What I’ve Learned From The Word Press Wars

Originally entitled, “Converting the Heathen Among Us,” this post was going to overwhelm you with the advantages of WordPress.org over WordPress.com

I was quite certain you’d thank me.

But, as so often happens as I write, my thoughts evolved and I was myself converted. Here’s what happened.

 

I’ve long divided the world into camps, tribes if you will. I’ve done it somewhat tongue in cheek, but still, I’ve done it.

Another of my many “Two Different Types of People” — Which one are you? 

In my teens there were the motor boat people vs. the sailboat people. As a young career woman I realized that PC/DOS folks were different from MAC/Apple people.

When I first married, I discovered there was another way to hang TP — those who hang it so it drops off from below. Whoever heard of such nonsense? 

You get the idea.

There are the snow birds vs. the “I live to ski” folks; and dog people vs. cat people. And never the twain shall meet, except that they do.

I’ve floated among these various tribes over the years — except for the TP one; that one’s pretty solidly fixed.

The competing tribes get deadly as we go back in history.

Think CRUSADES at the beginning of the first millennia.  Then, there was that epic struggle for Catholic or Protestant dominance, following the Reformation in the early 1500s. Some think it was merely THE THIRTY YEARS WAR, but it actually lasted a few centuries.

We’ve come a long way, but at least we’re not killing each other so much.

I could stay on this path and talk about the rise in hate crimes and the tragic deaths that have resulted in our too recent past — an important post, which I’ll save for another time.

For now, I’m looking at how easily we latch onto a side, hang on to it as though our life depended upon it, and bombard the opposition with “facts.” And when we do, we can’t hear each other. 

 

 

Dichotomies surround us. I gave you a bunch of them ranging from the totally irrelevant through the tentatively entertaining to the terribly serious. I’m sure you could add a dozen more. 

They all have a few things in common and today I thought we’d pull apart what they are. 

We couch them in terms of right and wrong, good and evil, for better or worse. 

During the Crusades (As we in the West were taught), the Christians were the good guys. 

Who the good guys were during the Reformation, the Thirty Years War, the Civil War, or in any confrontation, depends on which side you are on. Isn’t that always the key? 

Everyone clings to the notion that their camp is right, factually (if not morally) superior, whatever you want to call it. Even Hitler believed he was doing right. (Fortunately, enough people disagreed with him. But I digress.)

 

I’m going to use the modern-day WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org debate as our politically safe example. Fellow bloggers will understand. 

It’s easy for WordPress.org to claim “bestness.” It is the blogging platform the blogging gurus recommend, the one that plays nice with many useful plugins, the one that allows me to stay in control of my content.

It’s simply the one (and only) way to blogging heaven, according to those in the .org camp. Me among them.

My first blogging guru recommended it and my initial web designer insisted upon WP.org when I threw up my hands and proclaimed I hadn’t a clue how to create a website! 

It’s not unlike (I said to myself) saying you’re Catholic/Protestant/Muslim/Jew/Agnostic/Hindi/Jain/ or Universalist Unitarian because your parents insisted on it. There’s a reason religions run in families. 

Seems to me we work backwards in these things. First, we discover we are standing in a particular camp. I’m standing in WP.org (thanks to my web designer girl friend). I’m standing in the Democratic Party (thanks to my mother). I’m standing in New England, USA (thanks to fate). None are perfect, but I’m pretty proud of each of these. 

And then I collect the facts to help me explain to others why my blogging platform, my political party, or my region and country are the best. 

We collect “facts” that support our position — something other than “my parents insisted.” 

The toilet paper is easier to grab when it falls from the top of the roll.  Besides, it looks nicer. 

Motor boats are noisy. PCs get hacked too easily. 

For those actually interested in comparing the two Word Press platforms, I recommend Abby Lawson’s creative post on just that. Her blog is called Just a girl and her blog.

We gather the facts that will make your conversion to MY WAY as smooth as sliding down a teflon coated playground slide. 

 

Thanks to pixabay.com for the image.

 

Not every blogger needs saving (except maybe those on Blogspot?). 

Perhaps they like the path they are on. Perhaps they are perfectly content in their WordPress.com world. Or Blogger, Weebly, or Tumblr, or Squarespace platform. Who am I to tell them otherwise? 

Perhaps they have no books to sell, no services to celebrate. Perhaps they have no plans to monetize their blog (blogger jargon for making money from your blog). 

Perhaps they don’t really need a website, they just need a place to blog from. 

Perhaps they don’t care about widgets or plugins or analytics or polling or SEO optimization. Or learning the jargon. 🙂 

And, (the hardest for me to embrace) …

Perhaps they are capable of figuring out how to create a blog site on their own. I do give those bloggers a lot of credit. 

We’re not talking immortal souls here, thank goodness, but it seems to me the thrust is not dissimilar. I get this notion that MY WAY is the RIGHT WAY — my politics, my country, my blogging platform — and look down on the other, the ignorant, the foreigner, the misguided, the heathen, or the innocently misinformed. 

It’s the belief that it’s my duty to either set them straight, make them see the light, or put them in their proper place. 

 

 

How easy that has been these past two years. 

What is it in me that feels so compelled? Why can’t we talk dispassionately when we disagree? 

I have a theory. Care to hear it?

I hope so. 

AND WE’LL DO THAT NEXT WEEK.

 In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the fun dichotomies you’ve identified.  Or anything else you care to comment on. 

 

NOTE: I’m changing my hosting service this week. Please bear with us if things go a bit wonky. I shall return.  

 

17 Responses

  1. Marian Beaman
    | Reply

    I once heard that “the mark of an educated person is the ability to see both sides of an issue without” bursting a blood vessel or hurting anyone else in the opposing tribe. I made up the ending, but you get the idea.

    My blog began as a wordpress.org and then migrated to a .com because I wanted to sell my book on my blog. Also, I didn’t want to contend with annoying ads that WordPress may choose to air on my platform.

    Best wishes as you change your hosting service. (Fingers crossed, Janet!)
    Marian Beaman recently posted…Fall in the Snow and a Miraculous RescueMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      A good quote for this post, Marian. I’d heard it more as the ability to hold two competing ideas at the same time. But I like your “without popping a blood vessel” ending. Much more visual. Must be the writer in you.

      You are now on WP.org. Welcome to the fold. Our web addresses read .com. I think that’s just to keep their brand simplified (for them). I was totally lost for the first few years I was blogging here. Now I’m only partially lost.

      I really wish they’d change their name for one of them.
      Janet Givens recently posted…What I’ve Learned From The Word Press WarsMy Profile

  2. Merril D. Smith
    | Reply

    I never ever realized there were different WordPress types or divisions until I heard you discuss it–so no WordPress wars in my world. Good luck with your new hosting service (I’m not even sure what that means). 🙂
    Merril D. Smith recently posted…Cold, Wars, and the Music of a DreamMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Merril. Your dotCOM blog sits on the WordPress server. So they control the content, the speed your site loads with, and a few other things (like maintenance, security). And you don’t have to think about it much, if at all.

      Mine (still WP, but from their dotORG, even though my URL says dotCOM) does not. I own the content and therefore must find my own server (since I choose to NOT put one in my basement). These hosts (fancy word for the folks who do put servers in their basements) are easy to find and vary in quality and cost. I’ve had a great one (TechSurgeons), but will now go to a lower cost host (Blue host) for a few years and see what happens.

      I needed a website when I first started, so I could talk about my book and a few other things (see the LEARN MORE page). So, I needed the greater flexibility that the .org folks offered.

      I’m still confused in a number of ways with the two WPs. But I’m trying to just ignore the confusion and press on. For one thing, those with WP.com sites can just follow me via WP, they don’t have to subscribe. So, I can’t capture their emails or mail them the extra things I mail to subscribers. Many I don’t even know about, as I discovered recently when I clicked on something I hadn’t noticed before. One can spend a lot of time wandering in the WP wilderness.

      Thanks for popping in.
      Janet Givens recently posted…What I’ve Learned From The Word Press WarsMy Profile

  3. Clive Pilcher
    | Reply

    Until now I wasn’t aware that I was in a war! I’m a hobby blogger, with no wish to monetise my blog, no books (or anything else) to sell, so a plain vanilla WordPress.com site suits me fine. I wouldn’t want to be bothered with plug ins or any other paraphernalia anyway, so I’m happy that I have a fairly presentable site with minimal effort. I think you’d have a hard time converting me to anything else. Horses for courses, I guess.
    Clive Pilcher recently posted…Icons And Lesser IconsMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Clive. You are the perfect example of what I came to understand in the course of this particular post. I’m glad you spoke up. There’s always another side to be heard. And of course, as always, the best way to end a war is to stop fighting. My question though, still, is how we get into these tug of wars where we want so badly to be proven right. My husband thinks it’s evolutionary. We’ll see next week.

      Cheers from across the pond.
      Janet Givens recently posted…What I’ve Learned From The Word Press WarsMy Profile

  4. Carol Taylor
    | Reply

    Is there a war? Plain vanilla like Clive I guess…Plugins and the like and all that goes with the territory …Not for me…Tried it and didn’t like it .com welcomed me back with open arms …If the war continues let me know and I will man the tea trolley 🙂

  5. Well, I have a Blogger blog – and I couldn’t be any happier with it if I tried. It has never gone down, it has never glitched, I can run ads and monetize when and where I like. It has cost me nothing (other than buying my url so I don’t have the .blogspot part in it). I have a lovely theme that cost me much less than a WP theme. I don’t have to pay someone to run my blog or troubleshoot – because it doesn’t have troubles. I don’t have to worry about Gutenberg updates either. I also own every single word I write and don’t have to pay anyone if I want to move it anywhere down the track.
    I often feel a little sorry for all the WP people who feel like they need to defend their choices and the money they pay out to be able to blog. Give me a lovely, free, untroublesome blog any day. I guess I’d be the bowl of chips that has some tasty spice sprinkled on it and no tomato sauce because that’s how I like it 🙂
    Leanne | http://www.crestingthehill.com.au recently posted…TIME TO BREATHE MORE AND RELAXMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      I’m so glad to have a Blogspot blogger weigh in. Thanks, Leanne. And I’m very glad you’re happy with it. Your blog is easy to read and maneuver around in. That’s not what I’ve usually found, but that’s more a design issue.

      I’m now chuckling because it took me awhile to figure out how to respond to your “chips …. with no tomato sauce.” CULTURE ALERT! We call them french fries with (or without) catsup. Which really are weird words, huh?

      I chose the WordPress debate mostly because I’ve been hearing lots of chatter about how one is far better than the other and it seemed folks had gotten a bit of lather up around it. I had myself early on; which piqued my curiosity. My main point in this post has been that lather. There are always opposing points of view and knowing how we get so invested in our position is, I think, an important piece of self-discovery.

      The Internet is filled with “my way is better” articles and gurus and links. It’s been good to get to hear from those who actually use these competing platforms. I thank you.
      Janet Givens recently posted…What I’ve Learned From The Word Press WarsMy Profile

  6. Terri Lyon
    | Reply

    Hi Janet,

    What is it about marriage that makes us debate silly things? For us, it is CVS vs. Walgreens. Also whether the top sheet is pulled to the top of the bed or folded over the comforter artfully. Fun post, thank you!
    Terri Lyon recently posted…What can white people do to support racial justice?My Profile

  7. Pamela
    | Reply

    I read all of your post and your readers’ comments and your replies, and I still don’t understand org and com and server and etc. My wordpress address is roughwigting.net. What about NET? Yikes, I’m even more confused. ;-0
    Pamela recently posted…What Do You Know?My Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      That’s a great question. So, I went searching. Here’s what I found from TechWalla.com (TLD stands for Top Level Domain)

      “In the original plans for the Internet, the .net TLD would designate sites dealing with network infrastructure. Through the mid-90s, this restriction was enforced, with .net addresses designated to “hold only the computer of network providers,” such as Internet service providers and Web hosts. Today, however, .net addresses have no such restriction, and while some network companies continue to use .net addresses, the TLD is also open to anyone as an alternative to .com.

      “These three TLDs, .com, .org and .net, are just a few of the hundreds of available top-level domains. Some TLDs have restrictions — such as .edu for universities and .jp for residents of Japan — but most are open to any registrant. Even many country-specific TLDs are open to people around the world, such as .be. This TLD was designed for use in Belgium, but is best known in the US as the extension for YouTube’s URL shortener, YouTu.be.”

      So, you have good reason to be confused. The extensions simply don’t mean what they used to mean. The www had become like our old wild west in many ways. Hang on tight.
      Janet Givens recently posted…We interrupt this blog post to bring you . . .My Profile

  8. vagabonde
    | Reply

    This sounds so very technical to me. It’s not the language, although English is my 3rd language as I am a native French speaker, just the contents. My daughter helped me create my blog – it was quick. The longest was finding the name of the blog. She placed it on blogspot and even with minimum knowledge about the internet I have been able to blog coming up on 10 years and placing all my photos with no problems. Of course I have the same heading and am afraid to change it without my eldest daughter’s help who is now living up north. I do not try to sell anything either, have nothing to sell. Yes I do – thousands of our second-hand books, but that is another story.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hello Vagabonde, and welcome. It sounds like you’ve found the right blogging combination for you. I envy anyone who has a family member they can rope in. And, I’m impressed that you are fluent in three languages (for you are definitely fluent in English; congrats. I speak it well ONLY because I grew up with it. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to learn. well, yes actually. I can.) The only other language I can speak fluently is piglatin (that’s a joke).

      This post is more about our compulsion to be right, to be in the “best” group or tribe, to know where we fit in. I’ll say more about that tomorrow in the follow up (Part II). I hope you’ll come back. Curiously, I used WordPress, because I thought it’d be less contentious than other choices. But we all do love our blogging platforms, it appears.
      Janet Givens recently posted…A Two for Tuesday Tag Prompt #1My Profile

  9. […] week, I ended What I’ve Learned From the WordPress Wars  with the question, “Why can’t we talk dispassionately when we […]

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