WordPress should be illegal for anyone except certified & licensed geeks (42 posts)

  1. L S
    Posted 7 years ago #

    I'm no geek but just for perspective on the level of technical proficiency out here in the real world, I'm the geekiest person most of my acquaintances know. But I had no idea when I got into this just how horrible, complicated, opaque, convoluted, murky, and technical WordPress would prove to be. I'm really sorry I got started with it and now have so much time invested in it.

    I don't know why I can't get an RSS feed from other blogs set up on mine. I can't begin to figure out all the geeky little code fixes, uploads, tweaks, and re-installs of this and that - with potentially disastrous consequences if it doesn't go right - that people are suggesting for this 2.7 problem. I don't know why my users can't get their passwords. I don't know why backup and maintenance has to be so hard. I don't know how to follow the directions here - I mean, c'mon! in WP, what's a table and how would I ever know which ones to keep and which to delete? - to speed up my still-new but already-slowing-down blog.

    It's a full-time job just to learn how to look after and fix WordPress - and here I thought that WP was a tool to serve us, not us to serve it. (Silly me.) I've been reading for hours today and I'm about to go crazy from staring at the screen. The fact is, WordPress just not ready for the rest of us. You shouldn't have to be a professional geek to be able to successfully blog.

    So take down all that nonsense about how easy it is. It's just not.

  2. tacomamama
    Posted 7 years ago #

    Well, easy is relative.

    It's a whole lot easier than the platform I used to use, but that one was appropriately titled "Geeklog."

    If you don't want to understand the guts of it at all, blogger is probably better for you. (Or just WordPress.com) Eventually, however, I think most serious bloggers (unless they have a whole IT Staff and don't have to care) need to at least start to understand How It All Works. Eventually you'll understand what you are doing when you look at the code.

    Plus, geekiness is an economically beneficial trait. I say, go all in on geeky and get to know it a little bit better. Learn to stop worrying and love linux-apache-mysql-php. (Or at least buy a good book on it.)

    Alternatively, head over to e-lance and find yourself someone who can fix all of your problems for a hundred bucks or so.

    That said, I could have written your post a year or two ago. (Though not about WordPress) Stick with it and eventually you'll feel less frustrated.

  3. Darran
    Posted 7 years ago #

    I have never taken too much effort to understand WordPress because it is that simple. You just have to be patient with it and take one step at a time. If you want, I could help you out with some clarification over the things you have trouble with.

  4. L S
    Posted 7 years ago #

    Well, thanks, but it's not a question of wanting. I do *want* to understand it all. I just am supposed to be doing something other than turning into a potato in my desk chair and sorting through scads of mostly useless google searches, sites, forums, and tips, all of which assume some level of proficiency or are apropo to a different release, or BOTH.

    I actually started blogging because of an important community issue that has a steep learning curve all by itself. I don't anticipate *ever* having 6 months to do nothing but figure out the weird glitch in latest release It's frustrating to have to put up with serious functionality issues because this code is out there full of bugs and incompatibilities, and it's WAY too fractured: go here and fix this piece of code, then go somewhere else entirely and rename that file. Then download something from somewhere, tweak it, and upload it somewhere else. Egads!

    I'm not worrying. I have strong geek tendencies, and geeky could be wonderful except that I have too much else to do. As I said, the software should serve us, not us it.

    The point is, *is* there a point to all this? Couldn't it be done a whole lot more straightforwardly and economically, effort-wise? I cannot believe all the different places you have to access just to administer one little blog. I guess that's open source for ya. You know what they say about too many cooks...

    Well, this is supposed to be the place for requests and feedback. My feedback is, it's too complicated and counter-intuitive. My request is to make it nice and logical. I probably won't live that long, tho.

  5. L S
    Posted 7 years ago #

    Ah, Darren - I was replying to tacomamama, not you. Thanks for the offer.

  6. L S
    Posted 7 years ago #

    Darran: Simple? Everything about it is phenomenally complicated. If it was simple, this site wouldn't have 40,000 pages of questions from very confused people. Even the page with the "famous 5-minute install" is just chockablock with jargon and assumptions.

    Here's an example:
    For a particular problem, in the troubleshooting section it says:
    Download wp-config.php (if you don't have shell access).
    - without ever telling you where you go to find wp-config.php.

    This is the kind of thing that drives me nuts. Step by step, A to Z, please, WordPress! If I'm such a novice that I need the detailed instructions, I'm going to have no idea on earth where to find the bloomin' wp-config.php file in order to download it!

    The problem is that the instructions are written by people who are so comfortable with the processes that they skip essentials without even being aware of it.

    I've been trying to make some headway on fixing the glitches on my blog all day and this is the kind of 'help' I run up against continually. It's a huge waste of time.

    Not grouching at you, mind you. Just grouchy at WordPress. People will say, well, it's free; get over it. But it's not free if you spend 12 consecutive hours on it and get nowhere. That's *expensive.* Please don't take offense at the ranting that results.

    The suggestion for my most immediate problem, which is an error message that keeps my blog from getting RSS feeds from other blogs, here http://wordpress.org/support/topic/225382/page/2?replies=49 is to reinstall wp-admin. So, since I have no idea how to do that, I'm going to try to go to 2.7.1, since that should be a fairly automated process. I'm expecting some sort of disaster from it, though. I did back up my database, following instructions that didn't really jive because they weren't for 2.7. - and that was the official set of instructions from WP! Go figure...

    Just look at that thread - a bunch of people all having the same problem, a half-dozen different possible fixes, most of which seem to work for some people (though they have no idea why) but don't work for others. Simple? Aaaarrrrrgggggh.

  7. L S
    Posted 7 years ago #

    Well, no disaster. But am still getting the error message. So the bug wasn't fixed in 2.7.1.

  8. L S
    Posted 7 years ago #

    Here's another example of what I'm talking about - the people who write the documentation assuming way too much of the user - from the Plug-ins section of my dashboard:

    "To manually install a plugin you generally just need to upload the plugin file into your /home/-------/public_html/weblog/wp-content/plugins directory.

    "Once a plugin has been installed, you may activate it here."

    Oookaaaaaayyy. I know where "here" is, cuz I'm at it. But where the heck is this /home/-------/public_html/weblog/wp-content/plugins directory?

    On my webhost's server, I assume. But that's not enough to help me find it, since as a novice I don't know what precedes /home/.

    People who do the documentation should assume their reader understands the language they're writing in. That's the only assumption that should ever be made.

  9. Acadien
    Posted 7 years ago #

    I agree with L S!
    I'm at the point of being sorry I got started with it and now, I too have so much time invested in it that I do not know what to do!

    First a bit about me, I have limited internet kills, I did a bit of html 8-10 years ago but have been out of the loop for many years. I had parked domains not doing anything for a long time, and when I decided to reactivate some of them, I liked what I seen being done with WP.
    When I first checked out WP it seemed like a great platform. "I have it on one of my domains, but still just playing around with it."
    I checked out some WP WEBSITE and they look great! I see many things that I would like to incorporate into my site but I am struggling with getting the look that I want....
    I can set up blogs, links pages etc. plugins are fairly easy to set up but I cannot get my site to look like, elegant or professional!

    After reading for a few days on it I am at the point of giving up, although I like what others are doing with it.
    I am at the point of paying someone just to set it up for me. "I know what I want but I do not know how to accomplish it.
    You know why write all of this......... Is there any "geek" or expert on WP that would be interested in setting up a nonprofit website? At a very decent price! What would it cost me?

    Important Note: The domain that this is to be set up on is a FAIRLY high profile domain "TLD". Non profit domain to help people, and if designed properly it could get GREAT exposure and help many in need....
    "with respect ,due to the domain name itself I will not post it here at this time"

    If you are a person with GREAT WP skills, have a good heart, and can give me a great setup or site tweaking price, please reply with what you can do for me.


  10. Chris_K
    Posted 7 years ago #

    WordPress certainly isn't the perfect solution for every person. Fortunately, there are many other platforms out there as well. Granted, we (here) tend to think this one is the best ;-)

    @Acadien - You might consider trying the WordPress Jobs or the WP-Pro's mailing list.

  11. figaro
    Posted 7 years ago #

    I don't anticipate *ever* having 6 months to do nothing but figure out the weird glitch in latest release It's frustrating to have to put up with serious functionality issues because this code is out there full of bugs and incompatibilities, and it's WAY too fractured: go here and fix this piece of code, then go somewhere else entirely and rename that file. Then download something from somewhere, tweak it, and upload it somewhere else. Egads!


    http://wordpress.com may be a better fit for you.

  12. L S
    Posted 7 years ago #

    Figaro -

    What, you don't like hyperbole? ;-)

    Actually, I didn't think I was exaggerating. This is what you certified geeks, bless you, need to grasp: What I wrote is exactly how this all feels to the teeming masses of geek wanna-bes.

    Nobody's really answered any of my questions. Telling me I oughtta go to WordPress.com isn't actually an answer. The fact is, WordPress, as marvelous as I'm sure it really is, and as proprietary and protective as y'all feel about it - now that YOU understand it - could be designed and documented better. I wish I understood it, because if I did, I'd write documentation that anyone else, even a novice, could understand.

    Somebody has censored my response to Darran....??? Not fair, guys. I'm not exaggerating when I say I had to stay up until 4 a.m. doing the work that I was supposed to be doing during much of the time I spent yesterday trying to figure out WP stuff. The cost of the complexity is real, and has real world consequences.

    Anyway, the good news is that I'm having some success getting RSS feeds to work. Not all of them, mind you, but a few. It's something. And now I'm off to the other forums to see if there's a way to change the order of widgets in the sidebar without removing ALL of them and then putting them ALL back in the exact order <:-0 - seems so obvious that there should be a way to assign a sequence to widgets, but I sure can't find it anywhere in the dashboard except for in Pages, which doesn't help with the rest of the sidebar contents... Egads, again...

  13. brainycat
    Posted 7 years ago #

    Oookaaaaaayyy. I know where "here" is, cuz I'm at it. But where the heck is this /home/-------/public_html/weblog/wp-content/plugins directory?

    There's a certain amount of profficiency required to operate any complex system. Configuring a webapp via a GUI is not the same as administering a site, much the same as driving a 4 door sedan to and from work is not the same as driving an 18 wheeler back and forth across the country. Just because the latter seems like it should be just more of the former, the reality is that it's a definite "phase change" that requires a whole new set of skills.

    This is what people are trying to say when they recommend a managed solution for you. If you don't understand how to use the filesystem on your host, perhaps you should invest some of your valuable time with a "beginners guide to linux" book. I don't think it's fair to blame an application for being too complicated when you don't understand the platform it's running on.

    I'm going to agree with you that WP suffers from much of the same overselling as several other bigname opensource packages. For someone with experience in these things, WP and several other popular suites are ridiculously easy to install and administer, and the community around it markets it as ridiculously easy, and then people without as much experience (such as yourself) feel frustrated.

  14. Clayton James
    Posted 7 years ago #

    I swear on the head of my beloved Mother, I am not trying to be a smart-ass, or condescending with what I am about to post a link to.


    This is an honest to goodness guide that I have seen referenced often, and have in fact had in my own hand in the Borders book store. Please, please, PLEASE, don't blast back at me with misplaced notions about my attempting to insult anyone's ambition or intelligence by offering it as an alternative guide to learning about WordPress in GENERAL. I have no idea when the last issue was published. It is simply another very inexpensive learning resource available from the "For Dummies" series of publications ( and has a Forward by Matt Mullenweg ). I just thought I would toss it out there as an idea.


  15. Mr E
    Posted 7 years ago #


    Being a geek is about problem solving, learning how to find answers is more importiant than learning the answers. Let me describe in basics:

    Oookaaaaaayyy. I know where "here" is, cuz I'm at it. But where the heck is this /home/-------/public_html/weblog/wp-content/plugins directory?

    I happen to know the answer to this one pretty well and can break it down some, as well as give hints on where to find answers.

    /home/ - Is the root, or base location of a webserver space.

    ------- - can also be ~~~~~~ or alike, its a way of saying 'insert your specific info here' as what comes between the public_html directory on a server can be a few things depending on your server or host.

    /public_html/ - is the end all be all place of your websites space. I know I said before that /home/ was root, but it is the base location, or root, of your account. This location, /public_html/ is the base or root of the webpage area. There is a webpage root seperate from an account root because for many days into history there were email, ftp and other roots on each account space.. To be honest, everything I've said may not even be visable if your hosting company is keeping up with the times, often now they are all bundeled into one root. Having said that, lets move on :)

    weblog/wp-content/plugins directory? - is the folder location on your website. If you use an FTP client to log into your site, you can click through these folders to find the file or space needed to make the modifications desired.

    Now.. As for the part of 'learning how to find answers' - Here is a short list of questions that can be asked which may help. Ask yourself these when you have a problem.

    1) What am I supposed to do? (what is my specific task)
    2) How can I accomplish this? (lean on any provided info of how-to)
    3) What will I need to perform this? (software / tools)
    4) Before I start, can I find where others have done this and documented it? (God bless Google, amen)
    - Make the action based on answers above.
    5) How did the result come out?
    6) Can I document my actions?
    - Make documentation if possible, even just for personal notes.

    This pattern of thinking about tech problems can often help guide you through a situation with a little ease. With items 1 through 4, the answers are often found on Google searches in my experince. I would have taken the question I responded to and first googled "what is /home/" and read a few things about it. From there, bit by bit, answers can be formed and solid knowledge is gained without having to read a whole book on webservers to get the basics of what, in this topic, was a filepath question. Once I found all I could, I would have looked for more answers on places like these forums or yahoo answers. Laugh perhaps, but !Y answers is actually nice for a quick response as there are oodles of people on it.

  16. Mr E
    Posted 7 years ago #

    brainycat, I'd like to comment on:

    I'm going to agree with you that WP suffers from much of the same overselling as several other bigname opensource packages.

    I fully, totally agree but would like to point out to anyone reading this that while there is this complex curve, the gain is more control.

    In that, the balance as I know it is:

    Control and ability to manipulate -- vs -- Simplicity and ease of use.
    - Which is the same as:
    I can do much, much more -- vs -- It is limited but easy.


  17. brainycat
    Posted 7 years ago #

    ebiladdress: absolutely agreed. I think the problems arise when it's not made abundantly clear how much work is involved to make a particular type of feature work.

    To paraphrase the old adage: "Easy, configurable, or extensible: pick any two"

  18. t31os
    Posted 7 years ago #

    Can't please everyone, there's always going to be a group of people not satisfied...

    I personally don't think WP could be much easier or more idiot-proof than it is already.

    I picked up WP 2 months (give or take) ago, and i've encountered little problems in that time. Since i can only speak from experience then i'd have to say it's straight-forward and easier to learn then any other CMS (closest thing) i've used previously..

    I like the flexibility it has, i love the built-in functions, the only thing that frustrates me is the bloated admin section.

    WP is easy, WP is configurable, and it's extensible.... so why pick 2... you can apply all 3 to WP in my mind..

  19. still giving
    Posted 7 years ago #

    Don't worry my friend ... that pain you are feeling is just new neural pathways being created in your brain which is being forced to think.

    I appreciate its probably a new experience but, trust me, it is good for you.

    What concerns me though is that instead of 'crying for momma' you have thought of doing the adult thing and just offering to pay someone to do what you cannot do.

    If you had any idea the real world financial value of your "free" wordpress application, nevermind what it would have been a few years ago, perhaps you would be a little more humble.

    If you want real pain, I can recommend any number of other ugly blog or CMS packages ... WordPress remains head above all others as flexible, easy to use, elegant and attractive. If WordPress was a woman, she would be headlining in her own action movies and been married off to a millionaire a long time before I found her.

    To be honest, the type of responses or questions you are asking quite honesty betray a significant lack of basic understanding. I am guessing your are self-taught? You might not know it but you have been seduced by how easy it actually is into believing you are more able than you are.

    I would agree with the others, unless you can accept the pain of learning, you would be better off with a managed package where you can forget the tech and just do your lobbying, something like http://www.ning.com to which you can add your own domain name. Or you can pick up paid tech help from $10 an hour upwards ...

    Its not worth your hours, just make a good business decision and get your dollars out of your pocket. Pay someone to do the grunt work.

  20. Mr E
    Posted 7 years ago #

    I find all my answers on Google searches, its not instant and sometimes it just doesn't work, but the reason its worth it is because of the ability to not have to compromise on simply if the site does what is needed.

    The gain from a diverse package such as WP is immeasurable;
    - more 'bending' brings more dev's, resulting in more (and better) plugins & widgets.
    - deeper change control accessibility gives larger, more _website engine involvement, resulting in far more powerful tools as they are now more accessible to sub-surface levels of the site.
    - larger community in general, resulting in many more posters and experinced people to help support the community.

    A number of years ago I started with PHP Nuke. It was a nice place to start but it was setup .. backwards from WP. Everything was static and you could edit the static areas, but the theme said where everything was and that was final.

    Then I went to Drupal for a few years. That was nice but it was smaller in community, so where it made up for control and administration, there were few themes and plugins/widgets. This made it unattractive.

    I really think that, even if its harder, WP is far more stable across the board. Easy stuff comes and goes but this thing is inching closer towards cms and soon will be the major name for being so dual platform.

    Guh, enough of me ranting. :p

  21. lkww
    Posted 7 years ago #

    Here's an example:
    For a particular problem, in the troubleshooting section it says:
    Download wp-config.php (if you don't have shell access).
    - without ever telling you where you go to find wp-config.php.

    YES! and WP assumes that everyone knows what this stuff even means. Which I don't!

    I was reading this in the help section and was like "what is a shell access"?

    This help info/directions need rewrote for a 5 yr old to understand - that way we ALL could understand it.

    I too am ?ing the vale of learning this.

    I could have had a new website open and running in frontpage by now :(

  22. Mr E
    Posted 7 years ago #

    Shell access normally just refers to God level / Admin level access. More over it is speaking of the hosting account.

    [signature moderated Please read the Forum Rules]

  23. lkww
    Posted 7 years ago #

    It's 3:26 AM - does anyone know where my brain cells are? I have been studying this all now for about 6 hrs......

  24. mores
    Posted 7 years ago #

    My suggestion: use another CMS if this one is too complicated for you.
    Good luck with that.
    I'm not a good programmer, I'm more of a programming designer. And even if some things seem ass-backwards with WP, it's usually a good thing to do it that way instead of writing individual SQL queries since it'll be future-proof.

    As to your problem of the wp-config ... you do know that there is a wp-config-sample.php in your package.
    Open it up with notepad.
    Look at the stuff it says you need to set.
    Open the email you got from your host with all the passwords, links, configuration interfaces etc.
    Type in all the necessary stuff
    save as wp-config.php
    upload to server

    If you're stuck on the "open up" or "upload to server", you really are in the wrong place and you should either get a site hosted on wordpress.com or pay a geek to set it up for you.

  25. whooami
    Posted 7 years ago #

    I wish I understood it, because if I did, I'd write documentation that anyone else, even a novice, could understand.

    I really doubt that, because you would either be re-wording things that already have terms -- ie, calling a shell "that thing you do when you make a wierd connection to another server", which would be completely indistinguishable from other wierd connections to servers, like FTP connections, OR, you you wouldnt be writing accurately.

    I love this right here:

    I don't think it's fair to blame an application for being too complicated when you don't understand the platform it's running on.

    and just because no-one else bothered:

    On my webhost's server, I assume. But that's not enough to help me find it, since as a novice I don't know what precedes /home/.

    why do you need to know what preceded home? you dont, and you wont. you dont have access to those directories as a plain old user on a shared host.

    nor would it help, and Im curious, why you assume, seeing that youve stressed not knowing anything, that having that info, would help.

    it reminds me of the people that want to pay someone for a "quick wordpress fix" that they know will only take 15 mins.

    if they know, why cant they come up with the fix themselves.

    Here's an example:
    For a particular problem, in the troubleshooting section it says:
    Download wp-config.php (if you don't have shell access).
    - without ever telling you where you go to find wp-config.php.

    this is a very bad example for you to pick. why? because the example you chose, presupposes that people are actually looking at what they download. if you cant get that far ..

    I mean the following in a general sense:

    Im all for a thinning of the herd. if you cannot or will not learn -- then pay someone else, or move along.


    LS, you are member 2,527,828 of this forum.

    there are 242,836 topics on this forum. (right this second)

    wordpress has been downloaded 4,663,487 times.

    that's a fairly impressive ratio of downloads to support topics, if you ask me.


  26. Shell access normally just refers to God level / Admin level access. More over it is speaking of the hosting account.

    Uh ... No.

    Shell access on a Unix-type server is access to a command prompt on the server itself. If you're familiar with DOS, it's the same thing, only for Unix :)

    Now, on a dedicated server, you MIGHT have root access or admin access, but on most ISPs, you have user access and full control over your own folders, but that's it.

    Also, if you Google 'Shell Access' the very first link is helpfull.

  27. asechrest
    Posted 7 years ago #

    @ L S

    I really think your expectations are based on a false premise - that the software can or should be designed with the absolute beginner in mind. Unfortunately, setting up a self-hosted WordPress blog requires a certain level of knowledge at the outset, and to attempt to design the software and documentation for all skill levels below that would be inefficient and unsuccessful.

    You would not expect for the owner's manual of a Cessna to teach you how to fly, just as you should not expect the WordPress documentation to guide you through simple navigation of your server file system.

    Certainly the WordPress docs could outline what comes before /home/ in your server directory filestructure. But then we're on a slippery slope. Should the docs drill down even further and explain what a filesystem is? Should they be suitable for someone who can barely open up a browser and navigate to WordPress.org? Or someone who doesn't even know what a server is? I would suggest that the answer is probably no.

    Basic setup of a WordPress.org blog presupposes you have a certain level of skill. If you're not at this level, you can certainly work up to it, but I don't think it should be -- or can be -- the responsibility of the WordPress documentation to bring poeple of all skill levels below that up to speed.

    So if you're willing, keep at it and understand that for a self-hosted blogging solution, WordPress really is "easy," compared to other solutions on the market. If you can't or don't want to put in the time, as others have mentioned, Blogger or WordPress.com are better solutions for you.

  28. expatria
    Posted 7 years ago #

    Being an anti-geek and having moved from Blogger (when it went Beta and offered 3 week support response), to WordPress.com to WordPress.org when I decided to set up my own domain, I have found the use of both WordPress.com and .org to be very intuitive.

    LS, it sounds to me as though you want breakfast in bed. Don't blame the software because it doesn't bring you breakfast in bed.

  29. L S
    Posted 7 years ago #

    Anybody who thinks I wanted breakfast in bed didn't read my posts.

    Anybody who thinks I don't want to learn or am not willing to invest some sweat didn't read my posts. I believe I did mention how many hours I'd spent, yes, searching Google, yes, searching the forums. I'm usually able to solve my tech problems this way. WP proved the exception, which says more about WP than it does about me.

    To those who recommend a managed hosting solution, some of you meant well, but you didn't really get the sense of what I've been saying. It should be obvious that I want to do this myself, that I want to learn and have put a good deal of effort into it.

    I just want instructions that are clear, logical, start at the beginning and skip no steps. Why do I want this? Because I don't want to waste time learning nothing when with proper guidelines, in the same amount of time, I could be getting somewhere.

    For the fellow who decided he knew enough to pronounce that I *wouldn't* in fact write better documentation myself, well, I do it all the time - not for WP, obviously, but when people come to me for a step-by-step to solve their program problem, that's what they get. I know, because they're thrilled. I take the time to understand their problem, which I think your post reveals you didn't do before replying to mine.

    To those who were helpful and made thoughtful recommendations or took the time to explain something as clearly as they could, I thank you. I'll be studying your posts. People like you make the world go round. To those who just can't be bothered and enjoyed a chance to get off on their technical superiority...

  30. Matt
    Posted 7 years ago #

    My $.02? Glad you asked.

    WP is subject to the laws of reality just like anything else. The easier things are, the less powerful they are. You want power? Enter [some degree of] complexity.

    It's just the way things are. Usually we see "Cost" in the mix making three variables and you get to choose two, but since WP is free we'll toss it.

    What? You want BOTH POWER and SIMPLICITY? Solution -> hire someone.

    (Please don't take that the wrong way, it's not meant to be snobby.)

    Then you have power -- WP set up exactly how you want it -- and simplicity -- you sit down with a dev and point to this n that on the screen telling him/her what you want.

    Can't pay someone? That there is no answer for. I want a helicopter and a pony, but likely I'll only get one.

    As for WP support, that's a different kettle of fish, one that I've complained about. Search my profile posts. I rate it a solid "meh". It's not bad, but it's not great. Could be better.

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