Weird GIF stuff in WordPress

After a month of using WP, I have mixed feelings.

On the pro side: My reason for switching was to get away from censors and takedowns. So far there haven’t been any takedowns. I’ve been speaking the same truth in the same hard language, and nothing has been censored YET.

On the con side, WP is generally harder to use than Blogspot. Themes are much harder to set up, and the post editor is tricky. It allows you to write raw HTML as I’m accustomed to doing, but it sometimes ‘optimizes’ the HTML in unexpected ways. This isn’t a big deal, since the ‘optimizing’ can be undone.

The GIF ‘optimizer’ is a bigger problem. I often use GIFs with varying frame intervals, to create pauses in the motion or to indicate that the motion has an actual start and end. WP allows a long frame at the START but steadfastly refuses to allow a pause at the END.

This GIF has a 2 second start frame, 200 ms internal frames, and an 800 ms end frame.

No pause at the end. Just snaps back to the start.

I tried the old SWF trick of repeated short frames, but it still doesn’t work. The second GIF has 5 equal frames of 200 ms at the end. They are treated the same as the long single frame, simply deleted. This is truly WEIRD.

The only thing that works is creating some motion in the ‘still’ end frame. In the third GIF, I wiggled Katy’s antennas for 5 frames of 200 ms each, which turned out to be more realistic since she was stopping to examine an interesting sound.

This fools the ‘optimizer’ into thinking the whole thing is active. Unfortunately this trick wouldn’t work in an educational GIF that is mainly labels or text. You’d have to tack on something else after the long end frame, maybe a frame that simply says END.

I can’t think of any technical reason for this ‘optimizer’. It doesn’t save disk space or memory space. The ‘optimizer’ itself must occupy a fair amount of processing time for no purpose at all. It distorts the visual content in ways that definitely affect education or information.

Since the ‘optimizer’ resaved the GIFs as WEBPs, here are the hrefs of the three originals in sequence. This is a screenshot of text to be sure the ‘optimizer’ doesn’t ‘optimize’ anything again!