The block editor was introduced to WordPress in 2018 and has matured into a more user-friendly tool for expression over the past four years. WordPress.org’s Meta Team is now experimenting with how they can bring the block editor into the support forums. That they are even considering this is a testament to how far the block editor has come, as the support forums provide a critical lifeline for WordPress users who are struggling with their websites and wouldn’t benefit from adopting a buggy editor.
“The support forums have a long history in WordPress,” Automattic-sponsored contributor Alvaro Gómez said. “So much so that the current forum editor predates TinyMCE. By introducing blocks, the support forum will make use of the modern WordPress editor to improve user experience. Users will be able to easily insert links, share code or embed screenshots. Using Blocks will also enable new possibilities, such as using patterns for common responses to allow for faster answers.”
Due to the technical difficulty of how the forums currently work, the block editor would need to be rolled out to all users on all forums, precluding the possibility of rolling it out on a per-user, per-language, or per-forum basis.
In a ticket opened six days ago, Meta contributors discussed bringing the block editor to the support forums using the Blocks Everywhere plugin by Automattic. This plugin switches the default WordPress editor for comments, bbPress, BuddyPress, and admin moderation to use Gutenberg, giving users access to blocks. Instead of bundling Gutenberg, it side-loads the editor from WordPress.
The Meta and Support teams intend to start with just four blocks available to forum users: paragraph, list, quote, and code.
Gómez shared a few GIFs from a test site, demonstrating a user responding on a thread using the block editor:
Another item on the roadmap is creating an “add via URL” image block that would allow users to embed from various image hosting services.
A live testing site is available at https://test.wordpress.org/support/ and anyone who wants to join in the testing can leave a comment on the announcement post. Bugs can be filed on the meta trac ticket for the improvement to the forums. The Meta and Support teams are looking for feedback before Monday, December 12.