WordPress Gutenberg: A great example of ableism
THE ABLE-BODIED PEOPLE ARE AT IT AGAIN! WordPress 5.0 was, according to its developers “years away”, probably—there was no set timeline, so I didn’t worry too much. I was wrong there; I should have worried more.
At a glance, I’ve found the following bugs with Gutenberg:
- CTRL+Z works to undo, but CTRL+Y does not redo.
- I cannot TAB while writing HTML, because TAB = a new block.
There are probably more, but I’m not keen to figure them out. The second bug is probably not a bug by definition, as I was unable to with the Classic Editor, but I would have expected it to at least make a tab in coding, since the down arrow leads to a new block as well. I have a fucking headache from this shit. It’s a nightmare. It’s ableist.
What ableism is
Ableism is defined as “discrimination in favor of able-bodied people”.
The accessibility testing/standards were implemented as a mere recommendation. The users, and especially the developers, in support of Gutenberg—for the most part—agree that Gutenberg is usable. It’s ready. I mean, why else would WordPress rush to push it through in the core update? Why would they rush 5.0, why would they publish it in December—why would they do any of these things if Gutenberg was not ready?
The consensus opinion I see floating around in response to all the comments about the need for accessibility:
- It’s not many people.
- It’s a very small number of the population.
- Not many of [disabled people] use it.
…I don’t know about you or them or their mother, but I know at least 100 disabled bloggers that use WordPress, many of which have or are contributing writers for a blog using WordPress. They’re diverse, too—Deaf, blind, autistic, in a wheelchair, a combination of the former, and so on. More and more blogs and bloggers of this demographic crop up everyday. WordPress is why they got into blogging, because it was easy and let them host their stuff wherever and however they wanted.
Ableism is when an able-bodied person or group decides something is irrelevant because their perceived majority is not disabled. It takes fresh eyes to determine whether something is accessible. You cannot just tick boxes off a list and call it a day, without knowing why those things are on it! You cannot say accessibility is a “core value” and not ensure your content is 100 percent accessible!
Rian Rietveld left her position as the WordPress accessibility team lead, agreeing with Andrea Fercia about the Gutenberg editor being a regression in regard to an accessible editor.
Criticism is not bashing.
There is a tweet that I quite agree with:
Let me be very clear:— ʝ³ #wcus (@JJJ) October 18, 2018
Stating facts is not Gutenberg bashing.
Having opinions is not Gutenberg bashing.
Not-loving Gutenberg is not the same as bashing Gutenberg.
TwentyNineteen has nothing to do with my specific Gutenberg experience.
I am done waiting.
I am very serious. https://t.co/y9x7iRzj65
And another that is all too real when it comes to able-bodied people vs. disabled people:
We didn't want or need it, it's tearing communities apart, and instead of our concerns being taken seriously, we're told to stop talking it down, or accused of trying to sabotage it, and we're now ordered to join in and help make a success of it. But enough about Gutenberg.— Heather Burns (@WebDevLaw) October 9, 2018
Wanting an accessible, stress-free editor is not bashing.
Calling it bashing, forcing an inaccessible and/or new editor on people, refusing to include accessibility as a requirement—this is all ableism at its core. It’s saying, I don’t care about your needs; they’re small compared to the majority.
To me, WordPress has always been a software that gave me free reign to do with as I pleased—install the plugins and themes I want, customize however I want.
Now, it’s a fucking nightmare.
Suffice it to say I’m back to the Classic Editor plugin, and keeping an eye on ClassicPress. At this time, I cannot handle the stress (albeit probably minimum) of migrating to ClassicPress; I have a lot of files and would see the opportunity as changing my root domain in my account.
A solution likely to be offered is reporting these bugs/frustrations to the developers themselves; however, I have tried that, and it’s inadequate—it’s cold, mean, and lonely to offer up otherwise unpopular opinions. I’m in the minority. The only place on which I know my thoughts will not be censored or filtered or controlled is my blog—and this is why I blog. I do not trust the WordPress developer community after my experience with them, especially not after Gutenberg. I surmise many others feel the same.
I shouldn’t have to write a blog post or file a bug to demand an inaccessible editor remain optional.
I shouldn’t have to rant about ableism to a community whose core value is, allegedly, accessibility itself.
I shouldn’t have to defend myself as a fucking minority, or to defend my opinions and/or experience just because able-bodied people still don’t get it.