are in the queue.

      We also know that most plugins developer will wait for the WordPress 5.0 Beta to come around to work on making their plugins Gutenberg-ready.

      Most business and nonprofits, we have under our care, decided, that they want to wait until WordPress 5.0.3 or 5.0.4 until they make the jump to Gutenberg. And rightly so.

      That doesn’t mean I can’t support the initiative and learn as much as I can about way we will publish on the web for the next 10 years.

      • We also know that most plugins developer will wait for the WordPress 5.0 Beta to come around to work on making their plugins Gutenberg-ready.

        The problem is that developing plugins for GB is a seriously steep learning curve – before you just needed to know php, a bit of javascript (especially if you were interacting with TinyMCE directly), and possibly some CSS, and you had access to a pretty well documented API.

        Now you need to know an additional set of languages and programming skills and the GB developer documentation is, unless its changed in the past couple of weeks, woefully inadequate : documentation of simple tasks is incomplete and confusing (

        The developers themselves admit that GB will break :

        Plugins relying on selectors that target the post title, post content fields, and other metaboxes (of the old editor).
        Plugins relying on TinyMCE’s API because there’s no longer a single TinyMCE instance to talk to in Gutenberg.
        Plugins making updates to their DOM on “submit” or on “save”.

        But don’t explain how, as a developer, you can fix any of these – or are they saying that as far as GB is concerned these sort of plugins are dead.

        Forcing GB on people will, I suspect, kill off a lot of “hobbyist” plugins leaving only plugins developed by full time professional indy developers or big companies. Maybe that’s what Automattic want?

  10. I’ve been following the progress of this project since the beginning. At first, I hated it, but it was very feature limited and buggy. I’ve tried every new version and it has vastly improved to the point where I now don’t mind it (note – I don’t “love” it yet).

    However, whilst the workflow and features have changed dramatically for the better, there is one thing that hasn’t – the utter arrogance of the WP Core and Gutenberg teams. Yes, they have listened to criticism that they want to, but they have always dismissed the – genuine – feeling amongst a lot of commenters that this is not the way forward. You only have to look at their replies to criticism about whether Gutenberg is a good thing to tell that they’re not interested in listening. Their whole attitude is “we’ve already made up out mind, regardless of what everyone else thinks” or, to put it another way “we’re right, you’re wrong”.

    A perfect case in point of this is the fact that it will become core in 5.0, and if you want to keep the old way of doing things you need to install a plugin. Excuse me, but that is just wrong! The better, non-arrogant, way of doing this is to keep the classic editor in core for all existing installs of WP, with a callout as it is in 4.9.8 to give Gutenberg a try. I have no objections to having Gutenberg included in all brand new installs, but for the time being it should still be an easily removed plugin.

  11. I see Gutenberg as a light Elementor. For my purpose, it can be nice to create some pages with blocks for visual improvement but regular post.

    Very funny : I decided to take another look at Gutenberg on my test site (no other extension activated and default theme) and I cannot save a draft or publish a post. Gutenberg is incompatible with WP ;-)

  12. It is much easier to blame the “fear of the unknown” than to listen carefully to the opinion of the users.

    The fact that has a special interest in implementing Gutenberg on its platform and forcing its users to use it does not mean that all other users want the same thing.

    I still think that it should be presented as an optional plugin (such as akismet, jetpack or any other Automattic plugin) and that it is the user who decides what is most convenient for him to develop his web project.

    In a simple blog, obviously, the blocks clog and entertain when writing the entries. Much easier and faster to do with the “classic editor”.

    Sometimes they forget that we users also have our opinion, that of our experience, and they impose the changes as appropriate only to certain people with commercial interests.

  13. I just spent a better part of Sunday testing Gutenberg with some of our client websites on a development server. It was a mess. WP has completely ignored the developer community with Gutenberg and the amount of work that will be required to get client sites to work with this editor.

    But in my testing I had nothing but issues anyway – screen locks, difficulties moving blocks, tools hidden behind layers and a constant autosave nag that would revert me back to an previous version without me telling it to are just some of the issues.

    But we do not even use the classic editor for most of our clients anyway – we use ACF fields…so this whole thing is just not a positive for our clients but more work for us — and most of our clients do NOT want to spend their time learning a new editor….that fact that WP has no interest in LISTENING to what we want – will have many developers changing systems.

    But, I guess that is what makes open source – well, open source. You take what they give you or walk away……looks like I will be walking away. I would rather pay for a CMS that will hear my input than deal with this mess they are creating.

  14. This whole Gutenberg project was an idea of designers and PR people.
    But what do they have to do with people just needing a text editor to input content in a CMS in order to display that content for other users in the front-end?

    I can believe, for a designer the concept of the Gutenberg editor is much superior as the classical editor because there are no unnecessary and “distracting” buttons displayed and the looks is minimalistic. That is absolutely true!

    But real people who need/want to run a website will simply not care how the text editor looks in the backend as the only thing that really matters for them is how the content looks in the frontend. Exactly that is why the classical editor is much better (and was even better before removing some buttons that the core team found unnecessary…)

    I think all the people dreaming about projects like Gutenberg should truly understand the difference between frontend and backend first, without coming to the idea they would need to unify these 2 completely different area of a website.

    To sum it up: i completely understand why Gutenberg was born. And exactly that is why i am sure it is the worst idea to make it into core by default. It should be an opt-in plugin for those (the tiny minority of all WP users) who need exactly that type of content editing. That would be absolutely welcome and beneficial. But forcing the waste majority of WP users to counter-act Gutenberg by installing classical plugin … this is frankly the worst idea i ever remember in IT area!

  15. And we, the relentless WP users, “need” this new editor. Doesn’t sound like it to me.

    I have been happy with the present one for all my sites for a long time and am too busy to waste my valuable time trying to adapt to a new one and/or have to add a new plugin to keep it that way.

    To me, the concept of Gutenberg is a solution in search of a problem.


  16. I’m not in the web site design and development business any more. However, I use WP as the platform for all of my personal web sites, some of which have evolved over time since the late 1990’s. As such, many of the posts/pages on these sites use shortcodes, snippets and other similar “embed” constructs. To have to transition to Gutenberg looks to me to be a major undertaking for those sites like mine have made extensive use of the above. I’m an old-school guy who grew up with html and css, and am perfectly happy using the classic editor in html mode. I’ve been testing Gutenberg on one of my local sites and to date my perception is that it is cumbersome and perhaps has a bit too many bells and whistles.

    And I hope I didn’t leave the impression that I’m opposed to change and new concepts. WP isn’t my first Rodeo. I’ve been to many of them…Joomla, Drupal along with many others that are now in the dustbin of history.

  17. Some people, no matter how long they’ve been in the project or how important stuff they gave to it, should never be allowed to answer reviews in .org. It seems they lack the minimal sensitivity to understand and speak to a human. I’m not saying they aren’t great, I’m just saying they aren’t fit for it. Therefore, they shouldn’t be there, where you have to understand a lot of different people, with different troubles using which, for some, are essential and at the same time complex tools to master.

  18. I can understand if the classic editor needs to evolve. On the surface, I’m excited that WordPress and Automattic are exploring where things go from here. I’ve kept a local test site on my computer to play along with Gutenberg as it evolves.

    That said, I can’t recommend Gutenberg. I’ve already gone ahead and pre-emptively installed the Classic Editor on my clients websites. The interface still feels too clunky and doing anything beyond basics feels like more work than before.

    WordPress is now on the back foot while the backlash continues to grow. My impression is that they’ve made up their minds that this is the future. The mostly-canned responses to the less-than-stellar reviews shows it.

    I’d rather see Gutenberg remain as an option to enable under add_theme_support and naturally let theme/plugin developers and studios build it into their work over time. I’d expect a better reaction to it rather than shoving it down everyone’s throats.

  19. There is a lot of good commentary here from people far more invested in this aspect of WordPress than I or my team has been. With that, trying to offer an insightful look at the development process itself is beyond my ability and I would just be adjusting the signal to noise ratio in a negative fashion.

    That being said, my greatest worry is that we’re looking at the future of WordPress, and that future is Squarespace. Paragraphs as blocks, and a horrendously painful editing experience. If that’s the future Gutenberg brings, our small and inconsequential shop will continue our trend towards using lighter weight and more focused CMS systems to produce static web sites.

    WordPress is huge and isn’t going away overnight any time in the next 5 years. At the same time, it thankfully isn’t the only option available. There are a lot of options out there for building exceptional web sites focused on the users needs, as opposed to a one size fits all (that really doesn’t).

  20. While it may seem that the plugin has been widely panned by new testers, those who are the most critical tend to be more motivated to write a review.

    I have no particular view on Gutenburg (other than that its name is preposterous). I have not tried it. I am more interested in my particular work in the WP backend than the front-end. But on this quote above… this, and other reasons given for the bad reviews apply to *all* plugins, and therefore don’t make much sense as an explanation of the ratings that Gutenburg (did I mention the name is preposterous?) is getting compared to other plugins. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a plugin with this many installs with such a low overall rating.

  21. Yikes. This conversation is not getting any better.

    I went from happily building websites – never even thinking twice about whether or not WP was the right fit – to having to give clients lengthy disclaimers about the future of WordPress and suggesting other CMS platforms.

    Its going to be an interesting next few months in the WordPress world. Sadly, with the tone of these discussions, my confidence is diminishing.


  22. Our WordPress is not your SquareSpace!

    If you want to compete with SquareSpace, make a plugin, and force it to your users, but for the rest of us, if we wanted to use SquareSpace or Medium or anything like that, we would be doing just that.

    “People certainly have strong feelings about it, and ‘fear of change’ is absolutely a legitimate feeling”

    This is so condescending is insulting. Everyone, or almost everyone, is telling you that they don’t want or need your ‘blocks’. That’s not fear of change, is fear of being force-fed a change that adds nothings and takes away a lot.

    “Some people will jump right into the brave new block-based world, some people will prefer to use the Classic Editor plugin as a way to keep their existing workflows. When WordPress 5.0 lands, neither way should be seen as the ‘correct’ way – they’re both entirely legitimate.”

    Then why force one and make the other a plugin? Keep both, make it an option, and most people won’t be complaining. That would be the very very least.

    Remember “the WordPress way”? Well, this isn’t it. I kind of think it’s time for a fork to bring WP back to the path of the flexible framework CMS it used to be.

  23. A horrid WP experience is this half-baked Gutenberg. A German word/surname meaning Good Mountain, alas, this attempt from Automattic at creating a visual editor is not just sad but disastrous to themes and to perfectly functioning sites that will end up breaking or giving owners a headache. Far from anything good. At least if it were as good or better than other builders. It is not. It is so annoying to use, even from a web developer as myself who uses many different builders.

    This stupid lousy builder thing should be a plugin [no one will ever want to use] and not ever part of the core WP CMS.

    Line them up against the wall – if they enforce it upon WP users. Time to change the leadership.

  24. Forcing Gutenberg as the new new de facto editor in WP 5 is just a dumb move. If Gutenberg was as good as Matt and his developers believe it to be, then the public will willingly make it their default editor, otherwise it feels like it’s being shoved down their throats. And, it’s very obvious from anyone who’s tried Gutenberg that it’s not there yet.

    I’m still wondering what was so wrong with TinyMCE that it needed replacing.

  25. Then you have the “5-star” reviews that claim… “old users are mad because they don’t know how to use Gutenberg” as a rational to ignore all other 1-star reviews. And then to have a response from a core dev that doesn’t address the attack against 1-star reviewers. Yet when a 1-star review happens and discussion occurs, the mods at Automattic shut the conversation down.

    Here lies one of the problems. If you support Gutenberg, you are given great latitude to insult others. But if you do not support Gutenberg, you basically are told to “stay in your lane”!

  26. If you want to know, why users and community are confused, check this review:

    First this happens:

    This topic was modified 3 hours, 19 minutes ago by Marius L. J.. Reason: Redacted link from review, per the forum guidelines

    Then this happens:

    Tammie Lister (@karmatosed)
    1 hour, 7 minutes ago

    @arachnoidea thanks for taking time to test the new experience. I would love to read your article, could you perhaps provide a link?

    • Henry, links are removed from reviews because people abuse reviews to drive traffic to their site.

      To be honest, that link was correctly removed. He should have posted his opinions in the review, not in the linked page. Reviews should be complete and useful to users, not links back to elsewhere.

      • So that you are able delete on a whim, if it doesnt fit into the overall scheme? ;)

        Back in the days, when there was something like weblogs, it was a good thing to turn a lengthy and next to unreadable comment (or review, in this case) into a proper blog post, possibly getting more input from other readers who might or might not have been introduced to the topic yet.

        But no, nowadays its “driving traffic to your site”. Attitude works both ways, nah?

        cu, w0lf.

  27. I am not a wordpress expert by any means, run a couple of websites and most of the time use the Visual editor, just occasionally the code editor.

    Now at the present I can easily write a post or two, can make a heading, a sun heading, insert a photo etc without any slow down and interruption.

    Now when I have tried Gutenburg, I just find it so awkward. Why do I need seperate blocks for everything ? It slows me down, having to keep creating blocks.

    Now some might prefer that way of creating a post, but surely the logical thing would be to make it optional, and then if a large proportion of users are actually using it, then is the time to put it into the core.

    Just make it a plugin like Jetpack is and let people choose, if they want a so-called easier way of editing and creating posts with blocks then just install the plugin. Simple.

    • Jason, did you try just typing stuff in and going back later to make those blocks that it created into headings and such?

      I get that some people don’t get the block interface, but, if you just write your text normally, then nothing changes. You can format after the fact just like the existing editor.

      Maybe the intro approach is wrong. Dunno. Once you realize that you don’t have to keep creating blocks, then things are a lot simpler. Write the post, and it creates blocks for you. Then you create blocks yourself if you want to do so. It’s actually really easy.

      • I have tried it, but for me it is too clunky and too slow for what i want to do.

        At the present for a new post, I put title in, then in the main visual editor, put a subheading; which I then change font size (h2 etc)

        I then type article. If I have typed and saved it else where i can then just copy and paste.

        If I need to add a twitter quote or youtube video, I can just switch to the code editor and copy and paste the embed html to the place it is needed.

        It is so simple. To add media, go to where i want it and click add media.

        Now when i have tried gutenburg, you immediately see blocks. a strange menu system. You have complicated a very simple way of working in my opinion.

        The problem is that some will prefer one way (your way) and others will prefer another (the classic option) and all will be fine until the plugin fails.

        But has anyone thought what happens if new users, who know nothing else, actually do not get and and like blocks, perhaps fing it too similar to other software out there. Are you going to tell them that a Classic editor is available ?

      • Jason: we just did tell them that the Classic Editor is available. It was half of the callout in 4.9.8

        Also, there are keyboard shortcuts, and embeds work pretty much the same. Paste in a Twitter link, get a Twitter embed block. You can compose the whole post using the keyboard.

        Try the slash commands. At the start of a new block, type \twitter and it makes a Twitter block. Paste the url right in. Things like that.

        The new editor is very typing focused. You really don’t need to format as you go, and that is sort of the point. Type in the content, it breaks it up into blocks, then you go back and change those blocks into the right type later.

        Here’s how I used to compose things. I’d write the post in my preferred text editor. Then I’d paste it into the tinymce editor. Then I’d proofread it. As I did so, I would format it. Add headings, add links, insert images, etc. This is the same for me now, except that I do it in the editor itself. Type in everything, scroll up, read and change blocks to be the right type, stick in an image here or there, and so on. Basically, formatting comes second, as it should be for writing.

  28. Evaluating Gutenberg with some agencies i work for, in short:

    – layout centric sites: GB is way to limited. Don’t even try. Stick with Elementor etc. Use it’s new features like ACF integration, role manager, templates etc.

    – application style sites (lots of custom types, attributes, relations , validating input, querying, specific views, GraphQL, 100% control of markup/css etc): Has always been a fight with WordPress, GB and it’s weird way of handling data makes it even worse. So: No compromises any more. Switch to a CMS that is great for that.

    – blog/news centric sites: disable GB (however that can be done) for at least a year after GA, then re-evaluate. Don’t put your users at risk.

  29. If I understand and remember right, Automattic wanted to compete against Squarespace, Wix, etc. However, the reality is that is the one who should be doing Gutenberg if they want to compete.

    Self hosted WordPress ( is not in that particular competitive market as much as is. The self-hosted WP is very different from .com, but it seems Automattic wants to drag .org into their realm which we will continue to see the anger and frustration of .com continuing to impose their ideology onto .org users which ultimately creates conflict.

    I’m sitting back and waiting to see what will really happen once WP v5.0 is officially released and Gutenberg is the official editor. Get the bowl of popcorn out!

    • Interesting thought, but really, have you looked at the interfaces recently? They’re not even close to the same thing. If they wanted to do that, then they could have done it there far simpler and faster.

      The people working on this actually think that it’s a better way. Maybe we should assume good faith, rather than creating conspiracy theories, especially those that actually make less sense than people simply spending some of their time trying to make a better editor.

      • If they wanted to do that, then they could have done it there far simpler and faster.

        Citation needed.

        The problem with all wordpress development processes is lack of strong software development practices, and from what we see from automattic, it is that’s company culture as well.

        You can do many things that way as long as they are small enough, but once you go into multi man year efforts you need proper planning and PM, and we still do not know what is the final goal of the GB team, for example is the what that there are no screen options and screen help is a feature or bug?

        So no, it is unlikely that if that was a purely project it would be fats or easy. Maybe they could have shaved 10% of time that now is required to communicate with the community, but no more. (if at all, instead of getting bug reports from people that can investigate them in the code they would have got bug reports from simple non techi users)

  30. Gutenberg is like changing a screwdriver into a hammer. Those who like hammers will stay. Those who really need a screwdriver all along will leave.

    However, those who are already using a hammer will likely keep on using the hammer they already have, not get a new one. Old WP users will leave, but they won’t be replaced by new users in equal numbers.

  31. Some of the review answers are really, really insulting. For example:

    After a writer explains how Gutenberg does not work with his workflow – something other writers have also pointed out – this moderator called “Samuel Wood” comes in and gives the guy a sarcastic answer:

    I understand your views, even if your view of blocks seems to be one big long run on paragraph.

    This is the kind of condescending attitude that isn’t making Gutenberg any friends. Compounded with Tammie Lister’s copy-paste answers, the GB PR team have completely failed on this. No communication, no roadmap, no transparency. Nothing but arrogance.

    The best way to solve this problem would be to leave it as a plugin for a few years. IF the overwhelming majority of WordPress users were to demand GB be made standard, then have a look at the decision then.

    There is a saying in my country, “much wants more”. Matt, already a millionaire, looked at Wix and Squarespace’s pile of money and decided he wanted theirs also. WordPress be damned.

  32. active installations of the Classic Editor plugin have jumped from 7,000 to 60,000, a 757% increase.

    This is huge I guess.
    Back in February, I went to the Facebook WordPress community and asked what they expect from the WordPress core, at times when WordPress seems to place Gutenberg as priority #1, indeed, it is! But, there were some interesting opinions about what other users think about “priorities” for themselves.
    This might be one of the reasons they still love the classic editor. What I personally think, it would take some time to adapt the change as most of the WordPress users don’t know much about the back-end.

  33. This is a funny post. It reminds me of the end of “Animal House” when Kevin Bacon is yelling “All is well” when there’s chaos going on all around him. This is certainly a pivotal moment for WordPress, and watching how the managers/decision-makers of the platform handle it is entertaining from my business/marketing standpoint. Wix and Squarespace are sitting back laughing. WP market share will get dinged. It’s going to take a readjustment of epic proportions on the part of the user groups, developers and Automattic before everything begins to settle and we see where the pieces have fallen. People new to the platform, the few remaining, won’t be any more confused with Gutenberg than they were with the “Classic” editor. But no one is going to want to change just for kicks, and agencies that will have to retrain their clients how to do basic functions is going to frustrate a lot of people. To the extent that they switch platforms will remain to be seen.
    Automattic is trying to pass this off as an improvement to the existing editor, as if it’s something they’re doing for their users, when it isn’t, and everyone in the know knows it. Bad business, at the least. But how many people are really going to know the truth, and how many will care? Automattic is gambling and praying that it’s not many. Time will always tell.

  34. A lot of our sites we build for people need WP as CMS and as such a few years ago we embarked on making the editing of a page more controlled for the user by creating our own plugin that gave the user some ‘layouts’ to use (so, text, gallery, slideshow, video etc), so that because they ‘contained’ the data in separate ‘blocks’ it meant that the theme could be written to work flawlessly with any input they happened to throw at it (so not a good description, but you get the drift).
    We were going to make a version of it available last year (after extensive testing with our clients), just as GB was announced, so we didn’t, we thought we’d see what it (GB) was offering (and we were about to start V2 in react also), now I wish we’d just gone ahead, because to honest (and I know you can say we’ve an axe to grind, but we’re not) GB won’t do our clients, those who have no idea about presentation or layout, any good what so ever, because this (GB) is clearly aimed at those who like to tinker for hours on end with their own sites, or have a team of content writers working for them, real small business’ won’t have a clue… do WP know how long it takes to train and support people even with the classic editor, have they had the phone call: “… yesterday the editor had more options, but they seem to have disappeared?…” yep they forgot about the ‘kitchen sink’ button..
    Please just make it an option (GB that is)…

  35. IMO the development has been in a bit of an academic developer / designer echo chamber.
    The project leads are all quite academic, and taking a look at their personal sites shows a certain focus on code. The leads aren’t project managers, or account handlers, or content editors.

    My clients are all agencies or small businesses who will often hire a cheap temp worker to update their content and then neglect to show this poor replacable individual the documentation.
    It’s rare the content editor is actually a design fluent content editor.

    Content editors are likely to be spending their time blasting out press releases and Staff Biogs in a familiar writing app and then pasting it into TinyMCE and mangling the picture placements. They usually contact me at that point. “why do the pictures look different in the editor”

    For those user-types (copywriters and content editors) you’d imagine that Gutenberg would be a godsend, but so far not so good.
    Content editors don’t visit GitHub too much so I have not seen their input. In the orgs I work with the content editors don’t really know how to ask for what they need . I tend to hear “I need a way to put tables in”. So, again – surely Gutenberg is the answer … but not really.

    It seems that Gutenberg was made with a WordPress.Com user in mind – An individual running a passion project (a tech blog or a niche shop) A user may often spend eveings re-arranging their pages. That individual may also be an amateur developer who loves to add features so they might self-host, they may enjoy forking themes, and writing plugins for themselves. That person will be contributing on GitHub and shaping the direction.

    My clients and end-users are not like that at all.
    My clients never need to “write your story“, they are pasting copy in, they are doing it very quickly. They are ringing me up when it breaks.

    These people are the ones who use WordPress a lot, and do it under duress and time pressures. They aren’t layout artists, they are often not even content editors. My suspicion is that the core dev team did not really factor their needs into Gutenberg.

    EG: No client has ever asked me for a Drop-Cap facility. Not ever.

  36. The GB team responses to reviews are horrendous out of a customer service viewpoint. Take this review from a writer: after explaining why professional writers are inconvenienced with the blocks GB workflow, Samuel Wood replies:

    I understand your views, even if your view of blocks seems to be one big long run on paragraph.

    I couldn’t even imagine writing something similar to my users, no matter how irritated I was that people were criticizing my work.

    That, together with Tammie Lister’s tone-deaf, copy-paste responses to critical reviews that could just as easily have been handled by a bot, has made Gutenberg a perfect example of a bad, opaque project with no roadman forced upon users. And no matter how many bad reviews GB receives, Matt has decided to push forward.

    Where I’m from, there is a saying: much wants more. Matt, already a millionaire, saw the piles of cash Wix and Squarespace were sitting on an decided he wanted their money also. WordPress and its users be damned.

    • Tammie is responding to criticism and the negative reviews by trying to dig deeper to find out the root causes and additional information to see if she can translate those into improvements for Gutenberg. She’s not tone-deaf and using canned responses. She’s trying to have a conversation with each reviewer but civil discourse online is a rare thing these days.

      • I can second that. Having worked with her in the past for the WordPress theme directory, I can say that she genuinely cares more about user experience than anyone I’ve worked with before.

        If the responses seem a bit canned, I imagine it’s only because she’s having to repeat the same questions to try to get more actionable feedback. There’s only so many ways you can ask for more specific details.

        It’s a tough and thankless job. Maybe the community can pitch in and buy her a vacation once Gutenberg is merged. :)

    • Samuel Wood, or Otto, as he prefers to be called, is a long-time WP devotee who would probably exemplify what’s going on. WP is now huge, is the longstanding big kid on the block, so it’s the “do it my way or shut up” attitude. Customer service is a casual matter and what’s become a large enterprise is still being managed by grown-up kids who’ve been riding the WP wave over what comprises the majority of their short adulthood. So this type of superficial comment is par for the course, I’m afraid. What will be interesting is to see if that attitude, compounded with the turmoil GB is about to bring will capsize the ship. That’s why it’s fun to watch.

      • I think you’re onto something here. When this WP mouthpiece’s responses have me thinking about alternatives to WP, even as plan B when the future looks worse than the GB issue looks today, that’s saying something. As much time and money as I have invested in WP, its biggest draw is its open source nature. When that spirit gets lost, or outright taken away by hubris, I’m gone.

      • Fun! Tell me how you really feel.

        Been doing support for many years, even before I started working on WordPress. If you can’t have a sense of humor, you’ll go nuts doing it.

        So, sorry if the occasional light joke offends you. But not changing.

        (BTW, I’m older than you are. Get off my lawn.)

        • Hardly offended, and I would never propose someone change for my sake. I’m just pointing out that WP support isn’t always focused on finding solutions, especially when someone dares criticize the product. A professional business would tend to handle matters differently, rather than point out irrelevant flaws of the user.

      • On a side-note: Please stop bashing Otto, thank you very much.

        Aside the fact that I personally don’t like his attitude, he’s been doing a great job. Doing support is a tough and nasty job .. so tough that at one point you wish those folks would just drive off a cliff or be this years winner of the Darwin awards.

        cu, w0lf.

        ps: On afterthough: Probably dont like his attitude because its similar to mine, at least when it comes to doing support :D

      • Otto, I used the term mouthpiece because what you are saying echoes the position of WP itself. You are saying it more bluntly than Matt M., which some could find refreshing. In the interviews I’ve read from him on GB, he sounds great but isn’t very clear. Which could be by design, trying to soften the blow of his decision that affects everyone using WP.

        Personally, I don’t see humor in what you are saying, which I read as a bit of a victory lap for GB amidst the bargainers who wish for an altered course. Since that is what WP is in fact doing, you’re helping out a lot of folks who see WP as more collaborative, which is a mistaken view since WP is not a conversation but a train. Bad news is bad, so in a way, thanks for sharing. Reality is better and gives us a clearer picture or WP.

  37. I feel soooo frustrated. Here is why:
    When i try gutenberg on a test site and i just copy and paste some lorem ipsum text, i quite like the minimalistic design. I think exactly this is the trap that caught all the serious guys right at the very beginning.

    However if i try to write real content, a consistent flow of mind (that is longer than 3 rows) then all those *beepy* blocks just break up my mind, and are keep distracting me from telling my story. I always have to rectify where i wanted a new block. This is really stealing my time for nothing. Much better than those “distracting” buttons in TinyMCE, right? By the way, why would i ever want to modify the order of my consistent mind flow?

    And guys please also add a block order randomizer function before merging this crappy planned alteration into core, it is a great and truly needed feature you still did not think of! Imagine all the readers could read another version of the same content without the content creator needing to update that content manually each day. It would really save tons of time for content creators and after a while even the readers could decide which variation of text order was most exciting for them to read… That would be absolutely awesome!

    But wait… how about an exploit that would just remix the order of gutenberg blocks and that in a platform that drives about 30% of the whole internet?! What would happen to just an average site with about 30 pages and posts? Did someone ever thought of that possibility?

    • Not only was the account created TODAY but there has also been ZERO interaction on anything BUT this “glowing” review of Gutenberg. So how could this “individual” know how it compares to anything else. If mods are busy deleting 1-star negative reviews… this 5-star glowing review with zero substance should also be removed.

    • I’ll field that one before anyone gets any conspiracy theories.

      I wonder from where some of the positive plugin reviews are coming and whether some of them might be sponsored, or written as a favor by friends who don’t use WordPress. Many of the positive reviews lack details, especially when compared to the negative reviews.

      No, there are not. None of the positive reviews there are anything like that. And if someone does sock puppet, gets abusive or any combination of that then it is detected and dealt with.

      Sometimes people do unsavory things on the Internet. I know, that’s a surprise to me too.

      There is a complex set of circumstances that has it’s origins in history and was summed up in a 1971 paper titled “TROL-ling: Unsavory Text Based Relationships and their Origins”. I suspect that that review and a few others are defined by that seminal work from long ago.

      For reasons I won’t go into, that review you linked to has been removed.

    • Spam and fake accounts get removed no matter what their opinions are. That one was a fake, so it got removed.

      A fair number have been removed since the callout, because people are just terrible all around. Welcome to the wonderful and frustrating world of public forum moderation.

    • I’m a 11+ year WordPress user, my account is several years old, I like Gutenberg, and have been answering some negative “reviews”, and now I will definitely write a positive review. The vast majority of what I’ve read is complaining about workflows, but to be honest, most of then can be replicated in Gutenberg. For the most part, working with Gutenberg + Markdown, or using Classic block (in formatting) solves most of these “terrible” problems user have with Gutenberg. And yes, most of these can be classified under “resistance to change”.

  38. Mark Ciotola, are you under the impression that people who work closely with the core WordPress team are not entitled to their opinion and should not share their opinion about a plugin?

    That’s not a good attitude to take. If the opinion doesn’t match yours, do you think it’s invalid? Or that there exist some pre-condition that you need to approve? Really?

    As reviews go that’s not bad. It says his opinion and does not need to meet any other qualifications that you may think. The reviews are not a debate, they’re someone’s feedback. Some are lengthy, some are “Plugin. Good. Works on my site.” Both are fine.

    Read and re-read all the reviews. I do. The reviews are feedback and that one meets that requirement.

    • are you under the impression that people who work closely with the core WordPress team are not entitled to their opinion and should not share their opinion about a plugin?

      This was his whole review:

      I just tested out the latest version of Gutenberg and I can’t wait for it to be the default editor for every WordPress site

      This was just an excuse to give 5 stars to boost the rating of Gutenberg.

      Yet you win. Otto’s threat about how the train is coming, and that we had better get out of the way or have a bad ending, is clear as a bell. I am getting out of the way.

  39. Gutenberg was originally scheduled for release in May. I very much appreciate that the decision was made to continue improving it rather than release it half-baked. That was a tough political decision and bodes well for the project. Gutenberg will eventually get there.

    We’ve started to see some very creative responses and integrations with Gutenberg. For example, check out the ACF blog. Overall, I think Gutenberg is going in a good direction, but user feedback shows that there is still work to do. Yes you can always start using Drupal or some other CMS, but before you strap on the parachute, give it a little more time.

  40. I’m sad. WordPress seems have gone from being underdog everyone wanted to help to the smartest contender who’s arrogance needs checking.

    There’s probably a technological need for Gutenberg, but if it’s not adopted on likability over time it’ll lose genuine support.

    Don’t lose your friends by acting too smart is certainly something I had to learn in life.

  41. You can (and should) still use the text block as the regular old editor. Gutenberg Dev should maybe consider adding a block TinyMCE with all old editor features. That will lead to one block for those loving the old editor and multiple block for the gutenberg lovers (like me).

    Good Job.

      • Hi Jeff,

        @Blair Jersyer might have a good idea. The Classic block is not the same as the TinyMCE editor.

        A lot of plugins have integrations with the TinyMCE editor that are currently not supported or possible with Gutenberg. For example, I have a plugin that adds a TinyMCE button. When clicked there is a popup that accepts some input and then when done a shortcode is inserted into the editor text at the point where the cursor was. This is inline with the text, not a paragraph or block on its own. This is not possible (yet or ever?) with Gutenberg. So Blair’s idea has merit. @Tammie Lister, is this possible?

      • Hi Jeff, It is not just for me personally. There are a number of plugins with this functionality that “average users” use. Telling people who want to use these plugins to just use the classic editor doesn’t feel like a good solution. I’m telling them they cannot use Gutenberg, which is pretty crappy if they are interested in it.

        Not that it is on your shoulders to solve it, but just didn’t feel the reply provided a good solution.

      • Hi Jeff, There are several plugins that provide this type of functionality and are used by “normal users”. I don’t want to tell them they cannot use Gutenberg if they want to do so. Of course, it is not on you to solve it. I’m just replying because telling them to install the classic editor isn’t a happy response.

    • @Blair Jersyer I thought the Classic block was my get of jail card with clients, but there is no inline image with it.

      Having free flowing text around aligned images is all most do. Nice and responsive.

      In order to move them over they have have to understand more about blocks and do more previewing (and that preview button is not working for me either).

      Columns are harder to work with. On my set up is really hard to get to the icons to delete them.

      I have to stay with the Classic Editor as old clients picked us to make it easy and are not that interested in WordPress.

      • Thanks Otto. That’s fine if you want one image at the top of a paragraph and don’t get confused with blocks in blocks

        I was trying to emulate one of my clients. An author.

        She has long aligned images with couple of headers and paragraphs by it . Then some longer paragraphs with more than one small image.

        What is probably to her randomly peppering her writing with visual interest turns into quite a complex job to recreate in Gutenberg.

      • David, yeah, it is a bit simple. There aren’t really nested blocks as yet, and the image flow thing is very fixed to one use case. Didn’t say it for all cases, but it can be done, and that indicates to me that plugins adding blocks and formatting for complex cases is likely. At the same time, it indicates that maybe making content less complicated is more likely, and I see that as a good thing for the future of the web as well. Complex layouts are confusing and generally “bad”, so maybe making those not the default isn’t exactly a bad idea.

  42. One could be mistaken for thinking that the purpose of Gutenberg for Automattic is to cut out the “middleman” (web site, theme and plugin developers) and pocket part of that money themselves by allowing web site owners to do the design work themselves on

    • Not Gutenberg and not any other page builders are going to cut out the middleman in many cases. This was the thought process years ago but the reality is, you have to know what you’re doing to take full advantage of these tools, and not everyone knows what to do or what they’re doing. There will always be a need for people who know what they’re doing and that’s the middleman/middlewoman

  43. Don’t worry, Matt and the team will utterly ignore the negative feedback and attribute it to fear of change etc. That’s what they’ve done so far with all of this and they’ll continue to do it. Mind you, I would love to be wrong about this but the experience so far simply doesn’t make me think I will be.

    What they SHOULD do is listen and change, leaving Gutenberg as a plugin for much longer and maybe target 5.x or 6.0. But they won’t. Because… Wix? I mean seriously, even if we all agree that WP needs an editing experience update, 5 years from now whether that update is forced out now or rolls out in 6 months or even next year.

  44. Just a thought on the numbers of people downloading Gutenberg and the Classic Editor.

    I’ve downloaded both. On three sites and a test site I’m using to learn more about setting up a WordPress Network site. I’m going to (eventually) try them both, see which works best under which conditions and then decide.

    So the numbers aren’t remotely an indication of the popularity of one over the other.

    Sorry if that opinion isn’t controversial for some of you ;-)

  45. The GB team continues to make bad things worse. A guy writes a detailed review of his experience with the new page editor.

    Samuel Wood replies and the reviewer tries to continue the discussion… which isn’t a discussion according to Samuel:

    I was not “answering” you in any way, I was just making notes. Then I shared my notes. You’re free to ignore them if you like.

    What’s a normal person going to think when he reads Samuel’s replies to people coming with valid criticisms of the non-standard GB user interface?

    Having one of Tammie’s bot replies in that thread instead of Samuel’s arrogance would have been much better, because she doesn’t keep digging herself (and the whole GB team) deeper.

    ps: should I perhaps archive that page in case the GB team decides to remove the review and its replies? It’s important that normal people see how the GB team deals with opinions that differ from their own.

    • Hey, Rod. I’m Otto. I’m not on the “GB Team”, just somebody who helps run the forums in general. I try to help anybody who needs it. I try to offer advice and help to all. That’s actually my job.

      So, if you don’t like my responses, feel free to tell me directly. My email is otto at

      However, my purpose was to answer his criticisms with my own views and notes. That’s all. After his reply, I felt that he might have felt that I was arguing with him, which was not my intention. I was just pointing out some of the things I noted. That’s all. I do recognize that mere statements of facts, when expressed as plain text, can be seen as argumentive. My reply was intended to indicate that I was not arguing with his views.

      You read it how you like. Don’t care. I only care how he read it. It was his review.

  46. In response to this comment I made to this post:

    I decided to post the suggestion to github for Gutenberg. Reply back from Tammie…

    Whilst I appreciate this suggestion for now we are going to stick with what we have.

    A few consideration points I would suggest for you in thinking about iterations:
    • Mobile: What you suggest wouldn’t adapt to smaller devices.
    • Interaction sections: Ideally each area has a section that makes sense, it doesn’t if you combine and pull out from the block library as you have.

    I do appreciate the response, but I don’t believe that about the consideration points. It seems as suggestions from people are just not always welcome as it is often pointed out from comments from people in articles and reviews, but especially when people are testing out Gutenberg to give feedback.

  47. I am a small business owner. I have my site designed and then just post and edit my blog. I write this in Word and copy and paste. Bold a couple of words, maybe a link, feature image, maybe another picture. Publish.

    Whilst the WP guys and developers and large organisations argue about this, I would remind you that this is how the majority of small businesses and consultants and bloggers use WP.

    I also have a Kajabi website for an online product. It is simple, easy, and they take responsibility for it. I used to think it was expensive but when you factor in periodic WP site design, hosting, paid plugins, support when I got hacked etc I reckon it is way cheaper.

    My reasons for staying with WP have always been control of my stuff and simplicity. It seems both are being removed.

    I see little point in installing the Classic WP plugin ad this can be phased out or discontinued any time (like they’re not arrogant enough – I think that has been proven) and as I am going through a website redesign now, I am thinking about both sites on Kajabi…


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