Dear WordPress.com: Stop messing with our Themes!!!!

Brace yourselves, dear reader.

After the advertisement debacle (see Adverts on my blog and Update on adverts), I am just about ready to have a volcanic eruption.

It seems that WordPress has suddenly and unilaterally implemented a completely idiotic feature on the very popular Twenty Ten and Twenty Eleven themes called ‘infinite scroll’.

In the words of WordPress staff member matiasventura:

“In the quest to make visitors engage with your content as effortlessly as possible we are rolling out a new feature to your blog home pages—infinite scrolling! Instead of having to scroll and click through older-pages links we are now pulling new content automatically whenever a visitor approaches the bottom of a blog.

Best thing, it should be entirely transparent to you or your readers. The feature is enabled for blogs with the Twenty Ten or Twenty Eleven themes.

We take care of the smaller details, such as removing the older/next links, integrating with your design as smoothly as possible. Having said that, please let us know what you think by posting any feedback you may have. Thanks.” (Infinity scroll)

Essentially, it means that readers of my front page can now scroll down … and down … and down … and down …. and down …. all the way through my posts, presumably to the very beginning, though my patience wore out long before then.

I don’t see the advantage in this at all. I deliberately chose this theme because it gave me the option of footer widgets, and because I like to limit the number of posts on my front page. This must be simply awful on a slow computer connection, and on photo-intensive posts.

Quite frankly, I am thinking of some very choice words that I definitely shouldn’t put in writing!!!

According to the forums (here and here), there has been a barrage of unfavourable responses to this ‘new feature’, pleading for an ‘opt-out’ or ‘disable’ option. I am loudly and vigorously adding my voice to the protest!

Now where’s my bottle of Rescue Remedy….?

47 thoughts on “Dear WordPress.com: Stop messing with our Themes!!!!

    • Luckily, they have not implemented on any other themes – YET. Who knows what they’re planning to do! I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do about this, but if they aren’t going to give us the option of disabling this annoying feature, and I switch to another theme, there’s no guarantee they won’t start messing that one up too!

      I guess I need to start looking for another blog service? But do I really want to go back to Google’s Blogger? Hm…

      Any recommendations, anyone?

      • Sadly I have no recommendations as I’m also looking for an alternative. The trouble is, while they are bloody annoying, WordPress is one of the best in other areas and they know it. I couldn’t use Blogger, have tried it and hated it each time (though I do still have a blog there, I never use it. It had a few posts but I ended up deleting them. The comment system there drives me crazy).

        The only thing I can suggest is to switch to another theme but back up all your posts (you can do that via ‘Export’ on your Dashboard, under ‘Tools’) and also copy and paste in notepad or something similar the contents of whatever you have in widgets in case WP do the same to that theme.

        The other thing is to protest loudly in the forum’s main post about it (the original one is probably best) and encourage other wordpress bloggers to do the same. They don’t often change their minds once they’ve done something, but occasionally our protests do work.

      • You’re right, Val. Unfortunately, I just saw that the comments have been CLOSED on the main thread.

        Matt added the following comment in closing the thread:
        “matt
        CBBQTT
        Feb 10, 2012, 8:29 PM

        Howdy guys, thanks for the feedback.

        The initial usage stats from infinite scroll look really good — people are reading more posts which means they’re spending more time on your site. As you might guess, people are way more likely to just scroll down than they were to click the “next page” button — it’s faster and better. It’s the future of all web pages with more than one page of content.

        We’re still working out some bugs, and as some of you noted your footer widgets are temporarily inaccessible, and figuring out the best way to deal with that and other edge cases.

        A few people have asked if “everyone” is against this why we’re just not turning it off. Well, there’s a thread like this which seems overly negative for pretty much everything we launch. People don’t come to the forums to say they like something they usually come when they have a problem. That’s why we ask for feedback on the forums, to find the problems, not to gauge popularity. For that we’ve learned to look at stats, what people do versus what they say. This is better because it allows us to get feedback from millions of people in addition to the few thousand who frequent the forums. Both voices are important.

        Thanks for your patience, and as we fix these issues up we’ll continue rolling out infinite scrolling to the rest of the themes that work with it. Also thank you to the people on the thread who provided calm, rational feedback without attacks or hyperbole. The team is always here for you.”

        When I read – “It’s the future of all web pages with more than one page of content” and “we’ll continue rolling out infinite scrolling to the rest of the themes that work with it”, my heart just sank.

    • Hi Rosie

      You know what, there’s no guarantee they won’t start implementing this across the board. Some knuckle-head is obviously thinking this is a brilliant idea. It’s infuriating that they didn’t even give us advance warning, or mention it in their usual News Blog, or give us the option of disabling the feature. It’s underhand and sneaky, and they did this deliberately, and THAT’s what makes me so angry.

      I’m most upset about the fact that I now have to spend time finding a replacement theme with similar features, and that all the time I spent creating header images of the right dimensions has been wasted, because many of the themes have different header image dimensions. ARGH! Deeeeeeep breath… now where did I leave my bottle of rescue remedy again?

      • Thank you, Nina. I note with MUCH alarm that Matt has closed the forum thread with the ominous words “we’ll continue rolling out infinite scrolling to the rest of the themes that work with it”.

        Oh man… are they trying to get us to leave WordPress?

      • I got a reply from a WordPress support person:

        “macmanx wrote: We’re looking into both right now (footer widgets and a possible toggle setting). For now, you might want to use sidebar widgets instead.”

        Highly irritating. I am thinking of moving….. any suggestions?

      • Hello Nina – well, I really like the Twenty Ten theme I am using at the moment. I’m also reluctant to change themes, as that will mean putting in a lot of work to restore various settings and widgets, because WordPress isn’t telling us upfront which themes are NOT going to have this annoying infinite scroll feature.

        Or were you thinking of moving away from WordPress.com entirely? I’m still keeping that open as an option, though I don’t know yet who would offer an equivalent (or better) service. I mean, there’s Blogger.com, Blog.com, Weebly.com … but even a cursory Google search for problems with other blogging platforms shows that all have their issues – or costs involved.

        Is it a case of ‘better the devil you know’? Hm… The jury’s still out on that…

    • Thanks, Reggie. I had to let it our because what they did wasn’t exactly cool with me.

      I’m currently in the process of checking things out over at blog.com whose interface/Dashboard is very similar to WordPress. Much of the same things are used there as well so it’s tempting. Unfortunately, my domain mapping was just renewed so if I leave WP, it won’t be for almost another year so I can start mapping over at the new host.

      Best of luck to us all. I’m sure we’ll need it.

      • Hello Dave, and thank you for pointing me towards blog.com, which I hadn’t checked out before. This situation must be even more frustrating for bloggers like you who have paid for CSS upgrades, customisation, domain mapping, etc.

  1. I fully agree with you, Reggie. I left a 13-point comment on the main discussion thread urging WP to reconsider. I won’t repeat it here. I have no problem acknowledging that mistakes happen and that, on the whole, WP does a great job. But the key is what people do to admit and rectify their mistakes. In the case of infinite scrolling, the jury is still out …

    John

    • Hello John – thank you for your comment; I had actually seen your eloquent 13-point comment on the discussion thread. Personally, I think this change is APPALLING! It is absolutely a HUGE mistake, and I cannot understand why they snuck this in behind our backs.

      • Hi Reggie, I take it you have seen the response and subsequent closing of the discussion. Less than ideal, I have to say. Let’s see what they do about the footer issue. I don’t know how they can keep them and infinite scrolling at the same time. The two seem pretty much incompatible.

  2. Thank you – again, Reggie! You are our brave warrior on the WP-scene 😉
    I’m glad I do not have this feature on my theme.
    I have been thinking about trying a new theme several times recently. But now I’ll drop it. I won’t risk having this “improvement”!

    • Hello Truels – as you can see from the other comments, it looks like WordPress is actually “rolling out infinite scrolling to the rest of the themes that work with it”. AAAAAARRRRRGHHHHH!!!!

  3. If “It’s the future of all web pages with more than one page of content” maybe the solution is to choose a theme with only one page of content? For instance, photography themes like ‘Duotone’ or ‘Monotone’ (though of course, there’s no guarantee that they won’t just delete those. Some while back, and I forget which theme it was, but they deleted a theme without telling anyone and there was uproar about that too as those people also lost all their settings.)

    The trouble is, Reggie – it’s not just WordPress and Matt’s probably right in that this is what all web pages are or will be doing. It’s not really the change as such that bothers me as the way WordPress do it, without letting any of us know first. They just do it as a fait accomplis. And in my book, that sucks.

  4. Thanks for those links, Reggie. I’d already read the first one, and have now bookmarked the second to look at later. My main problem with Weebly is that there aren’t many themes, but I think I could cope with most of its other problems.

    There won’t be a website on the internet that doesn’t have problems, that’s the price we bloggers pay, I’m afraid.

    At this stage I think we’ve (both and all of us) got to look at why we blog, why we need to blog and decide what’s most important. For me, my main reason is that I need somewhere to show and talk about my artwork – not particularly for any ego-massaging but because I’m trying to interest people in buying my work (though if they don’t, that’s fine too). So I don’t really want to be on a site on which my readers or viewers of my blog are suddenly going to find stuff messed up. Also – if my footers go, the copyright notice will go too. I could put it in the header, but I’d rather not, and I had decided against a theme with a side panel.

    How about you? Is your blog mostly to share your experiences and pictures or sell your book or another reason? You’ve really got to look at what you need to use it for and then investigate the alternatives. You may decide that WordPress is the best option even with all its problems.

    • I know, those are very valid questions. I guess that the aim of my blog is primarily to share my experiences and pictures, rather than to sell my book. So it doesn’t make economic sense for me to self-host and to pay money every month/year for a domain name plus hosting plus back-up plus customisations, even if I had the skills set and the moolah to do that.

  5. By the way, in the list of things you can and can’t do on Weebly, those are nearly all clickable links to further info about each of the issues. Most aren’t issues at all, they’re just weebly’s way of telling people what’s available. There is quite a lot one can do on that site. It’s different from WordPress, though. Each web and bloghost site is different. I came to WordPress.com from LiveJournal and had quite a shock when I got here, with how different it is!

    By the way, there’s a tutorial here about how to create a blog on Weebly:
    http://www.glacierboats.com/the-bread-challenge/weebly_blog_tutorial.shtml

    If I use it, I’d rather have a blog there than a website, or maybe have both. But I’d pay the small months amount, I think, to get more space and upload size for images.

    • I haven’t tried LiveJournal – nor Weebly – so I cannot compare them with WordPress. I came here from Blogger, which I left because I did not like the limited number of themes and options available at the time. Also, commenting was a pain, and there was no sense of community, as there clearly seems to be with WordPress.

  6. Blog.com is definitely an option and I have already exported my files over. But I’m seeing a lot of inconveniences such as no [shortcodes] and no Mobile view just to name a few. On the plus, they offer a TON of publicizing options per post including a Facebook Like button. This is what I have so far: http://holographicmeatloaf.blog.com

    Although I’ve only paid for domain mapping, it is still frustrating to have changes made without consent. I feel robbed.

  7. I’m really not a fan of this infinite scrolling stuff for a multitude of reasons. For starters, my computer can get really slow at times, and this will bog it down even more. My team, including I, use images and videos as our headers for every article we do. Every. Article. We’re a videogame blog after all, so we need something visual to hook readers in. So I needed those older articles to be nested behind more pages so that things would load smoothly.

    My footer mainly regurgitated info that was at the top, The only thing I moved down there was the subscribe button. Either way, having a footer made the blog feel more… complete.

    And finally, I do the graphic design work for the blog. Before I changed the background to the non-gradient one you would see now, I made a long, looooong picture that, when someone scrolled down, the blue color would become darker. I’ve since changed it. But in hindsight if I kept it, people would see it actually end and start over, making it look very amateurish. My neat little “trick” would’ve been ruined.

    I’m not too concerned that this “feature” was rolled out without warning. But they could’ve AT LEAST given us the option to turn the feature off.

    • Hi Steven

      I had a look at your blog, and I see what you mean about having images and videos for every article. (It looks VERY professional and well laid out, incidentally. Very smart-looking!)

      I also like to include a lot of photos, and I only fairly recently discovered the ‘more’ function to break the article into an introduction and the main body. So I’ve also noticed that my blog takes a long time to load now.

      I’ve now started putting in a ‘more’ break in the hope that it will speed it up EVENTUALLY, but I have over 800 posts, so that’s a LOT of time to spend fixing a problem that should not have arisen in the first place.

      Frankly, I’d prefer to be writing new articles, rather than fixing up old ones!

  8. I thought it was me that had done something wrong yet again (click and see what happens). And, I agree, it’s hugely annoying, especially if you have the Meta functions at the bottom of your page…you NEVER get to them to log in. A little Googling and alas I saw this post and now think I’ve figured out what to do – by way of Settings and Reading.

  9. Hi Reggie,

    I’ve just recently been introduced to this Endless Scrolling issue – I have been offline for almost a year, and of course using Coraline, I was hit with it the same way all of you have been.

    It affects my blog differently, because I could see the footer widgets you originally could not. They have only come up with a limited work around, not simply an on/off switch, as the “solution” does not address the issue of a defined page length. My problem with this is that I have Page Tabs on the Header, several Sidebar widgets, none of which are accessible with the “best case” answer of having the “Load More Posts” button. The Header and Sidebar were taken into consideration when deciding how many posts to display on the page. And after about 10 posts, none of that functionality is available to be used. Very frustrating.

    I actually want my blog to have the “Previous Posts” and “Newer Posts” at the defined boundaries of the page. The aggravation for me is that I will apparently have to go to a self hosted arrangement in order to remove the influence.

    Matt’s comment –
    “As you might guess, people are way more likely to just scroll down than they were to
    click the “next page” button — it’s faster and better. It’s the future of all web pages with
    more than one page of content.”
    It may very well contain some insight to future trending – mobile users on iPads and Smart Phones, etc. find it easier to navigate. Wheeee! I’m Scrolling! But I do not look to the people using these devices as my primary target audience. That would be tantamount to writing books for people who don’t read, they’ll just wait for the movie… we can’t have all that demand placed on us to turn to the next page.

    If it’s too difficult to click to go to the next page, they are on the wrong blog and/or I am not doing my job in terms of capturing their interest.

    Brian

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