Man I Hate WordPress 2020-05-31
Lately I have been fighting with trying to find a way to help get people off social media sites like Facebork and Twatter. I spent a while trying various social media replacements like Pleroma, GNU Social, and Hubzilla... but they all have some serious failure. The worst part about those kinds of frameworks is that they don't talk to each other well at all. Each developer (or group of developers) has their own idea of what server to server interaction should be like, which means they are all slightly [or in some cases very] incompatible with each other. My idea had been that if [regular] people could easily post and OWN their content, share that content on existing social media sites, and interact with friends and family in a manner similar to their current interaction... then maybe they would. This could, over time, migrate people away from large monolithic wankerholes like Facebork which would be great. Unfortunately, the social media replacements or alternatives just didn't work together, meaning users of these systems are still pretty siloed within their own organizations.
So if users are going to be siloed, then why not just post their content to their own blog style web site and then link to that in their monolithic social media sites? Well, the yardstick most often used to measure blogging frameworks is obviously WordPress. According to the all-knowing Wankopedia WordPress has been around for about 17 years now, which is a lifetime and a half digitally speaking. It gained a lot of popularity by allowing the creation of plugins which could be used to manage, extend or configure a WordPress installation. Thousands of plugins. The problem is that while WordPress itself is pretty secure and stable, the plugins can be written by anyone with the desire and some free time. Now I am sure they all try hard, but some of their plugins are just plain old crappy and/or insecure. In fact, I don't even run WordPress here and still LOTS of the traffic I see in my logs is WordPress attacks. Seriously, a lot. That is why if I were to suggest a siloed content posting system for users who wish to get off the data mining treadmill, I don't want it to be WordPress.
Unfortunately, finding a better solution isn't easy. There are lots of CMS's out there, but nothing that can be used to pump out content as quickly and as easily as WordPress. I tried lots of them and [just like the social media alternatives] they all have some serious failure. The most common missing feature is the wysiwyg editor. Easy now, even though almost nobody will read this, somewhere some geek is losing their mind over how a wysiwyg editor is not necessary and that it is just bloated crap. Well, clearly this site isn't made with a wysiwyg editor... I know a fancy editor is not necessary for creating web content, but without a fancy editor the number of people who will use it to manage their own content is not much higher than zero. If the idea is to get people to stop using crappy services like Facebork and Twatter, then there has to be a critical mass of users willing to try leaving. A few nerds with markdown based static site generators are not going to get anyone interested in moving their data off of Zuckerwanker's site. Here's what the WordPress editor loks like:
Type in a heading, type in a few sentences, add a photo, click publish. My father could do that. Could he generate the same thing by manually sizing and uploading a photo somewhere, followed by using markdown to refer to it in some esoterically named file? No, not a chance. Why does it matter if he can? Because he is part of the critical mass keeping Facebork at its Cosby-esque level of popularity. Okay, well he's not actually allowed to have a Facebork account, but people just like him are all over it and won't migrate their content to anything that requires learning markdown, managing files individually, maintaining a directory structure, running python scripts, or well anything harder than Facebook. Sadly, I just haven't found a content management system other than WordPress that makes pushing out content that easy.
If you know of a content management system that fits these criteria:
- self hosted
- wysiwyg editor
- media manager/uploader
I would love to hear about it. Not requiring a database would be a "nice to have" but isn't necessarily a requirement. Oh wait, the nerds are going to whine about that too? Come on, some small self-hosted blog with photos of grandma on TLAP Day isn't going to be suffering performance issues because it is flat file instead of having a database backend. The resources required for a VPS that can run a database server are much higher than what is required to host a flat file site. Give grandma a break, she doesn't need to have a server capable of thousands of concurrent users. Seriously though, I would love to hear from anyone who can suggest a solution that isn't WordPress.