Unhappiness, Engineered

I’ve been frustrated with WordPress a lot over the last couple of years. It seems it just gets worse and worse using their service. At times, I’ve debated on whether to go to the self-hosted platform so I have more control over my content and appearance, but I just can’t pull the trigger on that when I’m certain I’m not working with a professional organization. The Reader is awful and the last update cuts the photos off; the “easier way to create on WordPress” just isn’t… WordPress just seems to be working really hard to convince me that their platform just isn’t worth the hassles.

Lately, I’ve been frustrated with my post titles disappearing — seemingly with no cause. I’d recently changed themes to the Twenty Twelve theme and this is when that started.

If you’ve been following along at home, you know I’ve been relatively silent the last few weeks, preferring my images speak for themselves (good or bad). I’ve had issues with my images on mobile platforms. I found a work around for that. But I recently noticed that if wrote a draft that only had an image in it, it was screwed up when it got published. And this has only started the last couple of days. The problem was that between the time I drafted and saved the post and the time it was published, the format had been changed from “Standard” to “Image”.

Unacceptable.

So I wrote an angry email to the (Un)happiness Engineers. The first line is a response to how they ask you how you’re feeling when you write the post, as if anyone contacting support is going to feel anything other than frustrated or annoyed.

‘Upset’ doesn’t begin to describe it, actually.  Furious is closer to the term I want to use.
When I draft a post, even if it’s only a picture, YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS CHANGING THE FORMAT OF THE POST. When I draft the post as Standard, DO NOT change it to a picture post when it’s published.  This removes the title from the post — an altogether asinine design decision in itself.  But furthermore, you have no business making that change without my permission: it’s not about how you want the blog to look, it’s about how I want it to look.

In the mean time, I guessed the Unhappiness Server decided on publish that since the post only contained an image that it was supposed to be an Image Format. And I did a little experiment: I added a non-breaking space in the post. Sure enough, the next day that post published exactly as I had previewed it.

Then I got the following, rather condescending response:

I am sorry to hear that you are frustrated with your site here. Rest assured that we never interfere sites and the way content is displayed. In fact, when you come to us for help, it is our policy to teach you how to make changes yourself because we do not interfere.

If you take a look at your wp-admin dashboard, at the posts themselves there, you can actually see who last edited the post. If you want to monitor your site, this is a good way to do it.

To get to that link, go to:

From there, you will visit Pages or Posts to view one. For example, looking at the top post:

Right under the content area there, you can see “last edited by matt…”

Here is a screenshot:
2017 03 30 at 11 37 AM

Please do let us know though if there is anything we can do to help you. We are here if you need assistance but we will not alter your site content at any time.

Thank you 🙂

The post this (Un)happiness Engineer refers to is the one that I had inserted the non-breaking space.

I sent the following

I’m waving the Bullshit Flag on this.  Follow MY sequence of events and then I’ll tell you why your argument doesn’t work.

The previous night (the one before the one you show in your screenshot), I wrote a post with an image in it.  I saved the draft and made sure the “Standard” post type radio button was selected.

I checked the preview and it showed the title of the post, as desired.

When the post was published, it was wrong.  It was set as an Image post instead of standard.

The reason this post undermines your nonsense is because I figured I’d try to see if I could trip up your algorithm: I put a non-breakable space element in the post after the image.  Sure enough, it published today as I wanted it to and not as your system decided it should be.
 
The reason I know your system tinkers with my posts is because I don’t want any posts to not have a title.  I put the time into selecting a theme, personalizing it as much as possible within your narrow confines, and then you punks go and do stuff like changing the type of post and I KNOW because the title is gone in the image post. 
 
If you’re just going to quote party slogans at me and marginalize the claims, I don’t need that. 

That was Thursday morning (20170330). That evening, I started getting screenshots of the process. Friday morning, I sent the following response:

Okay, I know you’re all going to put your heads together and figure out a way to not be helpful; to be perfectly honest, I expect nothing less.  But I’m not some bimbo with a fashion blog who only knows how to “download the internet”.   And I’ve put together a visual guide to recreating the problem I reported.  I already have a work around so I don’t really need you any more — this is just one more Dissatisfaction Nail in the WordPress coffin.

Preliminary Stuff (that means information you should know before you start):
1) the theme I’m using is “Twenty Twelve”
2) I wrote the post on a Surface Pro 3 with a current version of Windows 10
3) I used the Edge browser

None of that is relevant, though because the problem is on your end. 

The Steps to reproduce the problem, with pictures and call outs:  

1) I drafted a post that contains only an image.  I ensured the Standard radio button was selected from the Format widget.

2) I scheduled the post.  In the listing of all my posts, it shows up as I saved the draft and scheduled it: as a Standard post.

3)  I previewed the post to ensure it looked as I wanted it to.  Note that the title of the post appears, as I want, in the preview

4) The next morning, after the post is published, the title is missing and I’m mocking your inappropriately named Happiness Engineer for saying you don’t change anything.

5) In my list of posts, the post is clearly marked as an Image post, not a “Standard” Post as it was when I left it the previous evening

6) I click to edit the post to check the “Last Edited” timestamp, which your ludicrously-titled “happiness engineer” assured me was proof that you didn’t do anything to the post.  Must be a miracle performed by Christ, Buddha, Shiva, and the Wiccan Witch of the West because lookee here?!  It’s an “image” post.

As I said above, I have a work around to game your system.  But if you want to stop congratulating yourselves on how much happiness you’ve engineered today long enough to pass this on to a developer who might actually care about the product he puts out, just go ahead and do that.

Radio silence. For 3 days. Then:

Hi, Matt.

Thank you for the screenshots and the step-by-step instructions on how to reproduce the issue. It appears that that might actually a bug in the system, possibly related to the browser you’re using. As you can imagine, software isn’t perfect, especially when run across multiple platforms, operating systems, and devices, so while we try to catch everything we can during our testing, sometimes things slip through the cracks, and we are always grateful when users report bugs to us so that we can quash them in a timely manner.

I’ll send this report to the developers and see if we can get a fix as soon as possible, but at this time I don’t have a timeframe for resolution. Please note that, as my colleagues have pointed out in earlier messages, we do not edit or otherwise change user settings. If something happened, it’s likely a bug, not deliberate action on our part.

Lastly, I think I speak on behalf of my colleagues when I ask that you please refrain not only from engaging in abusive language but also sexist/misogynistic comments and metaphors. They are neither helpful nor professional, and we are more than happy to assist any user who in turn remains professional with us.

I’ll follow up with you as soon as I have an update from our bug investigation.

And my response that nonsense.

I have low expectations of any resolution; I have already figured out how to work around the limitations in your system.  I’m not surprised you’re blaming the browser; that seems an easy target indeed.  But I bet I could recreate the issue in any browser, because it’s not a client defect. 

I gave “your colleagues” the opportunity to be professional.  I tried reporting an issue that lowers the perceived value in the product your company produces and I’m told that what I’m seeing can’t be happening.  If that’s what you consider professional, then my interactions far surpass that threshold.  I delivered all the pertinent information for your developers to recreate the problem, along with pictures describing the issue.  I have no idea where you get the idea my comments were sexist or misogynist.  The response from “your colleagues” was unhelpful and dismissive, to which I responded — and I would have given that response to anyone.  Unhelpful responses know no gender. 

You can close this ticket, or continue to put the blame in my court — I don’t really care.  Nothing in this exchange has given me any hope that WordPress will fix the issue.  And as I’ve mentioned, I have my work around. 

The folks over at Despair.com used to have a Demotivator poster that fit this situation perfectly:

That about sums it up.

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8 thoughts on “Unhappiness, Engineered

  1. SnapperTrx

    I see no need to say “welcome to the world of tech support” as it appears you have had a permanent residence for some time. I, too, have considered moving to my own hosted web space/site/blog because I do like having total control over my content. The only thing holding me back, however, is the fact that I get a lot of hits off of people searching through WordPress, I guess. Hits I don’t think I would have gotten if I were just some obscure website on the interwebz. The actual community aspect of WordPress has been the only thing that got my WP site off the ground, I think. If I could find another way to draw in traffic, that required so little time and effort on my part, I would probably jump ship. Because I have so little time as it is, however, I don’t feel I can do so. It’s a bit of a two-edged sword. Sorry to hear about your troubles, man.

    Is there a reason that WP doesn’t just let you edit a site as HTML directly instead of integrating themes with stitched in, almost useless, HTML editing? Pretty odd, if you ask me, and high restrictive for those of us with web skills.

    Reply
    1. matt Post author

      I’ve been frustrated with WordPress for a while now: every change they make means a worse user experience for me. I don’t know if it’s the same with everyone else or not; but for me? It just keeps getting worse.

      I’ve been looking at WIX, but their UI/UX isn’t a lot better. I understand the social and traffic elements; and I haven’t fully decided to leave yet. But I’m more gone than not at this point — especially given the nature of this series of interactions. I’m furious about the format change. Coupled with the apathetic and unhelpful responses from the supposed support staff, it just lowers my interest in sticking around. I would like to ask “Oh, did I interrupt your day? Isn’t handling support issues your fricken’ job?!” Excuse me for inconveniencing you. Pft.

      The reason WP doesn’t let you edit the html is because they sell that service. If you want to do your own HTML, you have to give them money. Fair enough — I’ve considered it. And then I consider the sort of support I’ll be getting if I did… and we’re back to where we started.

      Reply
      1. SnapperTrx

        Yeah, I have looked into WIX as well, but had the same issue, they use a pseudo pre-defined ‘theme’ type system with some custom HTML. Man I remember back in the day I just had my home computer turned on with Windows web services turned on and built my own custom server and site, but I literally zero traffic. All my hits were probably from me and my friends accessing it from work. It was fun, though. I hope you find a better solution, or that WP gets its act together.

        Reply
        1. matt Post author

          Yeah… I haven’t found a good case for making the jump. I’ve considered Azure as a host, but there’s no return on the cost just yet (not that the cost is that high). I’m guessing I’ll find a better solution before WP gets its act together. For now, I guess I’ll just hold my nose and continue eating.

          Reply
  2. wolke205

    Entschuldige bitte dass ich erst mal laut lachen musste. Der Schriftverkehr zwischen Dir und dem Service-Team ist wirklich zum Haare raufen, beschämend, erschreckend und war nicht anders zu erwarten. Natürlich ist immer der Browser schuld. Wer sonst? 😀

    Mir ist es auch schleierhaft wie sie darauf kommen, Deine Kommentare wären misogyn oder sexistisch. Das war nichts als die knallharte Wahrheit auf sarkastische und ironische Weise 😀

    Früher hatte ich das Problem auch. In der Vorschau wurde alles korrekt angezeigt. Veröffentlicht totaler Hickhack. Da stimmt vorne und hinten nix mehr. Bin dann auch auf Umwegen wieder zur korrekten Darstellung und Veröffentlichung gekommen. Hätte ich dem Support geschrieben, wäre mit Sicherheit auch Chrome daran schuld gewesen 😀

    Lass Dich nicht mehr stressen. Liebe Grüße 🙂

    Reply
    1. matt Post author

      Ich denke, sie denken, wir scheißdumm sind. Ich will zu fragen, “hast du das Email gelesen?! Kannst du überhaupt lesen?!”

      Weil ich kenne, sie es tun nicht werden, ich werde Beiträge mit anderer Browser machen. Wann das Problem beharrt, was werden sie dann tun? (Offensichtlich werden sie nichts tun… Ich Dummerchen!)

      Reply
      1. wolke205

        Ne, nicht Du Dummerchen. Wir Dummerchen 😀 Ist auch auf anderen Seiten so mit dem Support. Da bekommt man manchmal Antworten, dass man vom Glauben abfällt 😀

        Reply
        1. matt Post author

          Ne, nicht Du Dummerchen. Wir Dummerchen Ist auch auf anderen Seiten so mit dem Support. Da bekommt man manchmal Antworten, dass man vom Glauben abfällt

          In der Tat. Nicht 5 Minuten vor, erhielt ich anderes Email von Support habe… Es ist nicht der Browser (duh), doch ein alte Funktion mit WordPress (kein Scheiße, wirklich!?). Der Vorschlag? Ich sollte das neue Dashboard benutzen. Das Dashboard nuckelt, also ich werde einfach dankbar sein, ich eine Antwort überhaupt erhielt.

          Ich brauche ein “augenrollendes-Emoji”. 🙂

          Reply

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