Who Hates Gutenberg the Most? Analysis of 1,095 Public Gutenberg Ratings

Yes, this is yet another post about the infamous Gutenberg plugin. No, this post is a little different from all the other ones. Onward!

Gutenberg is the codename for a new content editor in WordPress, which is scheduled to be shipped with WordPress 5.0, sometimes before the end of 2018. It is planned to be enabled by default instead of the classic WordPress editor.

Gutenberg is an attempt to create a visual content editing experience similar to what WordPress competitors have: Wix, Squarespace and Weebly.

What does the WordPress community think of the Gutenberg plugin/editor?

At the moment of writing this there are 1,094 ratings (reviews) for the Gutenberg plugin on WordPress.org.

Gutenberg’s current rating sits at 2.3 out of 5 stars and continues to slowly go lower. Even the ridiculous Hello Dolly plugin has 2.6 out of 5 stars, so that’s saying something about the public opinion of Gutenberg.

Nonetheless I decided to dive a little deeper into Gutenberg’s ratings. Hopefully I can prove or disprove a couple of common theories and assumptions about the love and hate that Gutenberg gets.

Gutenberg Ratings Data Set

I created a small PHP crawler that automatically crawls all the rating pages of a plugin and then gathers some stats about the authors of all ratings. So now I can see who loves / hates a plugin the most.

At the time of analysis my crawler gathered the information from 1,095 Gutenberg ratings. Some of them have been removed since then or are not included in the official counters.

Gutenberg Ratings Breakdown:

Gutenberg Ratings as of 25/08/2018
RatingCountShare in %
Data from 25/08/2018 13:00 GMT.

Theory #1: New Users Hate/Love Gutenberg More/Less

Some people think that many of the 1-star ratings that Gutenberg gets are from experienced WordPress users. Others think that the 5-star ratings come from new users that don’t have sufficient experience with the classic editor.

Let’s look at the numbers.

Gutenberg Ratings by WordPress.org accounts registered in the last 30 days
RatingCountShare in %
Data from 25/08/2018 13:00 GMT.

Conclusion #1: more newly registered WordPress.org user accounts (68% + 6.7% = 74.7%) are dissatisfied with Gutenberg than the average (57.2% + 7.2% = 64.4%) rating shows.

Gutenberg Ratings by WordPress.org accounts with only 1 published rating/review
RatingCountShare in %
Data from 25/08/2018 13:00 GMT.

Conclusion #2: 63% of users that have never published any reviews/ratings on WordPress.org gave Gutenberg 1 or 2 stars, while 30.7% gave it a positive 4 or 5 stars rating.

Conclusion #3: 103 (31.3%) of the total number of 4 and 5 star ratings (329) of Gutenberg were published by accounts that have never reviewed anything else on WordPress.org besides Gutenberg.

Theory #2: Old WordPress.org Users(Accounts) Hate/Love Gutenberg More/Less

The average age (in months) of WordPress.org accounts by Gutenberg Rating
Average user account age (in months):52.2
Data from 25/08/2018 13:00 GMT.

Conclusion #4: more older WordPress.org user accounts (4.8% + 24.8% = 29.6%) are happy about Gutenberg than newly registered accounts (5.6% + 14.6% = 20.2%).

Conclusion #5: currently there is no tangible difference in the age of WordPress.org user accounts that love or hate Gutenberg.

Conclusion #6: the newest WordPress.org user accounts consider that Gutenberg is average, hence it deserves only 3 stars.

Conclusion #7: the oldest WordPress.org user accounts dislike Gutenberg but have some hope that it will improve, hence they award it 2 stars.

Gutenberg Ratings by WordPress.org accounts older than 5 years
RatingCountShare in %
Data from 25/08/2018 13:00 GMT.
Gutenberg Ratings by WordPress.org accounts older than 7 years
RatingCountShare in %
Data from 25/08/2018 13:00 GMT.
Gutenberg Ratings by WordPress.org accounts older than 9 years
RatingCountShare in %
Data from 25/08/2018 13:00 GMT.

Conclusion #8: no matter how old the WordPress.org user accounts are, the percentage of Gutenberg “haters” is more or less constant.

Conclusion #9: the percentage of Gutenberg “lovers” increases with the user’s account age.
If I were to speculate I would guess that the reason for this is that Automattic staff members, WordPress.org leadership, Gutenberg contributors and ambassadors usually have older accounts.

Theory #3: The Most Active WordPress.org Users Hate/Love Gutenberg More/Less

Here are some additional metrics that might be of interest to people.

Gutenberg Ratings by WordPress.org accounts with more than 10 published reviews
RatingCountShare in %
Data from 25/08/2018 13:00 GMT.
Gutenberg Ratings by WordPress.org accounts with more than 10 forum topics
RatingCountShare in %
Data from 25/08/2018 13:00 GMT.
Gutenberg Ratings by WordPress.org accounts with more than 50 forum replies
RatingCountShare in %
Data from 25/08/2018 13:00 GMT.

Other Findings

  • User accounts with the User Role of Keymaster have left 3 Gutenberg reviews: one 4-star review and two 5-star reviews.
  • User accounts with the User Role of Moderator have left 1 Gutenberg review: 1 star.
  • Banned user accounts have left 5 Gutenberg reviews: four 1-star reviews and one 5-star review.

In Conclusion

My personal conclusion is that Gutenberg is generally disliked by all categories of WordPress.org users, no matter how long they have been active in the community. However newly registered .org user accounts seem to dislike it even more.

I would guess that there are casual WordPress users that haven’t been actively watching what’s happening in WordPress, so the Gutenberg prompt in 4.9.8 pointed them towards this new “publishing experience”. And from the looks of it these users are not impressed, so they feel that they have to voice their opinions.

Taking all these numbers in consideration it is curious to see how the Gods of WordPress continue to force Gutenberg on all of us, claiming that it is actually great for casual users, and that only stubborn theme developers complain about it.

Do you have any thoughts? Feel free to comment below. I will not delete comments the way .org moderators have been deleting negative Gutenberg reviews.

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  1. This is a fantastic article. Zero bias and purely focused on the stats.

  2. Great analysis and debunking of some common myths. As a WP fan, I hope that Gutenberg does succeed, but it’s been a terrible start and a PR disaster.

  3. I’m not sure why you waste time with looking at who left reviews. They carry no weight for anything.
    There have been a lot of “sock puppet” reviews that have been deleted, so there are people that are trying to influence something by leaving negative reviews, but it doesn’t influence anything, so it’s a lot of thrashing.

    • Well, if there are “sock puppet” reviews, then this post is trying to determine what a “sock puppet” profile looks like 🙂

    • «There have been a lot of “sock puppet” reviews that have been deleted, so there are people that are trying to influence something by leaving negative reviews»… what about “sock puppet” positive reviews? I found a few and see no Mod comments on those.

      This absurd idea that Positive reviews are true and Negative reviews are just whine, fear of change, obsolescence (or even old-age, as I got one user “joking” about) is the most revolting and nasty assumption.

      The second one is that the vocal minority (the ones that show) are the ones that lead the way (as in “the ones who decide how WordPress evolves and how much we need Gutenberg”) but, at the same time, Negative reviews are being disregarded because they are an expression of a vocal minority…?!

  4. This work must be praised for being one of the first attempts to really assess the will and needs of WordPress users.

    It is unfortunate that it has to be based on an inadequate data source, with extreme and polarized positions.

    The decision to create Gutenberg and the way it evolved should have been based on reliable and objective assessments with numbers that could be compared and interpreted. Instead, it seems to have been based on assumptions which, after all, turn out to be far from the needs of real users.

    So, thank you Dumitru Brinzan for all this work.

  5. https://i.imgur.com/Y4oNITA.png

    feel free to include this in your post if you want 🙂

  6. How would you reconcile your conclusion with the adoption and usage of the plugin itself on active sites?

    • 1. The fact that a plugin is active on a website doesn’t mean that it is actively being used.
      2. The fact that a plugin is active doesn’t mean that it is liked or that the user is happy about it.
      3. The fact that multiple major hosting providers have started promoting Gutenberg to their customers also leads to a higher usage count.
      4. The Gutenberg prompt that appears on tens of millions of websites will also increase that number, obviously.

      Hello Dolly is active on 1+ million websites. How is that any indicator of its usefulness?

      So I believe it is safe to say that relying on the installation counter itself is not sufficient to determine if a plugin is liked or is worth the trouble.

      If you put in Dashboard a prompt for a plugin that makes it snow on the website, I’ll bet my money that in a month you will have 100,000+ active installs 🙂

  7. I started writing html in vanilla text editors long before anything more than that was on the market. At this time, I’m very competent in php, css, html5, “the drupal way,” functions/hooks/classes, etc of WordPress, sass, gulp, and love the start theme _S. But I have only learned as much Javascript as I’ve needed to know. I’m now a lone eagle building from scratch sites that my business owns/runs. I also, thus, have a business to run. I’ve already in my past built two other businesses, had the employees and national travel and on and on. Done it. Sold it. But my point — and yes there is one!! — is that this is overwhelming me. I do not want to use someone else’s themes or have a Wix-like experience. I like to code. I really do. But now, I’m adding to a 16-hour day, deep learning of Javascript and React and my head is hurting. I do have three client sites that I’m maintaining — no more client sites for me; do not want them.

    How many others are in the boat of not knowing enough Javascript that they now need to figure out how much sleep to give up to learn it and React? And — can I learn it? Fast enough?

    I am calmly freaked out.

    All I want is to keep building locally the dev sites I have in progress now and I find myself putting a stop to them because of the need to learn, learn, learn. Really great for business. Really great.

    I came here as I searched, thinking I can’t be unique. I never have been. I doubt I am now. I wonder if there is a fork that will be maintained that will not ever use Gutenberg, but does keep a secure core? I wonder how long we’ll be able to use the classic plug-in, which I’ve enabled everywhere. I wonder where I can go to quickly learn more Javascript and then React.

    Tell me I’m not alone??

  8. Oh thank you!!! I have been feeling alone and very stupid!

  9. What I find hilarious is that many of the 5 star reviews are actually 1 star reviewers who forgot to change the default 5 star xD

    “Worst thing to happen to WordPress….5 stars” (example)

    Hard to know exactly how people feel about the plugin based on star rating.

  10. I really appreciate your statistics, but I think you’re wrong in concluding – generally – ‘newer’ users are more dissatisfied with Gutenberg than older users. A lot of 1-star reviewers have made a WordPress account just to vent their anger at the new editor, of which many have been using WordPress for years (as some of them clearly indicated in their reviews, in other reviews you could just get that by ‘reading between the lines’).

    I find it highly disturbing that moderators and editors on the Gutenberg plug-in page give no value whatsoever to the – now – enormous amount of 1-star reviews. Especially when counting since WP 5.0 was released. They seem to be in total defense of Gutenberg and in absolute denial of the problems the new editor causes. With so many negative reviews, I cannot imagine there is no editor or moderator having second thoughts about introducing Gutenberg into core.

    What’s more: I’ve seen WP moderators actively removing 1-star reviews. And no, I’m not talking about abusive or foul language reviews, I’m talking about reviews that were apparently too critical – in the eyes of a moderator.

    • Hi Derek,

      Thank you for your comment.
      Please note that my conclusion (#1) refers to the age of user accounts, not the experience of the people behind the accounts.

      “Conclusion #1: more newly registered WordPress.org user accounts (68% + 6.7% = 74.7%) are dissatisfied with Gutenberg than the average (57.2% + 7.2% = 64.4%) rating shows.”

      I was careful about this aspect, so I stand by what I have written 🙂


  11. I’m a developer – I hate Gutenberg. Why take something as easy as the WYSIWYG editor previously in WordPress, like one has in google email, and turn it into a complicated affair? Between the previous visual editor and the text edtor I could accomplish anything quickly – now incredibly bogged down by this very unintuitive set of restrictive and cluttering blocks – which are obstacles, not help, to doing quick builds. I’m using the plugin Classic Build to keep the former tools. It would have been better to have widely field tested this and gotten input from a wide amount of public users and developers before releasing this, instead of just surprising us with it. No stars for this ‘product’; I find nothing made easier for anyone. If the Classic Build plugin is taken down I will move to another platform, not WordPress.

  12. Most users ABSOLUTELY don’t need Gutenberg!
    WordPress platform will be lost users!
    If somebody need Gutenberg – can be use plugin, BUT NOT FULL Integrated in WordPress.
    NO any good tutorials!
    Creating page not so easy, like it was before(copy and paste)!
    For customers most important just add any info(+media) on own blog in 2-3 minutes.
    And it’s all!
    I hate Gutenberg! Please remove Gutenberg in next WordPress versions or make 2 versions: with gutenberg and classic!

  13. I am one of these banned users who only made an account (I did register twice with different adresses) for writing a review. So both of my reviews are deleted and my accounts are off…
    That is the way how WordPress is handling negative reviews.
    So thank you for offering a platform where comments are not deleted.

    I do follow the trend of gutenberg reviews since end of 2018 and made a lot of screenshots of the daily amounts. It is really interesting to see, that the amount of all reviews suddenly is much lower than the day before. I am sure when WordPress would not delete reviews and the negative reviews with 5 stars would be 1 star than the plugin would have been to 1 star average rating 3 weeks ago…
    I am working as a frontend developer, freelancer for more than 12 years. But beeing forced to use Gutenberg is not what I would expect for a “community software” with these reviews…
    If I am looking for a plugin for my site I would never install a plugin with a rating below 3 stars but I am forced to use it?
    I am really scared about this movement of WordPress because I am not longer able to recommend WordPress for my clients and so I am not able to do my daily business …

  14. I loathe Gutenberg. It is going to be incredibly hard to explain to site users who want a simple, non-complicated way to add posts. As a developer, I find it to be horrible and about as anti-intuitive as it gets. Too bad WordPress didn’t follow the old adage: Don’t mess with success.

  15. Absolutely detest Gutenberg and will not use it. I have been using WP to build sites and blogs for 10+ years and while WP is far from perfect it was generally trending to wards the better, more usable, more efficient. Gutenberg has set it back years. If wanted Weebly, I would use Weebly.

    If the classic editor plugin is suppressed I’ll move to another CMS. I am fed up of tech companies run by geek millennials with ZERO business or real-life experience deciding what I should use to run my business.

  16. My students often mistake their familiarity with the ‘controls’ of a product for user friendliness and their unfamiliarity with the ‘controls’ of a competing product as user unfriendliness which they then translate into “that product is crap”.

    I say to them; persevere, take the time to learn the controls of the new thing and then judge.

    Well I’ve tried that with Gutenberg. And it is crap. Worst of all if you try to make any edits of your own that don’t meet with its rules it will delete your work if you switch between code and block. Unforgivable in any editing environment.

    Linda Sturgeon in another comment sums it up: “now incredibly bogged down by this very unintuitive set of restrictive and cluttering blocks – which are obstacles, not help”.

    Obstacles not help is my key takeaway. I’ve installed the Classic editor.

  17. Classic Editor all the way. If I want blocks I will install WPBakery or something similar. I’ve been designing websites since you needed a 14.4 modem to see them, and I absolutely can’t stand Gutenberg.

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