Let me start by saying that software support is a wicked hard job. I’ve worked in the industry more than 30 years and have experienced it firsthand on support rotations.
Until the latest update to WordPress’s block editor, it was possible to flow text around an image following these steps:
- Insert an image, either using an Image block, or using an HTML block to embed a Flickr image.
- Using the block tools, right or left align it.
- Grab handles appear on the image. Drag them to size the image to your liking.
Boom, that’s it, the next blocks flow around the image. At least, it did until the most recent block editor update. It’s broken now. After step 2 above, you can no longer select the block with the image in it. It appears to merge with the next block. If you click the image and use the block tools to delete the block, it deletes the next block but leaves the image in place. The only way to delete the image is switch to the Code Editor and remove the code that embeds the image. Here’s a screencast that illustrates what’s happening. This has got to be a bug.
I have found a sort-of workaround. Insert the image, size it, then left or right align it. It gives the desired end result, as you can see at left.
The only trouble is, you still can’t select that image block. I can’t resize it, I can’t move it, I can’t edit the caption. I can’t even delete it.
The only way to interact with the image block after that is in the code editor.
I opened a case with WordPress.com Support and described this regression. The support engineer said that the block editor was never designed to work in the way I described. I replied that it had indeed worked that way until a couple days before I opened the support case.
The engineer then asked me to either use the Text & Media block, or use the Classic Editor block, to do what I wanted.
This is an example of the Media & Text block. It doesn’t support Flickr embeds; unfortunately, I use Flickr to host most of the images here. Also, the default text is huge and you have to format it to try to match it to the rest of the post’s default text size. You get a slider to do that, and you have to match it by trial and error. It doesn’t actually flow the text around the image, as you can see.
It does work to use the Classic Editor. I’ve done it here: this paragraph and the image at right are in the Classic Editor block, and the paragraphs that follow are in Paragraph blocks.
It was surprisingly challenging to remember how to use the Classic Editor after all these months in the Block Editor, but I figured it out.
However, I was still sure I had found a bug, and I said so very directly to the support engineer. I shared an old post with the engineer that showed how I had flowed text around an image. I pointed the engineer to the underlying code behind the post to prove it: there were dimensions in the code for the image. Those wouldn’t have been there had I not used the grab handles to shrink the image. The engineer finally said, “Okay, I see you were able to do this before. It seems unusual that it was possible to do this before, but I can certainly report this change to the Block Editor devs. for you.”
No, it wasn’t unusual. This is how it actually worked.
Furthermore, following the steps I described above to flow text around an image results in a block you can no longer select, and can only delete by switching to the Code Editor. In what universe is that not a bug?
If anyone from WordPress happens to read this, I’d be grateful if you’d check what I’m saying here and, if I’m right, open a bug ticket for it. I’d surely like to see this fixed as I encounter this bug every day.
Most of the time when I open a support case with WordPress.com I get active troubleshooting. I’ve found several bugs over the years and most support engineers are happy to get to the bottom of it with me and, when I’m right, write a bug ticket. They even email me a link to the ticket so I can follow it and see when it gets fixed.
But every now and then a support engineer repeatedly tries to tell me that whatever bug I’m encountering is how the system is supposed to function, or that I am wrong about how the system used to work. That makes me nuts. I feel gaslit.
I know this support engineer doesn’t know me and has no idea I’ve been making software for a living since the late 80s. That I was a quality engineer for 17 of those years. I’m adept at identifying bugs.
Harrumph, enough ranting. I hope someone at WordPress.com figures out that this condition exists and puts it in the queue to be fixed.