We're five days away from the official launch of Gutenberg, the new WordPress post and page editor, and I finally have an answer to one of the most important questions:
No, WordPress.com users will not be forced to use it (at this time).
Mike Cane tipped me to the news that Gutenberg is being promoted to WordPress.com users. Users have the option to switch between the Gutenberg and what is being called the WordPress.com "classic editor". Yes, you can switch, and those of us who prefer the traditional WordPress admin menus can still use those menus. (See the FAQ for more detail.)
For those who are just hearing about this for the first time, Gutenberg is the name given to the new WordPress post editor. It is intended to make it easy for you to make richly formatted pages and blog posts, and has been under development for about 18 months now. On WordPress.com, it will look something like this:
Gutenberg has been a contentious topic in the WordPress community. Support for Gutenberg comes primarily from above, while a significant minority of users have pushed back and pointed out that we are quite happy with the features of the existing editor. In fact, the "Classic Editor" plugin that is intended to disable Gutenberg actually has almost as many users as the official Gutenberg beta-testing plugin.
If you have a WordPress site, you should familiarize yourself with Gutenberg and decide whether you want to use it:
- Gutenberg, WordPress, & You: the What, the Why, and the How
- Gutenberg Will be Released with WordPress 5.0 on 19 November - Here's What You Need to Do
My recommendation is that you avoid it for now, and wait for the developers to wrk out all the bugs.