The reason we developed the Lean WP plugin is that we think that WordPress in its current shape can be cleaned up and trimmed down.
The Lean WP plugin is mostly targeted at companies that use WordPress for their company websites.
At the same time we think that the plugin can also be useful for people who simply want to use the interface they have gotten so used to, without the new “features” that seem to be added with each new release.
In the past new features were added to WordPress using the 80/20-rule, which meant the following:
Clean, Lean, and Mean
The core of WordPress will always provide a solid array of basic features. It’s designed to be lean and fast and will always stay that way. […] The rule of thumb is that the core should provide features that 80% or more of end users will actually appreciate and use. If the next version of WordPress comes with a feature that the majority of users immediately want to turn off, or think they’ll never use, then we’ve blown it. If we stick to the 80% principle then this should never happen.
WordPress.org Philosophy page
Well, WordPress no longer is Clean and certainly not Lean and in terms of those, the future is not looking very bright. Matt Mullenweg even has hinted that the 80/20-rule is no longer.
It might be time to retire 80/20 from the philosophy page, as it is seldom used as intended.
Matt Mullenweg · March 31, 2017 at 8:15 PM on WP Tavern in a discussion on the redesign of the Plugins Directory
Over the past few releases a long list of unwanted things have been added to Core and unfortunately the end is nowhere near (the Gutenberg project is in full swing at the time of writing this).
- Distraction free writer
- Scroll-free editor
- REST API enabled by default
- Embeds (of content) enabled by default
And there is stuff that people have called desperately for to remove for many years already, such as:
- XLM-RPC anyone?
Last but not least there are the usual frustrations that seem impossible to deal with in an easy way:
- removing the comments system completely including the RSS
- the ridiculous Howdy-“greeting” in the admin panel
- disabling author archives
- plugins that add their settings all over the WP Dashboard sidebar
- the useless welcome panel with a strong focus on blogging and making new content
- changing the order of Pages and Posts in the sidebar menu of the WP Dashboard.
There are various plugins that take care of a few or more items on the list above, but to be honest we were getting tired of having to install 5-10 different plugins to bend WordPress into submission. The Lean WP plugin therefore is a collection of functions, hooks and filters to target all of our frustrations.
We have made extensive documentation available for the Lean WP free WordPress plugin.