Write On or Off?

I’ve been thinking about WP pulling the plug on the Daily Post Prompt. They were going to do this a couple of years ago, as I recall, and the hue and cry that went up “inspired” them to change their minds. In response to our response, they kept the prompts but changed them from a full-on writing assignment to a single word. Of course, there was objection to this in the beginning (people are resistant to change) but the Daily Prompters settled down and went back to work writing and posting and commenting and the rest is history.

Word Press’ break up letter says (among other things),

Our mission has always been to inspire others to blog more and to blog better, even if “blogging better” means something quite different in 2018 than it did back in 2010. The editors and contributors who’ve tended to this site have all changed, grown, and evolved, and so have the members of this community. What has stayed consistent — almost miraculously so — is the spirit of openness, respect, and camaraderie of the people who’ve made this place a part of their online journey. Yes, that’s you.

From those of us on the WordPress.com team who’ve contributed to The Daily Post over the years, thank you for being the best blogging community on the web, bar none. It’s been a total joy.

If the “mission” of Word Press has been to “inspire others to blog more and blog better” removing a key component of the platform that succeeds in promoting this mission makes no sense. I also have no idea how “blogging better” is different today than it was in 2010. If I were the teacher, I’d mark this and say, “Explain and give evidence.”

Basically, what this says is, “It’s not you. You’re great. It’s me. I’m not good enough for you.”

As often happens with these vague break up letters, the stated message is in clear juxtaposition to reality. WordPress is not a public service designed to bring neophyte writers into the wonder that is writing. It’s a bidness.

WordPress makes money from more people writing blogs and seeking to improve whatever skills are involved in that. Last year they broke the billion dollar mark in earnings. The true mission of any for profit entity is profit.

Ask Ivanka Trump.

With the ending of the Daily Post/Prompt, WP’s stated mission of inspiring others to “blog more” rings hollow to me. Why should anyone write a blog? A person can get a notebook or a journal (or a laptop or a desktop) and write a few hundred words every day without a blogging site. So why write a blog instead of a journal?

So others can read what you’ve written.

It seems to me that — for people writing blogs — one of the two biggest advantages of Word Press posting a daily prompt is the grid that grows as people post and tag back to the Daily Post. That’s where many people find new blogs to read. The other advantage is that the Daily Post/Prompt is a place for new bloggers to start. Without the grid, it will be a lot more difficult to find blogs to read. Without the prompt, the person diving in, hoping to write a blog, will have to find his/her own starting point.

There are tens of thousands — possibly hundreds of thousands — of people who don’t read my blog(s), and I don’t read theirs. I’ve learned something more about this looking at comments on Ben Huberman’s Post. Many, many people are coming up with possible solutions to the vanishing Daily Post/Prompt. I’m kinda sorta behind this and kinda sorta not, but kinda/sorta is my world view right now.

In a sense, my blog and those I read regularly are writing letters to each other every day. We have become part of each other’s lives and that, I think, is what upsets many Daily Prompters/Posters most; that WordPress doesn’t seem to get it, that connections have been formed through the Daily Post/Prompt and these connections matter to people.

Anyway, I have no idea why WordPress would kill off a tiny corner of its big enterprise. I don’t  know what is meant by;

“The editors and contributors who’ve tended to this site have all changed, grown, and evolved, and so have the members of this community.”

What evolution? What “growth”? These are just words that mean, “I’m not the person you married. I’ve changed. I’ve grown as an individual,” meaning, “I don’t like you anymore.”

“What has stayed consistent — almost miraculously so — is the spirit of openness, respect, and camaraderie of the people who’ve made this place a part of their online journey. Yes, that’s you.”

And that, folks, means “I’m passively aggressively bludgeoning you with double-speak and positive language so you won’t get all rude and fussy about this,” like “Good little girls like you don’t sit with their legs spread.”

I have never been on an “online journey” with WordPress. I have used a utility I pay for.

Chances are very good that I will not even attempt to write something here every day after Wednesday. Maybe it’s a sign for me to put my shoulder to the wheel, let Hans Kaspar Schneebeli find his lost brothers and settle in the new world.


31 thoughts on “Write On or Off?

  1. I have never really used the daily prompt, although I quite like the posts I see as a result of it. The break up letter sounded a bit hollow to me as well.

  2. Well written, fine analysis–your professional credentials are showing! And as you mentioned, its the daily letter to/from my friends that I am sad to consider losing, in addition to the stimulus to write.

    • It’s just a dumb decision but I guess when one has evolved to such a rarified higher plane, there’s not much anyone can do about it, least of we unenlightened, unevolved mere mortals carrying on in our primitive epistolary fashion. 😉

  3. I don’t know what I’m going to do either. I have an enormous investment in this blog, but I’m tired and wounded and feeling stressed. Between one thing and another, I need to change something, but I’m not sure what. Yes, we got a “marketing letter.” It’s like getting fired. “The company is moving on, but you aren’t moving with it.” And it feels in some ways worse because we have done this in joy and not for the paycheck.

    I don’t know what I’m going to do either.

    • The thing is, we can still do it. The other thing is, we have all the work we’ve done (and enjoyed doing). The other thing is there’s a part of me that has never liked the people who seem to run WordPress. I still remember all the stupid 80s songs we were tasked to write to. I, personally, hate the Cranberries and some of those prompts permanently traumatized me 😉 . A lot of really great blogs have disappeared over the years — why? They weren’t getting what they needed from this blogging site so they “fired” WordPress. Considering that all they have to do is set up a random word generator to post a new word every day ad infinitum (my laptop does that) and they don’t want to do that, I say, fuck ’em.

      • Me too, but from an online perspective, I’ve had a genuinely traumatic week (more?)?? I feel like the ground got pulled out from under me in any number of ways. If I don’t write, then what do I do with myself? Writing IS what I do. In all my life, there has never been anything else that meant to me what writing does and that includes any other art form — including photography. I write because.

        I have a fundamental belief that this is not going to kill US off, but it is very likely to kill off WordPress, at least as a blogging platform. I think this is just the beginning of making sure that everyone pays a lot more if they want to keep using them … and I can’t afford it. I’m barely grabbing a breath of air each time the tide lifts me up.

        But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe.

  4. Well written, nothing to add and for me it is a wait and see game. WordPress have proved that the paying public is not important, but who is. Perhaps there is a bigger paying public. When Multiply collapsed, due to greed, one of my colleagues mentioned there are so many now running around like headless chickens trying to find somewhere to go. I do not want to become a headless chicken, and so I will wait and see. Honestly speaking I am getting tired with old age and like to feel comfortable on my computer programmes and not be worried that one day when I switch on I get a blank screen in WordPress. Save the grid is all I can say.

  5. I don’t know what to think about all of this, Martha. It is what I counted on each morning. That was the fun of it–to think of a photo that went with the DP and write some one-liner or caption and send it on its way. And then to see how others interpreted the word. There is so much talent out there! But what happens now when you cannot see the diversity that one word can inspire? Friday will be interesting, that’s for sure…

  6. I didn’t know about the word prompt or the photo challenge or any of the other things that WordPress offered when I started my blog less than a year ago. All I knew is that I had something to say and I was damn well going to say it. FB was not a place for conversation. In other words, my motives were purely selfish. The WP challenges changed that. There were many people, you among them, who inspired me. I wrote not just for myself, but for others too. I even hauled my arse off the couch and went and took photos of the Autumn leaves because I knew my blogger friend who lives in the tropics would appreciate that.

    I’m lucky because I started blogging in time to get this benefit. Sadly, others will not have that chance. WP’s objectives are a mystery to me. I think the community pool and the other Friday whatever it is called, may well take more resources to administer than the photo challenge or the daily prompt. If I had to monitor and respond to those comments, I think I may have been driven quite mad. People seemed to abuse those forums by using them for all sorts of unrelated purposes. I found the daily prompt a bit like that too, but not quite as bad. You definitely have to use your judgement about what to click on. I think that may put off some people. I guess there are always pros and cons.

    I will continue to plod along. There must be other interesting blogs out there, that don’t participate in any of the WP challenges. Like others, I’m just going to wait and see how it all goes.

  7. I hope some clever person comes up with a solution. When there is a void, usually someone steps into it. I’m disappointed in WP. I’ve never done the DP but I always thought that someday I would and I’ve really enjoyed seeing the different interpretations. Bummer really. Maybe all you DPers could take turns choosing a word or send out a month of words or create a game of posts tag with a word or….idk, just keep writing please.

    • There are a lot of people coming up with solutions. I just wrote the DP initially to promote my “brand” (ha ha) but it turned out to be fun. I think it was a stupid decision on WP’s part, but strangely, they didn’t consult with me first. 😉 But I’ll keep writing — how that will pan out I don’t know yet. Maybe once I’m really on my feet and can go on hikes I haven’t been able to, I’ll become a hiking blog.

Comments are closed.